In this armchair travel post, Peggy and I walk the streets of Dubrovnik reliving our 2013 visit. We were there off-season a few weeks before Christmas, happily putting up with rainy weather to avoid the crowds of tourists!
Luck was with us— the rain held off while we were on the walls of Dubrovnik and waited for us to descend to the Stradun, the city’s main thoroughfare. Lunch and pizza occupied most of the downpour. Afterwards we were treated to shiny, wet streets.
In its first life the Stradun had been a winding canal separating Dubrovnik’s Roman and Slav populations. The canal was filled in during the Eleventh Century and brought the two populations together. A devastating earthquake took out most of the town in 1667 and Dubrovnik rebuilt the road to its present straight alignment.
Narrow pedestrian ways shoot off in both directions from the Stradun and invite exploration. Plazas anchor both ends of the street. Since we arrived in December, Dubrovnik was preparing for the holidays. Two Christmas trees competed for our attention in Luza Square. I found one outlined by a window in the old Customs House to be particularly dramatic.
The town’s bell tower and clock, St. Blaise’s Church and Orlando’s Column and are also prominent features of Luza Square. Both St. Blaise and Orlando symbolize Dubrovnik’s fierce sense of independence.
St. Blaise was an early third century Christian Martyr from Armenia who was so holy that wild animals were said to drop by his cave for a blessing. The Romans used steel combs to flay off his skin and then beheaded him. Since the combs resembled those used for carding wool, Blaise became the Patron Saint of the wool trade. Go figure.
He earned the everlasting gratitude of Dubrovnik by appearing in a vision to a local priest to warn of an imminent invasion by the Venetians in 971. Ever since, the locals have loved St. Blaise and disliked Venice. They celebrate his birthday by parading various parts of his body through the city on February 3.
Orlando is known as the legendary knight Roland in Northern Europe. The story is that he rescued Dubrovnik from a siege by the Saracens in the Eighth Century. The fact that the dates of Roland’s life don’t match those of Orlando doesn’t seem to matter. He wasn’t from Venice. Also of note— his arm was used as the standard measure of cloth in Dubrovnik.
The Pile Gate, Franciscan Monastery, and Onofrio’s Fountain are located at the other end of the Stradun. The fountain is a subject of my next blog. The Monastery houses a peaceful cloister and a small but interesting museum that features a pharmacy that opened in 1317— and St. Luke’s finger.
NEXT POST: I’ll conclude our visit to Dubrovnik by looking at gargoyles, St. Luke’s finger, and other oddities that caught my attention.
18 thoughts on “Exploring the Streets of Dubrovnik… Armchair Travel”
Oh wow, that’s some staircase.
Right up the side of the mountain it went, Peggy. 🙂
Bet you were glad of the cooler weather to climb those stairs 😀
Laughing, AC. When I did my 750 mile backpack trek down the Pacific Crest Trail two summers ago, I was climbing mountains in hundred degree F heat. Definitely not the way to go! –Curt
I am certain that you have raided my photo album for your pictures Curt! Thanks for the memory nudge.
I did. Just kidding, of course. It’s hard not to take the same photos in Dubrovnik, Andrew. 🙂 –Curt
We too always enjoy travel in the off season Curt. Although people are wearing coats, it doesn’t seem excessively cold, and it sure was nice not to have cruise ship crowds.
It’s especially important with the more popular tourist locations, Ray. If we are traveling during high season, we try to visit places that aren’t high on most bucket lists. With a little planning, it is easy to get away from the crowds and still find beautiful, historical, and interesting cultural locations, as you know. –Curt
A remarkable vacation!
Yes it was, G. We had dreams of a similar trip up the Rhine this summer to celebrate Peggy’s 70th birthday. Sigh.
The narrow pedestrian walkways are always so stinking cool!
Indeed Pam. I love them! –Curt
The pharmacy looks amazing.
Hard to imagine, Peggy, given when they built it.
“They celebrate his birthday by parading various parts of his body through the city on February 3.” Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’d prefer to be venerated in a different way…
Laughing, Dave. I talk a bit about relics in my post tomorrow, featuring St. Luke’s finger. Very strange, to say the least.
Well written blog! Adding into my bucketlist.
Thanks, and I think you will like it! Try to visit off-season. –Curt