With its limestone walls and stunning setting between sea and mountains, Dubrovnik is a treasure of a city. The Monkey made his way there overland from Bulgaria back in 2002.
Peering through a window in the walls that make it famous, the Monkey looks out over the red tile roofs of the fairy-tale city of Dubrovnik. Today the most visited destination in Croatia, Dubrovnik was for much of its history an independent city-state called Ragusa. Founded in the 8th century, by the 15th Century Ragusa had become a major trading power in the Adriatic. Protected for centuries by its massive walls, the “Dubrovnik Republic” pursued trade with many of the medieval powers of Eastern Europe, including the Byzantines, the Magyars, the Venetians, and the Ottomans.
In particular, Venice had a strong influence on Dubrovnik’s character as a result of the period after the 13th Century Crusades when Venice ran Ragusa’s affairs for over 150 years. Napoleon’s armies conquered Ragusa in 1806 and the Republic was abolished two years later. The Congress of Vienna (1815) annexed Dubrovnik to Austria’s Empire until 1918, when the city passed into the proto-Yugoslav Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, from whence its associations with Croatia became more and more pronounced. During the wars that broke up Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was shelled by Yugoslav Federal forces, damaging some of the city’s monuments. Today, restored to its former glory by an influx of tourism income and international aid, Dubrovnik is once again an Adriatic treasure.
The Monkey and the Croatian flag catch a breeze atop Dubrovnik’s city walls.
The Monkey rests after climbing one of Dubrovnik’s narrow, hilly alleys. In these backstreets, you can find shades of Dubrovnik untouched by the mass tourism that has overrun much of the city. Here families put their undergarments out to dry in the baking sun, and Croatian children practice football in the hopes of becoming the next Davor Suker.
Of course, cute cafés and quiet restaurants are never far away in this part of Dubrovnik, and on one such street, if you know where to look, you can find an old and well-hidden Jewish synagogue.
The Monkey looks down from the city walls onto Dubrovnik’s Placa, the city’s main thoroughfare. The Placa was originally a narrow channel of water that separated the exile Epidaurian Greek settlement on the island of Laus (formerly the land to the right of the wide street) from the Slav community of Dub (to the left). Once the canal was filled in during the 12th Century, the two settlements were joined and Ragusa was born. Construction on the famous walls began shortly after the channel was filled in.
The Monkey climbed one of the hills that squeezes Dubrovnik against the sea, where he paused for this photo looking back on the city below. You can see a boat leaving the city’s walled harbor, probably headed for the isle of Lokrum, where the Monkey went next.
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