Dubrovnik Neretva

 
Dubrovnik-title

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Dubrovnik - Neretva County < back
 
Dubrovnik-Neretva County
Nature
Active Holiday
Entertainment
Elaphites
Neretva Delta
Peljesac
Mljet and Lastovo
Korcula - the town and the island
Konavle
Dubrovnik
 

Map of Dubrovnik (206KB 40sec @ 56,6Kbps)
 
Dubrovnik
The Dubrovnik - Neretva county is rich in carefully cultivated landscape and places with long history. Numerous monuments, archives and magnificent treasuries testify to this. It is a region of the historic towns of Dubrovnik, Korcula, Ston; the remains of ancient Narona and the lost, possibly sunken town of Epidaur; of importants harbours of Ploce and Metkovic; of communities of great historical importance - Cavtat, Lopud, Slano, Mali Ston, Orebic; and of a few dozen little villages blending into the landscape of the coast or a river bank, of a hill or a field. Also, there are about a hundred renaissance summer houses built by merchants, nobles and seamen in nice bays, or on the edges of valleys, surrounded by gardens and parks. On certain sites, these summer houses were built in spectacular rows, like in Rijeka Dubrovacka, on the island of Sipan, in Konavle. Many different sovereign and marine powers touched and clashed in this area throughout its turbulent history: Byzantium, the Saracens, Croatia, Normandy, Venice, some small kingdoms and principalities, then the Hungro - Croatian state and through it the Roman - German empire, the Ottoman empire, Habsburgs and Napoleons empire. Situated on such a crossroads, a small town like Dubrovnik managed, through the political artfulness of its nobles, to achieve a wide and complete form of self - government. Thus for centuries it acted as a sovereign state, the Republic of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik turned its independence into a cult of freedom, stressed on every possible occasion by its statesmen, envoys and poets. In 1929, Bernard Shaw, the famous Irish writer, wrote: "Those who wish to see heaven on earth should come to Dubrovnik". He was not only praising the glorious history of Dubrovnik, but also the natural features of the whole region, known today as the Dubrovnik - Neretva county. Indeed, if anyone attempted to fit together natural characteristics in order to achieve a perfect harmony between man and nature, surely he would leave out some of the diversity that God has granted to this region.


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Throughout history, Dubrovnik has prided itself on its abundant water supplies. In the scorching Mediterranean, where each drop of Water is of essential value, the first thing that catches the eye after entering the city through any of its entrances is a richly decorated, fast-flowing fountain. This has been so ever since the fourth decade of the 15th century. Fountains have always been the most obvous symbols of the towns prosperity. From the distant mines situated in the surrounding area, silver was transported to Dubrovik by dangerous routes to be exported by sea. Dubrovnik could offer the most precious kind of silver, called "galma", an alloy of silver trade made it possible to built a very complex water-supplay system. This would carry water from a distant spring to the town, to shine as silver itself and dazzle every visitor as soon as he entered the town. The proud community also trusted the creator of the fountain, Pietro di Partino da Milano - a sculptor and the court artist of the Aragons - with the construction of the stone reliefs on "Knezev dvor", one of the symbols of Dubrovniks identity. He also designed the reliefs on the fountains, intended to be an indication of the towns prosperity. Not even the much more powerful rival town of Venice could affort such extravagance. The people of Korcula, under Venetian rule, were expected to carefully collect every drop of water as a gift from heaven. In Korcula the cisterns were often empty, and the barrels full of vintage wine. From some of silver passing through the town, the images of saints and patrons for the churches of Dubrovnik were made. Even after a large number of earthquakes, fires and other adversities, the towns churches, cathedral and convents still pride themselves on their treasury of gold and silver objects. All this time, plenty of fresh water irrigates the rich and fertile soil of the Neretva delta.

