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October 1, 2017 - Exploring Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik's single best sight is the still-stout medieval wall that surrounds this city of about 40,000,

offering an unforgettably scenic mile-long stroll above town. While constructed over many

centuries, today's impressive fortifications date from the 1400s, when they were beefed up

to defend against the Ottoman Turks. After Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia

in 1991, the Yugoslav National Army laid siege to this town and lobbed mortars over the hill.

Today, the new, brighter-colored tiles mark houses that were hit and have been rebuilt.

At a glance, it's clear that more than two-thirds of the Old Town's buildings suffered bomb damage.

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Early morning view of the 300-yard-long Stradun promenade toward the bell tower.

ABOVE MIDDLE - Church of St. Savior (Crkva Svetog Spasa) on left. The church was built

after the 1520 earthquake and was one of the few buildings to survive the 1667 earthquake.

Its Renaissance interior differs from the predominantly Baroque interiors in other town churches.

On the right is the Franciscan Monastery Museum. Historically, the Franciscan Monastery's

Church was the house of worship for Dubrovnik's poor, while the Dominican Church at the

far end on the Stradun was for the wealthy. Services were staggered by 15 minutes so

servants could drop their masters then rush up the Stradun for their own service.

ABOVE RIGHT - Church of St. Savior (left), Franciscan Monastery Museum (middle)

and Onofrio's Big Fountain (Velika Onofrijea Fontana) on right. In the Middle Ages,

Dubrovnik had a complicated aqueduct system that brought water from the mountains

seven miles away. The water ended here in the town's biggest fountain

before continuing through the city.

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Atop the city walls (Gradske Zidine).These were built in the 15th century

to fortify the city. The walk on the walls is about 1 1/2 mile and has

terrific views of the Old Town and surrounds.

ABOVE MIDDLE - Across a little cove from the Old Town Wall is the Fort of

St. Lawrence (Tvrdava Lovrijenac), Dubrovnik's oldest fortress.

Together this fortress and the stout walls fortified the harbor.

ABOVE RIGHT - View from the wall looking down on the roofs of Old Town.

Mt. Srd in the background.

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Where's Judith? Our walk around the walls.

ABOVE MIDDLE - Along the wall

ABOVE RIGHT - This Jesuit Church of St Ignatius was built in the baroque style between

1699 and 1725. Inside, frescoes display scenes from the life of St. Ignatius.

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Judith on our wall walk

ABOVE MIDDLE - St Ignatius Church and the Cathedral in the background

ABOVE RIGHT - The three bells of St. Sebastian Church

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Overlooking the Old Port. This fortified little harbor was busy

with trade in the Middle Ages.

ABOVE MIDDLE - On the wall above the old port

ABOVE RIGHT - One of the old cannons

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Above the old port

ABOVE MIDDLE - Bell tower of the Franciscan Monastery

ABOVE RIGHT - Left - bell tower, middle - the Cathedral, right - St. Blaise Church

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Cathedral on left in background and bell tower. Different colored rooftops

are an illustration of the damage Dubrovnik sustained during the 1991-1992 seige.

Dubrovnik was shelled in October, 1991, by Yugoslav troops (mostly Serbs and

Montenegrins) after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in June, 1991.

Residents huddled together in the city wall's 15th century forts and refused to lose their city.

It was the first time in the city's long history that the walls were actually used to defend

against an attack. After 8 months of bombing, Dubrovnik was liberated by the Croatian Army.

More than 2/3 of the city's buildings had been damaged before the failed siege was finally over.

The city was soon rebuilt using exactly the same materials and methods

with which it was originally constructed, but many scars remain.

ABOVE MIDDLE - Wall view

ABOVE RIGHT - The wall walk alternates between straight stetches and

stairs - as you walk, you are rewarded with higher and higher views.

ABOVE  - Eeeek! The pirates are coming.

Dubrovnik Hike to Mount Srd

After adding Dubrovnik to his holdings, Napoleon built a fortress atop the hill

behind the Old Town to keep an eye on his new subjects (in 1810).

With the surge of tourism in the 20th century, a cable car was built to this spot to

whisk tourists up for a fine view of Old Town. When the war broke out in 1991,

Mount Srd became a crucial link in the defense of Dubrovnik. The fortress was shelled

and damaged, and the cable car destroyed, but the Croats held the mountain.

There is now a museum on top depicting scenes from the war. The cable car has been

rebuilt, but we decided to hike the trail to the top instead - needed more exercise!

         

ABOVE LEFT - On the steps up from Old Town Dubrovnik

to the beginning of the trail to its mountaintop.

ABOVE RIGHT - The beginning of the trail

                   

ABOVE LEFT - The entire trail (about 3 miles) is stone and not easy walking

ABOVE MIDDLE - Fred on the trail

ABOVE RIGHT - This steep switchback trail was used to supply

the fortress during the 1991-1992 siege.

                   

ABOVE LEFT - And the swtichbacks just keeping going UP

ABOVE MIDDLE - Stations of the Cross located at each of the 13 last switchbacks

ABOVE RIGHT - Fred on the trail

                   

ABOVE LEFT - On the trail. The self-timer still works!

ABOVE MIDDLE - View of Old Town and Lokrum Island (left) from the trail

ABOVE RIGHT - Lokrum Island way below and some of Old Town at the right.

It was hot on the trail - glad we carried lots of water!

                   

ABOVE LEFT - Great view of Old Town and its walls from the trail

ABOVE RIGHT - Almost at the top!