Featured City: Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Dubrovnik’s Old Walls

DUBROVNIK is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations for over a hundred years, its walled medieval city the main draw.  As Ragusa, this was a maritime city that goes back to the Roman era, was later ruled by the Byzantines, and rivaled Venice in the Middle Ages, before becoming a colony of it.  Though it later paid tribute to the Turkish Ottomans, Ragusa was a free city until the Austrian Habsburgs took over in 1815.  At that point Dubrovnik was Europe in microcosm, with German, Latin, and Slavic languages all spoken within its domain.  Then came Yugoslavia and Communism.  After Croatia’s declaration of independence in 1991, Dubrovnik was besieged by the rump Yugoslavia for seven months, Montenegro claiming that Dubrovnik belonged to it.  The siege was finally lifted and damage to the old city repaired.  There are 2km of walls around it.

The old city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Landmarks include two 14th C. convents at the ends of the city, the Rector’s Palace, numerous fortresses, a 16-sided fountain and bell tower, and a 15th C. Jewish synagogue.  The island of Lokrum has gardens and orange groves, in addition to a fortress and monastery.  Museums include the Museum of Dubrovnik, the Franciscan monastery, the Maritime Museum, and the Dubrovnik State Archives.  There is a 45-day long summer festival.  There are many cheap accommodations, but few have dorms.  In the book we’ve listed four that do, complete with specs and contact info.  The drive up the coast from Montenegro is sublime.  I was here in 2009, and pretty n ice in mid-March.

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