Saturday, 21 April 2012
Dubrovnik (nee Ragusa) began as a Roman settlement. From the Middle Ages on it was a prize sought by Venice, Hungary, Turkey, and others who recognized the city's logistical value as a maritime port. But Libertas (Liberty) has always been uppermost in the minds of Dubrovnik's citizens, and through the ages their thirst for independence repeatedly trumped other nations' plans to conquer their city.
In 1667, another kind of assault leveled Dubrovnik when an earthquake destroyed almost everything except a few palaces and church buildings in Old Town. The city was quickly rebuilt in the baroque style of the time, only to be shattered again during the 1991-92 siege. Croatia's war with Serbia destroyed the tourism industry throughout Croatia, but Dubrovnik was especially hard-hit. Not only was the city physically scarred from the war, but it was also economically crushed.
Happily crowds are now once again flocking to this charming city nestled between the Adriatic and the Dinaric Alps, and Dubrovnik has regained its status as a vacation destination par excellence.
Inside protective walls, the pedestrian-only Old Town is again bustling with an international crowd. Here you will find almost all the area's sights worth seeing -- historic churches and public buildings; designer shops and homey restaurants; ancient sculptures and modern galleries; fountains and bell towers; monasteries and gardens; and the most famous of all, the ancient city wall and its towers. Today's Dubrovnik attracts visitors from all socio-economic levels and corners of the world, from student backpackers to celebrities.
Outside the walls of Old Town, Dubrovnik's suburban districts are packed with hotels, restaurants, parks, campgrounds, and other services, all for the hordes of tourists clamoring to bask in the city's Mediterranean magic and revel in its citizens' exuberant devotion to Libertas.