Walking Tour of Dubrovnik, Croatia
This lovely, walled Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast has had its share of misfortune. A devastating earthquake in 1667 practically leveled the town, while bombings and rocket attacks in 1991 did more damage. However, Dubrovnik has emerged, like a phoenix, and has captured the hearts and imagination of the world and become a major tourist destination in Eastern Europe.
My walk begins at the Onofrio Fountain, a component of the still-functioning water-supply system, at the western end of town, near the Pile Gate, the main entryway into the city. In a niche above the archway of the gate is a statue of St Blaise, the patron saint of the city. Opposite the fountain is the St Saviour Church, one of numerous religious buildings in town.
The main thoroughfare that runs eastward from here is known as the Placa (also called the Stradun) and is the city’s main shopping street as well. Begin walking down the Placa. On your left is the Franciscan Monastery and Museum. Be sure to check out the lovely cloister as you wander around the interior.
Stroll down the beautifully paved Placa, browsing in the shops and cafes and admiring the pretty, Baroque buildings which line the avenue, along the way to Luza Square, the main square of the city and its most popular gathering place. Here you will find the Clock Tower, where a pair of little, green men, Baro and Maro, ring in each hour. Also on the square is the Orlando Column, dedicated to the French hero, Roland, of Song of Roland fame.
At the north end of the square is the Sponza Palace which was the former Customs House, when built in 1516. It once safeguarded the state treasury and now houses Dubrovnik’s city archives.
Take Svetog Dominika northward, past the palace and alongside the city walls to reach the Dominican Monastery and Museum. Again, stroll the tranquil grounds and check out the many artifacts in the museum. When finished, continue past the monastery on Svetog Dominika to the Ploce Gate and out of the city to check out Revelin Fort, one of the city’s most prominent and strongest fortifications.
Return to the city and to Luza Square, then continue south, across the square and beyond on Pred Dvorom. On your left is the beautiful Rector’s Palace, once home of the city’s top official, now a museum. Opposite the palace is St Blaise’s Church. The martyr’s statue, inside, holds a model of the city prior to the famous earthquake that destroyed much of it.
Continue down Pred Dvorom to Dubrovnik’s Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin. Be sure to notice the ornate altars and fine artwork within.
Exit to the west, straight ahead from the front of the Cathedral, to reach another large square, Gunduliceva Poljana. In this good-sized, oblong space, lined by more Baroque houses, the city’s Morning Market is held. It also hosts summer concerts.
Exit the square to the north on Lucarica, which leads back to Luza Square. Turn left and walk back up the Placa to the walk’s starting point. However, no visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a stroll along the incredible City Walls which make a two kilometer circuit around the perimeter of town. You can access the walls here at the Pile Gate. Try to save enough time to make a complete trip around to get a variety of different views of the city within and coastal scenery outside the walls.