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Dubrovnik, one of the smallest cities, enjoyed great importance in the movement of goods and travelers in Europe for a thousand years. The city was awarded this role due to its exceptional geographical position and held onto it for a long time. It is the last protected point along the sailing route from the ports of the North-western Adriatic towards the south-east. South of Dubrovnik, the only thing facing sailing boats in the deep, open sea. During bad weather, Dubrovnik presented a safe haven for travellers patiently waiting for calmer seas or for those travelling by land to destinations like Constantinople, the wealthy cities of the East and the Holy Land. This is how this strong citadel, a safe refuge for travellers, became one of the most important points along the world travel route. Tiny Dubrovnik thus became the counterpoint to the larger Venice. Here rose another exceptional town, Korcula, situated on the narrowest of passages full of small reefs. from the time of Venice, Korcula was used as the most convenient point for the monitoring of traffic. Both towns are built upon cliffs protecting extensive ports. The roles of both towns gave them their characteristic shape and thair particular town plan. Many of the streets in Korcula lead to the highest point of the town, the bell tower of the Cathedral of St Mark. The streets of Dubrovnik descend from the clifftops to the bay, towards the wide main street called Stradun. The strength of Dubrovnik resulted from its skill in diplomacy which the political elite often took advantage of for their own benefit. By intelligent manoeuvring, it benefitted from the Turkish advance towards Central Europe in the 16th century to establish its almost monopolistic commercial position. The boom which followed saw an unprecedented growth in the commercial fleet which competed with the largest of the maritime fleets in the Mediterranean. As the number of commercial ships carrying Dubrovnik flags grew, so did their nave, specifically constructed boats from Dubrovnik shipbuilders. The largest boats from the shipyard could only be lowered into the sea on their starboard side. This unique procedure is still not easily adopted by contemporary shipyards. And today, for lovers of hand-crafted boats, natives of Korcula still construct them; boats which evolved from centuries of life beside the sea.

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Stone holds sway over all the streets of Dubrovnik, Korcula and other towns and villages of Dalmatia, boldly finding its way into houses, churches, gardens and parks. It etches its hallmark into this ancient architecture. While still part of nature, stone only appers to be hostile; in the walls of houses it is sturdy and reliable; in the intricate adornments on buildings it is flexible and light; under the feet of many passers-by it is smooth and enduring. Since ancient times, things have been made from stone. Time has left but a small mark upon it and indeed has only added to its beauty and harmony with its surroundings. The bright sunlight does nothing to diminish its refinement. There is nothing either glamorous or ostentatios about it. In the rain stony facades softly reflect the town. resistant but vurnerable, hard but fragile, stone has for centuries been skillfully manipulated by artisans in creating architectural masterpieces such as a Dubrovnik, Korcula and many small towns like Cavtat and Ston. Their beauty and proportions congruous with their surroundings, evoke the admiration of visitors and, because of their perfection and enduring characters, are the object of specialist studies.

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Since its very beginnings, Dubrovnik has been under threat from various dangers: earthquakes, infernos and wars. Restoration has thus, over the centuries, been a constant concern of the city authorities and the people of Dubrovnik. Leading restorers, both foreign and domestic, have competed in achieving both practical and artistic goals. The regulations governing restoration have always been laid down by the town council: harmony and simplicity and being faithful to a buildings original character, which have always resulted in the preservation of Dubrovniks identity. The appearance of the town at the time of its inclusion in the UNESCO list of world heritage in 1979, is a result of numerous restoration works executed in the past. After the 1991 war, it also gained a place on the list of endengered world heritage. International restoration experts are in situ, employing their skills once again. Today Dubrovnik represents the worlds most extensive restoration project. Once again, uncompromisingly, only traditional techniques and materials are used: stoe, wood and "kupe kanalice" (a traditional type of roofing slate). The current restoration of Dubrovnik, however, is not simply a question of ancient skills and modern techniques alone, it is the restoration of the historic city as well as the human element within it. The principles guiding the restoration of Dubrovnik must be observed in activities and projects concerning restoration of other parts of the Dubrovnik - Neretva county, especially the towns of Ston and Korcula, both of which are candidates for the UNESCO world heritage sites. The restoration, or rather reconstruction, of ancient Narona, where Vid is situated today, will reveal one of the most prosperous Adriatic settlements of ancient times to the public.

 
Dubrovnik Nature >
 
Dubrovnik-Nature
Althrough geographically small, this area boasts the magnificent combination of the clearest of Adriatic waters, the interiors karst system with its numerous fresh water springs and the famous Neretva river in the Northeast of the region. Integral to this meeting of land and sea are the islands which form the southernmost tip of the Adriatic coast. The defining characteristics of the landscape are the evergreen flora, pine and oak forests, macchia, karst fields, valleys and plateaux as well as the unique delta of the Neretva river. At the foot of high mountains Mediterranean, tropical and sub-tropical plants grow, flower and bear fruit. Such gifts of nature have been unfairly ignored by visitors compared to the objects of beauty created by man! The Dubrovnik - Neretva region is filled with many natural phenomena of world wide repute:
 
Dubrovnik Holiday >
 
Active Holiday
Sailing or motor boating, rowing, swimming, spear or big game fishing; these sports have their roots in this and surrounding areas. One of the oldest rowing lanes in this part of the world was established by the Austrian Emperor and King Francis Joseph in Rijeka Dubrovacka. The windsurf area in front of Viganj near Orebic, which enjoys the best weather conditions for this sport in the whole of the Adriatic, was the site of the European Championship in 1990. Traditionally, water-polo is the most popular sport in the region. It is spectacular experience to witness one of the Jug games in the strongest league in the world - the Croatian water-polo league. For those interested in sub-aqua pursuits, either as a challenge or a novelty, there are diving schools on Mljet and in Priscapac on the island of Korcula.
 
