Our next stop after Split was the old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Below is a lighthouse on the Adriatic Sea that we passed en route to the harbor. Note the boat dock peeking out around the right side of the island; perhaps this lighthouse is not as remote as it first appears.

Lighthouse in the Adriatic Sea, on our approach to Dubrovnik, Croatia

We were fortunate to visit on a beautiful sunny day, and had the opportunity to take in the vistas from high atop a nearby limestone ridge. The view below looks roughly west towards the Adriatic. Our guide said that on a really clear day, and under the right weather conditions, you could see the coast of Italy across the Adriatic from this vantage point. Reminds me of trying to see Mount Shasta from the top of Mount Diablo here in Northern California. For sense of scale, look for the fishing boat making its way along the inlet to the left of the radio mast.

Tourists turning their backs to the beautiful Adriatic Sea.

Cool sea breeze notwithstanding, sometimes we found evidence of a warm Mediterranean climate. Here are some bird of paradise blooms like we might have seen in southern California or Hawaii. Other flowers included wisteria and some classic old varieties of roses. Not everything was native to the area, though, since some of the plants were brought in by sea captains as souvenirs of their travels.

Blooming bird of paradise, a reminder of the warm climate

Massive stone walls protected the old town center of Dubrovnik. During the Middle Ages the city was caught between the Ottoman Empire on the east and the Republic of Venice on the west. Strong fortifications were part of the price of living in the margin between these two enemies; the price also included periodic bribes to the Ottomans as a payoff not to invade. The upside included very profitable trade from their position between the two, making Dubrovnik rich. As long as the left hand and the right hand did not officially know what each other were doing, it paid off handsomely.

Part of the city wall around old Dubrovnik.

The old city wall is still intact around Dubrovnik. The wall varies in thickness and is tall but not level, as the top rises and falls from point to point around the perimeter. Tourists can walk the complete circumference of well over one mile atop the wall, but the hike involves over 500 steps up and down as you complete the loop. The staircase shown below provides one of several points of entry where, for a price, you can climb up and start hiking the loop.

Staircase to the top of the city wall surrounding old Dubrovnik. Note the pockmarks made by bullets hitting the wall of the chapel near the center of the photo; these have been left as reminders of the most recent war in Croatia.

Below is a guard tower on the landward side of the Dubrovnik city walls, facing the rugged mountain slope behind the town. I suppose a Medieval attacker could have bombarded the town from atop the ridge, but it would have been difficult to move a cannon into range without attracting attention from Dubrovnik’s armed forces.

Another part of the city wall fortifications.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s