I arrived in Dubrovnik Tuesday, May 22nd, but after a long flight from San Diego via Frankfurt I was too tired to do a blog entry - and jet lagged. Croatia is 9 hours ahead of California.
Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a city on the Adriatic Coast, also called the Dalmation Coast, with a long, interesting history.
First a quick history of Croatia: First settlers - Illyrians believed to be ancestors of Albanians. Romans moved in around 229 B.C., Rome fell in 5th century & Slavs moved in. 925 A.D. Tomislav united north & south Croatia. Croatia entered into alliance with Hungarians in 1102, Venetians controlled coast; by 15th century Ottomans controlled inland & challenged Venetians for control of coast (& lost). 17th century Habsburgs forced Ottomans out inland Croatia, then Venice & Dubrovnik fell to Napolean in 19th century. Austro-Hungarian empire broke up at end of WWI southern Slavs (Serbs, Slovenes & Bosnians) formed union that would become Yugoslavia (Yugo means south so Southern Slavs. Western Slavs are Poles, Czechs, & Slovaks; Eastern Slavs are Russians, Ukrainians, & Belarusians ). Croatia didn't want any party of this & Ustase took control. At the end of
WWII Ustase & Nazis kicked out & Tito (Communist) ruled all of Yugoslavia (Croatia became part of Yugoslovia). Tito died in 1980 & the 6 republics (Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, & Montenegro) gained more autonomy. When things fell apart horrible wars were fought.
What we have now is 7 countries (Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo & Montenegro), 5 languages, 3 religions (Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslim), 2 alphabets (Roman & Cyrillic), & several currencies. Welcome to the Balkans!
We had a tour of the Old Town and our guide Lydia gave us lots of information. Here's what I remember: area around Dubrovnik settled by 600 A.D., then Byzantines, Romans, huge earthquake in 1667 (they say you could say 3 "Our Father's" in the time the shaking happened) which destroyed 2/3 of Dubrovnik), Napoleon in 1800's, became part of Yugoslavia post WWII, Toto ruled till1980, breakup after Tito died, war with Serbs 1991, war over 1995, rebuilding & increase in tourism. Before the war Dubrovnik had a thriving tourist industry. They never thought the Serbs would attack Dubrovniik & they were unprepared. They didn't expect the Old Town to be attacked since it is a UNESCO site,
but it was attacked. They have repaired most of the damage from the war.
For all you Game of Thrones fans, lots of filming takes place here. The Old Town of Dubrovnik is the location for Kings Landing, Blackwater Bay, the Narrow Sea, and the Red Keep. I sat on the Iron Throne! The city walls are featured in many scenes and I walked completely around the city wall, in the rain but it was less crowded then. I went to the Island of Lokrum, scenes for Quarth where Daenerys visited. I walked around the Old Town and found the Stairs where the Walk of Atonement, aka "Walk of Shame for Cersei" started. Unfortunately I was there in the pouring rain (time for a beer & wait out the rain).
I did the walk on the Old Wall in a light rain which kept alot of people away. Actually, we were lucky because there were no cruise ships in town. I can't imagine the Old Town with 15,000 people from the cruise ships. I wanted to take the cable car to Mt. Srd but it had closed due to the storm. I walked back to Old Town, had
dinner and walked to the Fort of St. Lawrence, also used in Games of Thrones. Unfortunately I got there after it closed, so I caught the bus back to the hotel.
We are staying in the Hotel Lapad on a peninsula just north of the Old Town area. It's next to the new port where the cruise ships dock. All in all I had a good day.
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