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  Age on Sunday   23 Jul 2017  Dubrovnik, the walled city of Croatia

Dubrovnik, the walled city of Croatia

Published : Jul 23, 2017, 1:05 am IST
Updated : Jul 23, 2017, 1:05 am IST

Dubrovnik is a picture-postcard beautiful fort city in Croatia.

The Dubrovnik Beach is mesmerising with clear waters and clearer skies.
 The Dubrovnik Beach is mesmerising with clear waters and clearer skies.

A bewitching town, a glittering jewel in the adriatic, Dubrovnik is a dream city for someone who loves old world charm, antiquity and historical spots.

For someone who is a big fan of history and vintage life, visiting Dubrovnik was a huge blessing. It was as though time had stood still. I was transported centuries back to the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Lucky to be invited to the Creative Commons Summit held in the city, it gave me an opportunity to spend over a week in this beautiful city.

Dubrovnik is a picture-postcard beautiful fort city in Croatia. This old city was founded in the 7th century AD and several generations have changed hands between empires who sought to take ownership of this prized land. No wonder the entire city is built within the thick walls. The walls are impregnable, which at some places, extend to 20 feet of thickness. The walls have a series of turrets and towers as a defence mechanism against invaders and are over two kilometres long. The construction started in the 14th century and lasted until the 16th century. So thick and strong were the walls that they withstood the massive earthquake of 1665.

Sadly, the city has been under constant attack. As recently as 1991, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the old city faced severe damage when it was besieged for over seven months by the Serbian and Montenegro armies.

Dubrovnik is now among the highest-visited tourist spots in the MediterraneanDubrovnik is now among the highest-visited tourist spots in the Mediterranean

The old city lies at the base of tall mountains and this made it a sitting target for the invading armies to fire mortars and rockets from the mountain tops at the city below.

Much of the cultural artefacts and old buildings were destroyed during this war. However, much to the credit of the Croatian government and history aficionados, who did a brilliant job of salvaging and restoring much of the damaged buildings. The city has made a remarkable resurrection while still maintaining the old roots.

Dubrovnik is now among the highest-visited tourist spots in the Mediterranean. The old-world charm of the city has attracted several filmmakers to use this as a natural setting. The most famous are the Game of Thrones TV series that used the places as The King’s Landings and Quarth. St Dominika Street is where the market scenes of King’s Landing have been shot. The street and Weapons Square form the backdrop to Queen Cersei Lannister’s scandalous Walk of Shame.

Parts of the Ethnographic Museum double up as Littlefinger’s brothel, while Pile, one of the prettiest places in the old town, doubles for Blackwater Bay in the series. Perhaps the best place to get a feel of King’s Landing would be the Bokar Fortress, where you can look into the sea, and try repeating some memorable lines from the show. Star Wars and Robin Hood movies were shot here too. If you have watched Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, you would be able to identify many of the beautiful spots in the city as well.

There are several beautiful small islands that dot the Adriatic Sea. You can experience the rural, slow-paced life of the Croatians. The top islands to visit are Lokrum, Lopund, Mljet and Korcula. When you get to the islands, you will notice the extremely shallow beaches that make for some very interesting times in the water.

Do buy yourself a rubber, floatable ball to play the traditional Croatian water sport of Picigin. Think of it as a volleyball using a tennis ball in a swimming pool. At night, under a full moon sky, a small bunch of adventurous friends went skinny dipping (a first for me!). The experience was magical because of the light emitting algae. When you splash the water, the algae get activated; emitting light and the experience was absolutely surreal.

The writer is an entrepreneur, author, professor, podcaster and farmer based in Chennai

Tags: mediterranean, dubrovnik, croatian government