Dubrovnik.. where to begin the story of Dubrovnik, a true pearl of the Adriatic? This city deserves books to be written about it. We, however, have only a couple of pages so we’ll do our best to say a couple of decent words on its glorious history and vibrant present.
The prosperity of Dubrovnik has always been based on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it was known as the Republic of Dubrovnik and the only city-state on the east coast of the Adriatic to rival the great Venice. With its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th century. Dubrovnik was one of the centers of development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable Croatian poets, writers, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars.
In the 15th century, the constitutional position of the Republic of Dubrovnik was built, which means that Dubrovnik held independent elections of the duke and councilors, was forging money and had the state flag with the image of St. Vlaho, had its own legislation and the right to establish consulates abroad.
The general crisis of seafaring in the Mediterranean in 17th century affected Dubrovnik's trade also. The disastrous earthquake in 1667 led the Republic of Dubrovnik into critical period of struggle for survival and preservation of political independence. 18th century brought an opportunity for economic recovery in maritime trade under a neutral flag, but then a little something in a form of Napoleon’s abolition of the Dubrovnik Republic happened in 1808. That was the end of the famous Dubrovnik Republic. During Vienna Congress in 1815 Dubrovnik region was merged with the rest of Dalmatia and Croatia and since then they share a common political destiny.
After Croatia declared its independence and the Serbian aggression against Croatia started, Dubrovnik was attacked in October 1991. Dubrovnik region was occupied and destroyed significantly.
Today, war-damaged monuments of Dubrovnik are mostly repaired. Renewed hotels, valuable Dubrovnik Summer Festival and other cultural events were the essential prerequisites for the development of modern tourism. And today Dubrovnik is shining again. It is attracting tourists from all around the world. Each year more and more people are coming to see its unique beauty, its great defensive walls that speak stories of a glorious history and its streets that hold the spirit of past times.
The area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County is rich in carefully groomed landscapes and places of historical significance. This is evidenced by numerous monuments, the most comprehensive archives and lavish treasuries. Famous British writer George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1929: "Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik". It was not praise for the great history of Dubrovnik only, but also for the natural peculiarities of the entire region.
During history, Dubrovnik was especially proud of the abundance of water. Wise guys who were digging silver from the distant mines in the hinterland used it for trade. Dubrovnik was offering the noblest silver, called glama, an alloy with gold. From the wealth earned, they built a very complex hydro venture: from distant spring the water was brought to the city, in the 15th century. Today, the people from Dubrovnik still nurture the craft of making silver jewelry that can be bought in local shops.
People from Dubrovnik enjoy the sea in many ways and like to share this joy with their guests. Sailing or driving motor yachts, rowing, swimming, or big game fishing as a sport has its deepest roots in this region. One of the oldest rowing lanes in this part of the world was founded by the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.
Dubrovnik is one of the world's most famous centers of tourism, where people of different profiles from around the world come to enjoy its marvelous beauty: artists, diplomats, scientists, and various experts of all sorts of professions and trades. This is the new Dubrovnik, proud of its tradition and its entire cultural and historical heritage, and especially proud of friendship with all peoples and citizens who come from all over the world.
Nature has been kind to Dubrovnik and blessed it with many beautiful sights, which are described throughout the history by many great writers and poets of Dubrovnik. Heat of the Dalmatian south end, the clear blue sky, clear turquoise-green and dark-blue depths of the sea along the rocky coast, which has numerous coves, sandy beaches and steep cliffs covered with lush Mediterranean and subtropical flora – all these make an unforgettable sight. Such unsurpassed beauty, which is truly stunning, is impossible to find anywhere else besides in Dubrovnik.
Under the mild, Mediterranean climate, Dubrovnik is bathing in the sun even in the middle of the winter. The swimming season begins in April, sometimes before, and lasts until the end of October, and later, while many hotels have the indoor swimming pools available year round.
The whole city is facing towards the sun and sea, blazing with colors of rich flower gardens and red-hot rooftops, as if it is floating on the wide open sea, accompanied by a proud, forever green islands and islets.
