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DUBROVNIK PILE AND PLOCE GATES. .. . .On either side of the city, you cross a moat (now lined with park benches and orange trees) and a real drawbridge (that still can be drawn ) to enter Old Town through a very impressive gate. Both of these main gates had statues of the Saint Blaise (Sveri Vlaho), the patron saint of Dubrovnik. In fact, you see statues of him all over the place, always cradling the city of Dubrovnik in his arm. He got this honor by appearing in a vision in 971 to warn of an impending invasion by those dreaded Venetians. It saved the city. Unfortunately, Blaise himself didnít fare so well with the locals. He was persecuted because he was a Christian and thrown in a lake to drown. Instead, the story goes that he walked on water -- waited actually -- for his persecutors to come and get him. They drowned in the process. However, even walking on water didnít seem to impress the people of Dubrovnik. When he came back to dry land, they attacked him with wool combs and then beheaded him. Personally, if I was Blaise, I would have let the Venetians have their way with Dubrovnik. I guess thatís why heís a saint.

MARTIN

Copyright 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.