Four historic attractions on and off Stradun

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5D3B9291It’s usually love at first sight with Dubrovnik. The glitz and glamour are exciting, the views enchanting, and the salt-air of Dalmatia somehow smells of serenity. You’ll want to soak it all in immediately and you can begin to on Stradun, the city’s main promenade. From there you don’t have far to go to some of the city’s biggest historic sights.

The main attraction of Dubrovnik is, without a doubt, its complex of city walls which encircle it. This defense grid is so impressive UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1979. The first set of walls around the city were put up in the 13th century and the last fortification added in the 15th, at a time when Dubrovnik’s power and influence had peaked. Testimony to the quality of the walls is the fact they remained intact even after a devastating earthquake struck the republic in 1667.

The main entrance to the city’s walls is by the Pile Gate — go to the left when you enter. Once you’re on them, be ready for a two-kilometer stroll. Be sure to pack a hat and sunscreen as well as a bottle of water. Also, we recommend avoiding the mid-day crowds and merciless sun and heat of the early afternoon – it’s best to visit in the morning or before dusk. And be sure to have your camera on the ready when you go. The sights are spell-bounding!

Details

Getting there: all buses lead to Pile Gate (purchase bus tickets for 12 kn at hotel reception as opposed to 15 kn from bus driver)

Contact: 020 324 641

Hours: Summer 9am-7pm daily. Winter 9am-3pm daily

Admission 70kn; 30kn discounted

The walls may be Dubrovnik’s main claim to fame, but they’re not the only sights to see in this amazing city which helped put Croatia on the map.  Another is its 15th-century synagogue, the second-oldest synagogue in Europe and the oldest Sephardic one still in use today.

In the 14th century many Jews who were expelled from Spain took refuge in the city-state of Ragusa — today the Croatian city of Dubrovnik – where there already was a small Jewish community. Soon a Jewish ghetto was established in a street today known as Zudioska ulica (“Jewish Street”). It’s right off Stradun and this is where the synagogue is located.

Constructed in the Italian Baroque style, its inside has a mixture of designs from different eras. It is owned by the local Jewish community, who in 2003 converted its first floor into Croatia’s first Jewish museum. It hosts numerous religious objects and centuries-old artifacts including archival documents and elaborate scrolls from between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Details

Address: Žudioska 5

Phone: 020 321 028

Admission: 10kn

Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mon-Fri Oct-May, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily Jun-Sep

Another of the city’s historic sights you shouldn’t miss is the Franciscan Monastery and – equally as important – the Old Pharmacy Museum in its complex. The pharmacy doesn’t get the full attention it should, as it is the third-oldest functioning pharmacy in the world and the oldest pharmacy in Europe still in use today. It was opened as far back as 1317.

Inside visitors can see many wonderful original objects from the history of the medical profession dating back to the Ragusan era including stone bowls, ancient lab equipment, ceramics and medical books, all on display here. It’s interesting to note that many of the containers and poisons you see on the pharmacy’s shelves also date from the 15th century, so you can get a look at remnants of medieval medicine without going in the museum if you prefer.

Find it in the passageway between the monastery and the Church of Our Savior. As with most sights, it’s best not to visit in the middle of the day due to crowds.

Details

Address: Stradun 2

Phone: 020 321 410

Admission: 20 kn for adults, 10 kn for children

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer season

Dubrovnik’s renaissance mansion of Rector’s Palace was built in the late 15th century. Gothic with Renaissance and Baroque additions, it underwent numerous reconstructions during the course of its turbulent history and every time it was destroyed or damaged a new architect came in with a new vision of how the building should look. The resulting unique blend of styles is seen across the entire building.

Built for the governing Rector of Dubrovnik, the palace contains the rector’s office and private chambers as well as public halls and administrative offices. Today it is a museum, where one can soak in the splendor of Dubrovnik of old in exhibition halls with numerous items from history including antique furniture, objects for daily use, and paintings by local and Italian masters.

Details:

Address: Pred Dvorom 3

Contact: 020 426 469

Price: adult 35 kn, concession 15 kn, audio guide 30 kn

Hours: 9am-6pm May-Oct, to 4pm Nov-Apr
Other sights abound, of course, in Dubrovnik but these are without a doubt four must-sees you’d be well advised to start off with. Be sure not to miss them during your stay.