Dubrovnik Riviera stretches over 250 km of coastline, full of beautiful lush vegetation of the Southern Adriatic. It is a picturesque place that goes from the river of Dubrovnik to the Pelješac Peninsula and Neum, with an indented and gentle rocky coastline, pine forests, olive groves, vineyards and Mediterranean vegetation. This is the area of the famous dance "Linđo" and centuries-old folk tradition with most interesting traditional costumes.
Life flourishes even on the bare rock by the sea, amazing visitors with its beauty and intensity of aromatic smell. In the hot summer days, the concentrated smell of the sea mixes with aromatic scents of pine, cypress, laurel, rosemary, myrtle, and various other aromatic herbs and flowers.
Long is a series of beautiful places along the Dubrovnik Riviera, it is a sort of beauty contest. Romantic island Lokrum seems to stand like guard in front of the port of Dubrovnik, while the island of St. Andrew seems to keep its gates to the open sea. Elaphite islands are a beauty contest for themselves, and each of them is beautiful in its own unique way. There is a lovely, green island of Mljet ("Odysseus Island"), with an abundance of ancient myths and legends to share. In the vicinity of Dubrovnik the town of Ston is located, which is surrounded by well-known walls that resemble the Great Wall of China, although on a lot smaller scale.
When you come to Dubrovnik, every step you take will be accompanied with you saying “wow!” so, after you’ve managed your first impressions, make sure you plan your tour because there is so much to see, so many details that you mustn’t miss. As for your accommodation in Dubrovnik, that really depends on your budget and your preferences. There are luxurious hotels in Dubrovnik, as well as modest ones. From Hilton, then Excelsior, Radison Blu, Palace, to name a few of five-star hotels, all the way to hostels, Dubrovnik has it all. If you like to stay in a hostel in Dubrovnik, you will be able to find something that suits you. After all, you are in Dubrovnik! You might as well sleep at the beach somewhere, that’s how beautiful it is. For all of you who have actually considered this sleeping on the beach and for all nature lovers, there are a couple of fine campsites in Dubrovnik and surrounding Riviera. The fabulous landscapes of Dubrovnik and its surroundings will make your camping a truly fantastic experience.
However, if you are one of those who like to be on their own, in a cozy apartment with your friends or family, there are numerous apartments, houses and holiday villas in Dubrovnik to rent. We might say that private accommodation in Dubrovnik is peaking, naturally, as this is the most visited place in Croatia. So, you should be able to find a place that suits you without any problem.
During the summer, the nightlife in Dubrovnik is immense, to say the least. The place is covered with plenty of nightclubs and fine restaurants. Fuego is one of the most mainstream clubs in Dubrovnik and although it can't fit a lot of people, that is a pretty good place to start your evening. One of my favorite spots in Dubrovnik is Club Revelin which is hidden inside the famous walls but don’t worry – you wont feel ancient if you party there because that’s where all the hip crowd goes and the place is constantly buzzing with a great vibe. If you happen to be a bit on the jazzy side then be sure to visit the wonderful Gradska Kavana because that place has such an amazing atmosphere you'll be mesmerized when you see it. It's completely covered in wood and stone, with massive oak tables and a fantastic bar. We used to go there every night during our visit to Dubrovnik because we felt really comfortable just being there. Whether you are up for lunch, dinner or a bottle of whiskey and a cigar this is your the place to go.
Now, among other great restaurants in Dubrovnik (and there is a plethora of restaurants, from over-priced places with famous chefs to small taverns) we have to emphasize the Amfora Restauran which is run by a good friend of ours who spent a great deal of time finding that perfect cuisine. The food there is incredible and best of all – it’s really affordable. Every ingredient he uses is fresh of the local market, which is only a couple of feet away from the restaurant itself. That pretty much guarantees a phenomenal meal. Definitely go have a bite.
For the end, let us say something that we have learned and that you will when you come to this town. Dubrovnik is much more than just a town on the coast. It’s a living monument to Croatia's history and it is treated as such. The walls are being maintained on a daily basis and when you take a stroll on Stradun, you will be surprised by how clean it is. Not much of a romantic closure of the paragraph, but that’s how it is. It’s a must see for all fellow travelers out there.