Having visited Dubrovnik, the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Those who search for paradise on earth should come and see Dubrovnik”.
Unique for its impressive medieval forts, churches, monuments and palaces, Dubrovnik is often called the pearl of the Adriatic.
More than a thousand-year old history of Dubrovnik made it a cultural centre of Europe. Initially a small community, the city flourished in no time and became the seat of the independent Dubrovnik Republic. The Republic mastered the art of seafaring and created a fleet on the South Adriatic which could be compared to the one owned by Venice in the north. History is present in the entire city, which is both a museum and a picturesque stage where cultural heritage and contemporary life meet. All houses and monuments have a unique value. The Old City is encompassed by medieval walls, which have been preserved in their original form and opened for visitors as Dubrovnik’s major attraction. In 1979 the City was included in UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
When you find yourselves in Dubrovnik and promenade along its narrow streets and squares you will come across a large number of sights. To make a shortlist of many different places worth seeing is a real challenge. The Franciscan Monastery Museum houses the inventory of Europe’s third oldest pharmacy (1373). In the Cathedral treasury the meticulously manufactured objects from the 11th to 19th centuries are kept, while the Dominican Monastery Museum houses the works by the 15th and 16th century masters of the Dubrovnik School of painting. A collection of objects of art, furniture, porcelain and inventory of the Domus Christi pharmacy are exhibited at the Rector’s Palace, while at the Maritime Museum you can see the history of the Dubrovnik seafaring tradition. In addition to the major cultural institution in the city, the Dubrovnik Art Gallery, which has outstandingly rich holdings and organises prestigious visual art events, you will discover numerous private galleries which stage exhibitions of national and international painters on a regular basis.
Numerous libraries guard the literary treasure which testifies to the rich history of the one time republic. The Franciscan Monastery Library contains more than seventy thousand books and hundreds of manuscripts and incunabula, while the Scientific Library has one hundred thousand books including those printed before 1500. The documents from the time of the rise and fall of the Dubrovnik Republic are kept at the State Archives.
During one of the oldest and most prestigious events, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the city palaces, churches and squares turn into unique stages on which musical, theatrical and folklore programmes are presented in July and August.
The Julian Rachlin & Friends Chamber Music Festival takes place every September, while the events such as renaissance music and dance, medieval festivals and the Dalmatian vocal group concerts take place in the open-air venues of the city. May is reserved for the Libertas Film Festival, and October for the Early Music Festival. Traditional events include Christmas and New Year carols, carnivals, masked balls and the Festival of St Blaise (Dubrovnik patron saint) in February.
One of the main reasons for visiting Dubrovnik is definitely its warm, mild and dry Mediterranean climate. The average annual temperature is 18 degrees Celsius. Dubrovnik has around 260 sunny days per year, and the days without sun are uncommon indeed. With temperatures never falling below zero, snow is exceptionally rare. The rainy period comes in winter. Dubrovnik is protected from the warm and moist south easterly wind by the Island of Lokrum, and from the cold north wind by Mount Srđ. In summer the city is refreshed by the gentle north westerly breeze. Such climate is convenient for the varied and luxurious subtropical flora. Roses, mimosas and violets blossom in the middle of winter, and irises, narcissuses and geraniums in early spring. The air is saturated with fragrance of aromatic herbs, and the Elafite Islands and coast are covered by Mediterranean evergreen plants, pine trees, cypresses, vineyards olive groves and orchards.
Dubrovnik is a place of gastronomic delight, and its life in the open air and Mediterranean style are completed with rich and varied culinary choice – the recipes from the past when time was going by more slowly. Oysters (ostrea edulis) are cultivated in a natural way, and the taste of the sea and sea delicacies has not changed for centuries.
Dubrovnik as an excellent choice for those searching for challenge and active holiday. Entertainment, recreation and sports are available all the year round. Enjoy a jeep safari, horseback riding, canoe safari, kayaking, sailing to the Elafite Islands and a visit to the national park on the Island of Mljet. Do not miss the Island of Lokrum, located about 700 metres away from Dubrovnik, also called the island of love. Discover the remains of the 12th century Benedictine Monastery and a walking path to Fort Royal, enjoy a promenade surrounded by peacocks, or sunbathe on the nudist beach.