Dubrovnik Entertainment >
 
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This small region has a picturesque quality, with people who have not abandoned their traditional way of life, as if it were a vast stage on which the most subtle of performances was being acted out-life itself. The visitor finds remarkable charm in its exotic rural character but even more so when it erupts dazzlingly with festivals, processions and carnivals - from Cilipi to Lastovo, from Dubrovnik to Korcula and Metkovic. The city of Dubrovnik is a pageant of such open picturesque scenes. Fortifications, bridges, palaces, balconies, chapels, terraces, town squares, streets, monastic cloisters - the city is full of theatre - like atmosphere and rhythm. The events have already long been discovered, for both the performers and audience. There is a difference between the sound of steps on the city stone pavements and those on the floorboards of the theatre. In this architecture of gentility and harmony, directors always discover a new charm or beauty which for decades continue to be bestowed upon the Dubrovnik Festivals devoted audience.
 
Elaphites >
 
elafites
The Elafit or Deer slands, leaving out of consideration quite a large number of reefs and rocks, include eight islands and five islets: Daksa, Kolocep, Sv. Andrija, Lopud, Ruda, Sipan, Misjak, Jakljan, Kosmec, Golec, Crkvine, Tajan and Olipa. Just like deer their lushly branched horns, they have put out their opulet display of rocks, coves and isthmuses across the Dubrovnik waters. In this lovely area, both endowed by nature and enhanced by the human hand, there are only three inhabited islands: Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. All the others, large and small, are paradisal dwellings of the gull and the swift, birds of passage or the occasional visitor, the sleepy fisherman or the single searcher of loneliness. Here, as far as the eye can see, the blue of the sky joins with the open sea, while the luxuriant crowns of the pines embrace the rocks. The lulling roar of the waves, the shrill shriek of the gull, and the heady scent of sea dew, of immortelle and laurel make up the marvellous call of the Elafit Isles, plunging down into a pleasing sense of abandonment in which it seems as if everything has stood still time, nature and we ourselves.
 
Neretva Delta >
 
The Neretva river tract, flowing downstream, widens considerably once it reaches Pocitelj and than the raging mountainous river empties into the most indented delta in Croatia. This is a wonderful landscape where the river meets the sea, of plains and karst, lakes and marshes. A pleasant Mediterranean climate is a characteristic of this region. The average yearly temperature hovers above 15 degrees Celsius and with more than 2700 hours of sunshine each year, this makes the Neretva delta the sunniest part of the Croatian seaboard. The most well-known characteristic of the lower Neretva landscape have long been the marshlands with their abundance of fish and swamp birds. Soil-conservation and land-reclamation practices in the last few decades have transformed considerably the regions agriculture, the most famous being the cultivation of citrus fruits.
 
Peljesac >
 
Peljesac offers one of the most romantic of Adriatic landscapes. The coast line is dotted with wonderful coves, white beaches, centuries old cypress trees, fantastic plant-covered ridges with the fragrance of sage, cool pine forests. A magnificent view unfolds before you from the peak of St. Ilijas Mountain (961 m). From this position, one can see the entire island of Korcula as well as the island of Hvar, Vis, Mljet, Lastovo. The monastery and Church of the Holy Mother of Angels above Orebic have been erected on the most attractive site, where one can rest ones gaze upon one of the loveliest Dalmatian channels in which rugged hills melt with groups of small islands and brown ridges with oleander and forests of cypress and pine. Two picturesque towns, Little and Large Ston, are positioned in between the peninsula and dry land. With Dubrovnik, they were the most important and well-secured sites in the in the Dubrovnik Republic. Strong mediaeval walls protected the possesions and property of the wealthy citizens of the Republic on Peljesac
 
Mljet and Lastovo >
 
Mljet - Lastovo
Some thirty kilometres from the ancient town of Dubrovnik and eighteen kilometres from Korcula, a thick forest of Alpine fir and oak descend down to sea level. It is in this setting that natures providence has placed the beautiful island of Mljet. The special charm of Mljet lies its two salt water lakes, and the island in the lake upon which are built a Benedictine monastery and Church of St. Mary from the 12th Century. Other features include the imposing remains of an ancient palace and an old Christian Basilica in the port of Polace. The National Park of Mljet was established in 1960 primarly because of its wonderfully dense forests of Mediterranean pines, Mediterranean oak and evergreen underbush. Later, it was stated that Mljets lake was its most beautiful feature. The lake was colonised by a peculiar, live ecology through a shallow water-link to the Adriatic on the southern part of the island.
 
