DUBROVNIK TOWN WALLS (GRADSKE ZIDINE)..... Hands down, no competition, no debate and no question about it, this was the most impressive site in a very beautiful city. The walls have been around about as long as the city. However, it grew and nearby fortifications were built as the needs of the city changed. In the 1460ís the Ottoman empire threatened Dubrovnik. A decree went out that everyone visiting the city needed to bring a rock that could be used for the walls. Apparently, theyíve had tourists for quite some time. The wall stretched for over a mile (really two kilometers) and in some parts were almost six meters thick. x

The walls protected the city in the 1600ís and again in their most recent war in 1991 when Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia. On the morning of October 1, 1991, citizens of Dubrovnik woke to see warships on their horizon. At first the Yugoslav army, Serbs and Montenegrins attacked only strategic military sites but eventually they turned their sites -- and their bombs -- on the Old Town. Dubrovnik was not prepared for war and the attacking forces didnít think they would put up a fight. But, residents of Dubrovnik fought for their lives and their city. For eight months, the city was under siege until finally liberated by the Croatian army.

Itís one thing to read the history, but entirely another experience to see the results. Upon entering Old Town on either side were maps showing the damage done during the war. But, they were just maps. Over 70% of the rooftops in Old Town were destroyed in the bombing. (And, of course, the damage didn't stop once the roof was destroyed.) The old weathered tiles have been replaced by new orange tiles of the twentieth century. Walking the walls and looking over a sea of new orange tiles really showed the destruction of that war.


Copyright 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.