Europe, Croatia, Dubrovnik

Views from Dubrovnik’s city walls

No Comments 7 August 2010

Views from Dubrovnik’s city walls

During his 2002 visit to Croatia, the Monkey jumped at the chance to walk the entire circuit of the Dubrovnik’s medieval walls. Why not join him on his tour?

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Majmun surveys the rooftops of Dubrovnik’s old city from high atop the city walls. Out at sea you can see the island of Lokrum, which the Monkey visited later in his trip.

Walls, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Bracing himself in a crevice in the walls, the Monkey inspects the workmanship of Dubrovnik’s stellar walls. The walls envelope the city in a 2- kilometer-long curtain of stone, and reach heights of 25 meters! Their defensive might, along with carefully-arranged protectorate status from a string of regional powers, shielded the special republic status of Dubrovnik into the early 19th Century, when Napoleon arrived to conquer the city-state.

Bokar Fortress, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Down near sea level, the Monkey pondered the complexities of trying to breach Dubrovnik’s walls in the pre-modern era. In addition to the stone mass of the walls, the city defenses included 16 towers and multiple forts. In this shot you can see a square tower and the round mass of the Bokar Fortress, which protected one of the city’s man entrances, the Pile Gate. The Bokar Fort dates from the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Dubrovnik harbor, Croatia
The Monkey looks down on Dubrovnik’s harbor, the site of the only major opening in the city walls. By way of the St. Ivan Fort on which the Monkey rests and the use of a heavy chain stretched across the mouth of the harbor, the city’s defensive integrity could be maintained despite the lack of walls at the harbor.

Dubrovnik harbor, Croatia
The Monkey rests on a sculpted stone at the mouth to Dubrovnik’s harbor.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1216 times since the 2010 website relaunch.



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4,491,543 (2008)

Land area:

56,414 sq. km.


Zagreb (pop. 930,753; 2005)


In 2006, Croatia ranked 45th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 58th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $9,611.68. Public debt accounts for 47.8 percent of total GDP, while 11 percent of Croats are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):


Monkey's name:

Majmun (my-moon)

Fun fact:

Two inventions for which the world owes the Croats credit are the necktie and the radio. The former evolved from a silk scarf worn by Croat sailors (dubbed the “cravate”), and the latter was developed by the Croat inventor Nikola Tesla, though many have erroneously credited Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi with the creation of the radio.

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Recommended reading

A Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe
Dennis P. Hupchick and Harold E. Cox (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996)
Any traveler knows the importance of a good map. This handy book provides a slew of historical maps that help illuminate the complicated contours of the various Balkan empires and states, providing a foundation for deeper understanding of Eastern European history.

Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History
Robert D. Kaplan (New York: Vintage, 1993)
Covering his travels in 1980s Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia, Kaplan wrote this politically tinged book on the cusp of the changes that would envelop the post-Cold War Balkans.

The Balkans: A Short History
Mark Mazower (New York: Modern Library Paperback, 2002)
As the title says, a short history of the Balkan region. A helpful intro to this corner of Europe.

The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999
Misha Glenny (New York: Penguin, 2001)
A rather epic undertaking by a former BBC correspondent for Central Europe, this book traces the tumultuous two centuries of the Balkan states’ struggles for independence from the Ottoman Empire, the emergence of pan-Slavic tendencies and their tribulations, and the reign of various regimes of the right and left during the 20th Century. A worthwhile read—don’t let its dimensions frighten you…

Café Europa: Life After Communism
Slavenka Drakulic (New York: Penguin, 1996)
An interesting read that captures a Balkan perspective on the early days after the Fall of the Wall, and in the midst of the break-up of Yugoslavia. Croatian Drakulic is a witty writer and tackles issues including memory, guilt, national identity, and the influx of the West’s crass commercialism.

Description of a Struggle: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Eastern European Writing
Editor: Michael March (New York: Vintage Books, 1994: Out of print)
A great anthology of short stories from the former Eastern Bloc, providing an evocative snap shot of the early post-Cold War era. Stories are organized by state, with the Bulgarian Victor Paskov’s tale of “Romanian” exiles in the Paris Metro a particular highlight.

The Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of of Yugoslavia
Brian Hall (New York: Penguin, 1994)
Hall’s travelogue traces his visits to key places in 1991 Yugoslavia, just as the country begins to disintegrate along ethno-national lines. The foreboding sense of imminent violence drips from every page.

To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia
Michael Parenti (London: Verso, 2000)
In a fiery tome, Parenti makes the case that Yugoslavia’s disintegration was a deliberate result of Western policy, carried out by NATO guns and the privatizing forces of Western economic interests. A book that challenges many of the preconceptions about Yugoslavia and NATO’s interventions there.

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