On our walking tour of Dubrovnik, we were shepherded through the city by a delightful guide named Paula who told us the Croatian dialect spoken in Dubrovnik is unique. We learned the city of Dubrovnik banned slavery some 600 years ago and that there are no homeless people or beggars in the city because the government and the church provide them with housing and the assistance they need. Very progressive! There is a limited police presence in Dubrovnik because there is virtually no crime. It is one of the safest cities in the world. We saw a walled fortress that was featured on the television series Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik was the site of a great deal of filming for the show and Game of Thrones fans flock to the city. We entered the Old Town section of Dubrovnik where no cars are allowed. and learned the cistern in the square first built in 1311 still provides clear clean drinking water to folks
The cistern is a traditional meeting place for the residents of Dubrovnik.
We heard a fascinating tale from Paula about a Dubrovnik fortress which was built in the 13th century. Every time a man, woman, or child entered the city they were required to carry in with them one stone from nearby quarries to be used in the construction of the fortress. Men had to carry big stones, women medium-sized stones and children small stones. We went to an open-air market where Paula treated us to some local sweets. We tried candied orange peels, chocolate almonds, and sundried figs. Wonderful!
He’s the saint of throats! The patron saint of Dubrovnik is Saint Blaise. He is famous for saving a child who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. There’s a church dedicated to St. Blaise and the Dubrovnik faithful go there every year on February 3rd for the blessing of the throats. Paula our guide learned her lesson one year when she didn’t go for a throat blessing and was plagued with colds and coughs and laryngitis many times during the next twelve months, not great for a person who is a tour guide. She hasn’t missed a blessing service since.
Paula said St. Blaise Day is a more important holiday than Christmas in Dubrovnik. People dress up in finery and families have big meals together.
We looked at a map that showed the places in Dubrovnik that were hit during the Serbian bombings in 1991. Our guide Paula’s father was part of the 163rd Infantry that defended Dubrovnik from the Yugoslav People’s Army in December of 1991. Her parents’ house was destroyed during the bombing of Dubrovnik. Paula, who was four years old at the time remembers food packages arriving from other countries. She told us about the ‘lost generation’- young people who couldn’t go to school during the war and couldn’t get jobs after the war was over.
These earrings are traditional Croatian jewelry. The smallest ones are for young girls, the middle-sized ones for married or engaged women and the largest for widows.
It was interesting and fun to explore the streets of Dubrovnik with Paula. She taught us lots of neat things about the city and its history.