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Walking Dubrovnik's Legendary Walls

It takes just seconds in the magnificent walled city before you understand why Lord Byron called Dubrovnik "the Pearl of the Adriatic."  Jutting out to a sparkling blue sea, Dubrovnik’s skyline is rich with elegant turrets, bastions, and watch towers which dot the thick walls of the Old City that have for centuries protected this maritime city from invasions by both land and sea.

First settled in Roman times, Dubrovnik was known as Ragusa by the Italians.  Its strategic position made it both a maritime powerhouse and a target for frequent attacks by the marauders of the day.  To fortify and protect the city from invaders and to repel attacks from pirates, thick, high walls were erected as early as the 9th century when the city endured numerous attacks from the Saracens, the Bulgarians, and the Serbs.  By the 14th century, Ragusa had become a powerful independent city state, rivaling her neighbor Venice and enjoying a golden age of prosperity until a devastating earthquake in 1667.  Throughout this period, the city’s strong fortifications were completed including the five bastions and two corner forts.  Dubrovnik changed hands often in subsequent centuries belonging in turn to Venice, France, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Croatia, Communist Yugoslavia, finally emerging today as part of independent Croatia.  Most recently, the city’s defenses withstood a 7 month siege in 1991 from the Serb-Montenegrin army and one can still see the scars on the city’s signature rosy gold stone.

The dimensions of Dubrovnik’s walls are impressive: running a total of two kilometers around the perimeter of the city, on the landward side the walls are 4-6 meters thick whereas the seaward side are a mere 1.5-3 meters thick.  The walls soar to a height of 25 meters (83 feet), creating the best vantage point from which to enjoy all of Dubrovnik’s charms.  "Walking the Walls" is a great way to truly appreciate the grandeur of this UNESCO heritage site, including a panoply of Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic cathedrals, impressive public buildings, and the city’s whimsical fountains.  Photographers and architecture fans will enjoy the magnificent views of the city’s signature red terra-cotta roofs; so too will diehard Game of Thrones fans as Dubrovnik was the setting for King’s Landing and beyond: the Red Keep, the Sept of Balor, Littlefinger’s various sideline businesses, the House of the Undying, and Cercei Lannister’s infamous "Walk of Shame." 

Practical Information:

Walking the Walls takes about an hour at a leisurely pace, but note that most of it is in direct sunlight, so sunscreen and protective headgear are essential.  Sturdy running/walking shoes or hiking boots are the best footgear, and be sure to equip yourself with lots of water.  The best time of day to enjoy the walk is in the early morning (tickets go on sale at 8 am) or in the later evening (closing times vary according to season.)

Alexander + Roberts pioneered travel to Eastern Europe in 1954, and we are still helping travelers enjoy the region’s rich cultural highlights on itineraries such as Journey to Croatia & Montenegro, a voyage of discovery to the Adriatic.

Posted: 3/8/2016 1:59:18 PM by Alexander + Roberts