An interesting port of call on an eastern Mediterranean cruise and one of the highlights is the beautiful and historic city of Dubrovnik. Located off the coast of South Dalmatia, which is in the southern region of Croatia, Dubrovnik is often referred to as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. With its vast amount of attractions, you might not be able to see them all with just one day in port.
It’s quite easy to get around Dubrovnik. Your ship will dock at Port Gruz and the city’s historic centre is reachable with a 30 minute walk. There are other options including a regular public bus service, shuttle bus or taxi. Some ships do anchor outside of port in the bay and the ship’s tender will take you ashore.
Dubrovnik was originally known as Ragusa from the 12th century and the name was changed at the end of WWI. At one time, Ragusa was one of the most powerful city states in the world. They achieved this status with both merchant boats and a strong trade link between other countries. Unfortunately, this golden age came to an end with the disastrous earthquake that levelled most of the city in 1667.
Cathedral of Annunciation of St. Mary
Dubrovnik boasts many churches, to the extent that you can just tour them for a whole day. One of these churches is the Dubrovnik Cathedral, also known as Cathedral of Annunciation of St. Mary. The Cathedral was constructed under the supervision of King Richard the Lionheart himself during the crusades and was easily recognisable due to its Romanesque architecture. It was sadly destroyed during the earthquake.
However, rebuilding the structure took place almost immediately. The church was completed by the year 1713 by architect Andrea Buffalini, who took pains to recreate it to its original glory.
Church of St. Blaise
The main church within the city is the Orthodox Church of Saint Blaise. Blaise located in Luza Square. Its name is derived from the Patron Saint of Dubrovnik and his image can be seen virtually everywhere in the city. The church was rebuilt in 1715 as a replacement for a Romanesque church that burnt down eight years prior and prior to that, badly damaged by the 1667 earthquake.
The church has marble altars and art treasures saved from the earlier church. Placed at the heart of the main and marble alter, an impressive gold-plated silver statue of St. Blaise stands.
Mount Srd (Tvrđava Srđ)
Obtain the best views of the Old City of Dubrovnik with its red tile roofs glistening under the sunshine, the pristine crystal clear Adriatic Sea and the surrounding islands by riding a cable car up Mount Srd. The summit stands at 1350 feet above sea level and ascending is a mere three minutes and is a sightseeing experience on its own.
One of the highly recommended places to visit in Dubrovnik is the Sponza Palace. It remains one of the few structures that survived the 1667 earthquake. The Gothic and Renaissance palace, constructed in 1522, toiled in several duties over the years, including once serving as the locality for Ragusa minting its currency.
Today, it is both an archive of the city on the upper level and below is a cultural centre housing several exhibitions and live performances. A portion within the palace is defined as a memorial to all citizens who lost their lives from the painful war of 1991 to 1995.
The famous pedestrian street Stradun is no less extravagant and interesting. Work first began in 1468 on the former swamp and the street is forever associated with the old quarter. The architecture here is an intriguing mix between the 15th century style and the Gothic Baroque which was adopted after the earthquake.
There are many things to view when walking around including The Onofrio Fountains. It is based upon an Aqueduct system that contains two fountains; a large one merging to a smaller one at the Pile Gate and the Ploce Gate. This is a district to sit and have a coffee before venturing further.
Walls of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik was once a protected city and its defensive walls run nearly 1 ½ miles encircling most of the old city from the seafront. The wall’s are considered to be the largest and most complete in Europe that are still well preserved.
Intended to shield the vulnerable maritime city from invaders its vast protective system dates from the 7th century. There are four city gates with two leading to the harbour and the others to the mainland.
Dubrovnik has become a favourite port of call for many and nearly every major cruise line covering the eastern Mediterranean has the city included in their itineraries.
Written by Veronica Shine