Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Dubrovnik: Walls of stone, Heart of Art

The beauty of Dubrovnik as seen from its walls and the variety of life here in the museums.

I picked up a Dubrovnik 1-day card which was good for the walk around the walls as well as eight museums so I then had the challenge of finding and seeing all the museums.

The walk around the wall shows the beauty of Dubrovnik with the contrast between the white stone and the red tiles and beyond that the azure sea. I walked and photographed but was also glad to take a break in the maritime museum where the history of seafaring and Dubronik is displayed. They were very powerful in the 16-18 centuries but were then reluctant to embrace the new steam technology and so fell behind the other seafaring nations. They seemed to pick up at the end of the nineteenth century with the start of tourism here, so cruise ships have been around for a long time.

Dubrovnik took a huge hit from the 1992-3 war and apparently 83% houses were hit. What one can see now is that the red tiles are all very new and of the same age so indicating a massive repair programme. I rested at strategically placed cafes along my walk enjoying the views and rehydration.

In the afternoon I tracked down as many museums as I could. So I enjoyed the Renaissance architecture of the cultural historical museum, inspected the old cells and irons, chairs were big in this museum, with receptions rooms lined with elegant 19 c chairs and sofas and centrepieces of glass-sided sedans for getting around in the wet weather. Marin Drzic is billed as Croatia's Goethe and Shakespeare. His house was tiny and he risked execution for staging plays there in the town in the 16 century. The natural history museum was difficult to track down and initially looked very unpromising with ancient glass cases with stuffed birds. But they had used their money to create lively modern displays about sea life. The molluscs one was especially imaginative with shells hanging in clear plastic spheres in the centre of the room and looking like a piece of modern art. So I managed to see 6/8 museums and also have multiple coffee breaks in nice squares.

Back at the hotel I had a sunset swim and then enjoyed a jazz trio (sax, guitar, double bass) who were playing outside my hotel.

Dubrovnik feels lively, stylish with interesting shops and an interesting history because not colonised for significant period. Feels Adriatic and very different to Bosnia. And probably also inland Croatia.

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