October 2-3: Dubrovnik

Situated at the south end of Croatia the city of Dubrovnik was a major maritime power as well as the capital of the Republic of Ragusa from the 15th and 16th century. At one time it had the third largest navy in the Mediterranean. It was also a major player in the salt trade as well as shipbuilding during that early historical time. Today the Old Town still stands with its thick medieval walls of protection and elegant promenades, cathedrals and alleyways. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, it is a popular tourist stop of the cruise ships, creating a people congestion at times! Story has it that at one time a number of years ago, several cruise ships arrived simultaneously and unload thousands of visitors. The result was a "jammed" entrance through the old gate with no one able to come or go. People were literally stuck in the doorway!! Fortunately on this visit that is not the case.

The town's name is derived from dubrava, which means "oak grove". Dubmeans "oak" in  Croatian.

The city boasts of many old buildings, such as the Arboreum Trsteno, the oldest arboretum in the world, dating back to before 1492. Also, the third oldest European pharmacy is located in the city, which dates back to 1317 (and is the only one still in operation today). It is located at Little Brothers monastery in Dubrovnik. One of the finest Renaissance highlight is the Sponza Palace which dates from the 16th century and is currently used to house the National Archives. Dubrovnik's most beloved church is St. Blaise's church, built in the 18th century in honour of Dubrovnik's patron saint. Dubrovnik's Baroque Cathedral was built in the 18th century and houses an impressive Treasury with relics of Saint Blaise.

A feature of Dubrovnik is its walls that run almost 1.2 miles around the city. The walls run from (13–20 feet) thick on the landward side but are much thinner on the seaward side. The system of turrets and towers were intended to protect the vulnerable city. The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popular filming site for the fictional city of King's Landing in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones.

View of Dubrovnik From Down Coast

First View of City Walls

Entering the City Gate

Climbing to the Top of the City Wall

Ancient City Water Supply -- Still In Use

Typical Alley Way -- Stairs and More Stairs!!

Cathedral of St. Blaise

City Bell Tower