With February past, Dubrovnik is waking up warmer, sunnier and brighter every day. A warm shade of orange morning sun has replaced the cold blue colour on the grey stone of the ancient city.
With just a few more people than usual on the main street one might ask oneself how to take advantage of the city and all it has to offer. With a sense of belonging Dubrovnik will lure you in it’s web of adventures just waiting to happen.
Right upon entering the city you will find yourself torn between going up the walls or just taking your time and strolling down the main street. The good thing is you can’t go wrong with either.
Stradun, regardless of being a relatively short main street, will take you to another time and place. The look upon the hundred of years old buildings will open a door to a fairytale happening right in front of you. Every street in Dubrovnik has a unique history, each one was a place of thrilling happenings; the stories are countless. It is important to take your time in the Old City to really experience it.
The first thing you will see is the Onofri fountain, designed by Onofrio della Cava in 1483. The fountain is a meeting place for the locals and the best place to keep fresh and hydrated, which is very important, especially in the hot summer days when strolling the city. The water at the fountain is fresh, clean, cold and has been flowing constantly since the fountain was made; and remember, you are drinking from history.
Going on, a number of signs will lead you into places of historic importance, one of which is the Franciscan Monastery with the oldest pharmacy in this part of Europe. Entering the monastery you will find yourself in the garden with authentic indigenous plants and trees cultivated by monks many decades ago and reaching the second floor terrace. The pharmacy is located in the monastery and today offers a number of medicines and there made natural soaps, ointments, herbs and other products found nowhere else.
Looking past the cafes and restaurants, which will come in handy around noon and dinner time, you will be drawn to windows with plants and flowers, or clothing being dried in the hot air between the narrow streets. If you are lucky enough you will be able to overhear conversations between people living on opposite sides of the street just talking about what is new at the market that morning or making arrangements to go walking up and down Stradun later that day.
Prijeko is the street parallel with Stradun on the left side when entering the city from the Pile gate. Looking up you will see a lot of stairs, a very characteristic sight to Dubrovnik as it was built upwards on both sides. Don’t let that discourage you because exploring those narrow streets will surely give you an one of the most unique experiences of you’re life and surely many perfect photo opportunities.
Prijeko will lead you through a small passage to another monument of Dubrovnik, the Dominican monastery. One of the highlights of the monastery founded by monks in 1225, are the stairs leading to the entrance of the gothic church. The stairs are, like so many others, a meeting place of native people as well as a place of music, song and conversation.
Going down the second pair of stairs, right in front of the entrance to the monastery, you will see a large gate through which you will enter the Old city harbour.
Full of life and always so busy, the Old port, other than a small ship and boat port, is the perfect location to soak in and marvel upon the city walls making their way to the St. John’s fort and then to the sea. Porporela, a breakwater made in 1873, is a place of tranquility and silence; well maybe not always in the summer. It is a place of inspiration and a spot in the city to just watch the sea, the waves, Lokrum and think about anything you want.
A storm in 1879 washed a 3159 kilogram heavy stone onto Porporela which has been built into the breakwater and marked for all visitors to remember; a sort of attraction if you will.
Well, that was a walk, wouldn’t you say. Stay tuned, we will continue this journey through Dubrovnik soon. There is so much more you need to know.