Saturday, November 6, 2010

dubrovnic reborn


it took 2 days to drive from slovenia to one of the most stunning cities I’ve ever seen. 


dubrovnic is called a jewel for good reason – it is a place like no other – reminding you all at once of venice and santorini mixed together, but that still wouldn’t do it justice...

what I didn’t know is that many of these picturesque orange-red tiled roofs that give the city its signature look were destroyed only a mere 19 years ago.


i'm embarrassed to say i don’t remember much about this sad period in dubrovnic’s history – 19 years ago my son was born and little news lodged in my hormone saturated brain. but after a visit to the war museum and a discussion with our host, rastko seferovic,

my knowledge of this city’s history was corrected. on october 1, 1991, eleven years after the break up of yugoslavia, the serbian-controlled 'yugoslav' army attacked dubrovnic. in an attempt to humiliate the croatian people and take control of their crown jewel, visited by millions of tourists, they fired mortar shells from the citadel above the city and from offshore warships, pounding this tiny, historic city and terrorizing its people. 

rastko told us that women and children were allowed to leave but the men had to stay – he and many others took shelter in the basement of the hilton hotel. regular citizens who were not soldiers but architects, bakers and engineers, took up arms and defended their city. he showed me bullet holes on the building next to the one where we were staying – a testament to the horror they had to live through for months on end.

the yugoslav army concentrated mostly on destroying the residential area, demolishing many homes and buildings in the city center, but they managed to damage some historic buildings as well – but luckily most were spared. 


in the end, over 200 citizens died defending their city before the attackers bent to international outcry over their naked aggression against the croatian citizens and the senseless destruction of one of the world’s most historic and beautiful cities.

today, dubrovnic has been completely rebuilt, so much so that the casual observer would never know the destruction that went on not long ago. high above, on the citadel, is a museum filled with photographs recounting the siege of dubrovnic, including this shot of a child lugging water through the streets of the ancient city.


 one of the most scenic things to do here is to walk along the walls that circle the city

 – almost a mile and a quarter stroll with amazing views every few feet along the way. 

a turquoise adriatic is the only thing pounding the city today, along with thousands of tourists embarking from cruise ships daily to walk the wall, take a snap shot, eat some ice cream and leave. that was fine with us – being off season we felt like we had whole restaurants to ourselves to eat such treats as fresh mussels

and enjoy the many views of this elegant, thriving city





like a proud woman who has been knocked down, then has picked herself up, brushed the dirt from her clothing and stands tall once again, dubrovnic has risen from the ashes 

how could you not fall in love with a city that looks this way out your bedroom window?

and that gives you a front row seat to the most beautiful sunsets in the world....

xo♡a

29 comments:

  1. Battered buildings can be reconstructed. Beautiful views remain. It is a truly lovely place.

    But what of scarred lives — scarred physically, or emotionally, or both?

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  2. I visited Dubrovnic twice and I can tell you is just beautiful. Last August I was there and took some pictures which I will post soon to my blog. But, after I saw all those gorgeous pictures in your blog, I will delay my posting! You did a great job Amanda. Congratulations!

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  3. A wonderful visual and verbal report on your visit to this city and its recent, tragic history. Thanks for sharing this with us, Amanda.

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  4. What a beautiful place. I long to visit Dubrovnic.

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  5. PS. I've realised you're from St Louis. I lived there for a year. Sadly I never felt quite at home in that city - I kept missing the deep blue sea.

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  6. This post made me cry.... I have not been back here for over 20 years....long before war ravaged the city. I knew it had been restored...but to see it....Amanda, what a gift! And you take photos that are so meaningful.... just gorgeous shots.

    When you are home and settled, I'll post some of my old photos.

    I know this has been quite a trip for you...to see one's real "home" and see one's family.... really expands your heart and your soul.
    Thank you for letting me come along.

    Enjoy every minute!!! (Oh, those mussels......yummmy.......)

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  7. Amanda, you had my attention with the comparison to Santorini and Venice. These are beautiful and sensitive. Thanks for the historical perspective from close-up. Eat some mussels for me (miam-miam).

    Safe travels, Amanda.

    Bises,
    Genie

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  8. Wow, spectacular photos! I went to Yugoslavia back when it was still that with my family. The architecture is familiar. It's so sad that it was ravaged by war.

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  9. My goodness, these photos are gorgeous, and the story is haunting. Your words bring life to the stories we heard on the news. It puts a face on the tragedy. It truly is a beautiful city, and I feel like I'm experiencing it through you. Thank you!

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  10. Stunnnig photos, I first realised the beauty of this place watching a BBC documentary by Francesco di Mosca as he sailed around the Med following the route of ancient traders from Venice to Costantinople.