Korcula - the town and the island >
 
Korcula
The Island of Korcula is the largest of the green islands of the Adriatic. From time immemorial it has been forested, which was why it was given the name Black Korcula during the colonisation of the ancient Greeks. The forests have for centuries been carefully protected as the timber was necessary for the valuable shipbuilding industry. Maritime contact with other parts of the Mediterranean existed two to three centuries before the time of Christ. Artisans of the ancient world used the famed stone from the small island of Vrnik. This stone was used to build many lovely Dalmatian cities as well as some of the most famous buildings such as the Basilica of St.Sofie in Carigrad, the parliament in Vienna and the townhall in Stockholm. And of course the town of Korcula was built from this same stone. The ancient heart of the city lies on a peninsula. The reason for this position was so that from the city towers the population could more effectively monitor the navigation of galleys and sailing boats from the eastern coast of the Adriatic. The fortifications and narrow streets prove irresistible to todays visitor just as it impressed medieval writers and travel writers. One of the most famous travel writers, Marco Polo, began his lifes journey in this town. The house in which he was born has been restored and preserved, and it was also in this town that he lost his freedom. In the battle near Korcula he ws captured and taken to Genoa and then sentenced to prison. It was in prison that he wrote his book Milion about his travels to China which caused a sensation in western civilised society as they were brought into shock contact with the Far East.
 
Konavle >
 
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The Dubrovnik riviera begins in Konavle. This is the most southern region, full of fertile valleys surrounded by mountains which border Bosnia-Hercegovina, while towards the sea rim, high Konavlian cliffs lead down towards the bay of Prevlaka, the port of Molunat and the town of Cavtat. The variety of landscapes of Konavle have attained and preserved a harmony between natural beauty, cultivated and cultural tradition of the wealthy agricultural industry, indigenous stone architecture, statues and sacral objects, and a rich folk tradition whose lovely and harmonious attributes finds their expression in Konavles folk costume and the beautiful women who wear them. Konavle can be experienced and enjoyed in many differnt ways: rural tourism, traditional folk performances, walks and excursions to historically significant buildings, archeological sites, fortifications, and a visit to the mountains in search of the source of the river. For lovers of calm and peaceful surroundings, a visit to the Franciscan monastery is recommended (it is the process of reconstruction).
 
Dubrovnik >
 
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A thousand years ago, Dubrovnik was for some people just too far away. Nevertheless, even during the era when travel was a unique adventure, distance did not stop people from heeding the call of Dubrovnik. European crusades, pilgrims to Jerusalem, travel writers, messengers, adventures and those seeking new knowledge and perspective passed through or stayed. And they had no regrets. Neither does the modern traveller - the tourist. Today in Dubrovnik they arrive comfortably and easily, by plane, boat or car. Stradun, Dubrovniks central street, the jugural and meeting place of the town, is unique in its beauty. Monasteries, 17 churches and one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, offer to the visitor the religious aspect of Dubrovniks rich cultural heritage. One of the lovely features of Dubrovnik is that one can make a tour of its churches, museums, palaces and city walls on foot. While catching ones breath in one of the many cafes you will hear the chimes of the bell-tower. Furher along, the street leads to the Jesuit College, made famous by one of its students, the great thinker and scientist Rudjer Boskovic. A number of Dubrovniks citizens have brought fame to their town. They are renowned in all areas of science, art and culture: the writers Marin Drzic and Ivan Gundulic, doctors Didak Pir and Djuro Baljivi, mathematician Marin Getaldic, economist Beno Kotruljevic, sailor Miho Pracat, philosopher Nikola Gucetic, painters Nikola Bozidarevic and Lovro Dobricevic, theologians the Dominican monk Ivan Stojkovic and the Franciscan Juraj Dragisic. Two distinctive traits characterise the people of Dubrovnik: an inclination to the soul and a desire for freedom. Nowhere was freedom more passionately fought for and unselfishly guarded than in Dubrovnik. Nowhere were such sweet songs sung than those Gundulic sung for Dubrovnik. Nobility of the spirit and a harmony in communication amongst the local population will be quickly felt by every visitor. And though there are no longer noble and titled families within Dubrovnik, there remain many noble souls and noble characteristics, of which the most renowed is: harmony, Dubrovnik harmony. The climate is perhaps a measure of the town. In summer, when it is unbearably hot, it is a pleasure to sit in the deep shade of the town palaces and monasteries, watching for night to bring a light mistral wind to cool the hot city walls. In the evening, in one of the many restaurants of Dubrovnik, you can try their fish specialties or drink one of the renowned local wines. You will then feel the same heat which fills the people from Dubrovnik: an invitation to enjoyment and song.
 
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