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  11. Absolutely gorgeous!! I'm adding it to my bucket list.

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  12. dear amanda,
    i'm throughly enjoying everybit of your journey. you are a brilliant storyteller.
    safe travels dear,
    lori ♥

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  13. Dubrovnik has been on my 'must visit' list for awhile now, thanks for taking me along with you :-)

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  14. I have some in-law family that is Croatian so know a tiny bit about this - but have never see what a gorgeous city this is. what a treat to be there with you in your awesome photographs.

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  15. still a great travel !
    thank you ! :)
    I liked all your beautiful photos, your serie is very varied, beautiful structures with beautiful colors, magic landscapes and immortalized moments of life ! Bravo !!

    Bye**

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  16. Thank you for sharing the (recent) history of Dubrovnic. It is a gorgeous city. I passed through on my way to the island of Hvar ten years ago and found it, and the people, wonderful, warm and welcoming.

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  17. I haven't visited Dubrovnic but remember the feeling of shock when news of the shelling and siege flashed on our tv and radio - can't believe it's almost twenty years ago!

    Lovely to see the red roofs have been restored ... thanks for the tour*!*

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  18. r-bear - a very good question. Our host, Rastko, told us that he has made a decision to forgive, but to never forget.

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    phivos - please do post your fotos, i would love to them and i'm sure they're gorgeous!

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    lorenzo - it is a beautiful city, but knowing its recent history only made my appreciation of it more profound.

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    loree - i know how you feel - even with the big muddy, i feel landlocked there and crave that deep blue sea as well....

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  19. robin - i would love to see your photos and compare them and see how the city has changed - please do share them!

    and yes - those mussels were such a treat........
    xxx

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    genie - i'll be on the lookout for my next mussels meal and will think of you!

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    thanks nomad!

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    sarah - i traveled through the old yugoslavia as well - only saw zagreb and belgrade and they had the soviet bloc look to them - i hope you get a chance to visit again and see how things have changed -- maybe pop over when you are in italy next year?

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  20. julie - i feel fortunate to have visited and share this story - so glad you enjoyed seeing these fotos~

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    superali - i must look up that video, it sounds fascinating! thanks so much for visiting ;-)

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    willow - ah that bucket list - good for you! i bet yours has some exotic places on it.....

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    lori - thanks so much dear!! am hopping over to visit you once i'm done here......must strike when the iron is hot as i currently have good internet connection! ;-)

    xxx

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  21. sara louise - i hope you get a chance to hop over from le petit village!

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    mim - i'm so happy you are traveling along with me! ;-)

    xx

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    mahon - wow -- i hope to live up to this comment -- thanks red cat!!

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    jayne - oh, you got to hvar!! we hoped to go, but being off season we were encouraged not to as much is closed.....lucky you!

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    annie - you are most welcome☺ so glad you enjoyed the 'tour'!

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  22. Oh my goodness, what a charming city! Beautiful photos, Amanda!!

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  23. Amanda
    Some of the photos are perfect postcards. I think you brought up the condensed history lesson in a clear manner. How long are you gone?
    Shall e-mail you. Have a wonderful time exploring.

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  24. I am so glad they re-built the destroyed houses of Dubrovnik. How COULD they have bombed it in the first place!!! Your stories and pictures bring back so happy memories of the Croatian Sea. We left from Split to that wondrous island Brac, will tell you more via mail!

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  25. Absolutely beautiful. I think I have to start traveling soon(I keep saying that) -
    I've fallen in love with Dubrovnik because of your amazing pictures.

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  26. I remember when in the news they said Dubrovnik had been destroyed, I saw my mother cry.

    I love your travel stories, you paint such wonderful pictures with your words... and the photos do the "proud woman standing tall" huge justice.

    I just wish you could have also come down to Italy... grumpf!

    Love from your bracelet twin (with a wonderful new shining & braided addition),
    Lola xx

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  27. thanks japra - that's high praise coming from you! ;-)

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    anita - many thanks for visiting!

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    thanks, sonia! i'm gone for about 4 1/2 weeks on this trip.....will look forward to your email~

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    oh yes geli, please do tell me more about your trip to brac. we didn't visit any croatian islands on this trip as we were advised not to as things were closed up, but i've heard wonderful things about brac, hvar and others........hugs to you dear geli♡

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    cheryl - i'm sure you are busy with your little ones, but when they get a bit older maybe you can travel with them!? my kids loved it and learned so much---thanks for visiting!

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    lola thank you! i WISH i could come back to italy and see you......grrrrr that it didn't work out this time (we are now in the southern the peloponnese as i write this and driving into towns to get internet!) but my sister will bring greetings from me~

    sending love and hugs to you my bracelet twin! xoxo

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Thank you for visiting♡