Diocletian’s Palace & coastal town.
Old city built on Maritime trade.
The morning routine was pretty much the same – breakfast at the cafe next to the apartment, get ready and we were out for the last leg of our trip to Dubrovnik.
Walking to Autobusni Kolodvor (Bus station) was a 10 minute walk from the apartment. The bus station and ferry dock are right next to each other on the other side of the Riva. Having reached there by 9:30am, we took the 10:00am bus (HRK 120 plus HRK 7 baggage fees; 4.5 hours)
The bus ride from Split to Dubrovnik is on highway 8 all the time and is spectacular all the way. The bus passes through a lot of small towns and the one that is really picturesque is Omiš. Just passing through the town makes you want to stop there and take a lot of pictures, so make sure to keep your camera ready! Although the bus does not stop at Omiš, you can still take some clicks on your way.
Xinjiang Tianshan (China)
Part of the Tianshan mountain system of Central Asia -- one of the largest mountain ranges in the world -- Xinjiang Tianshan is famous for its wide-ranging features, including snow-capped peaks, forests, rivers and red bed canyons. "These landscapes contrast with the vast adjacent desert landscapes, creating a striking visual contrast between hot and cold environments, dry and wet, desolate and luxuriant," says UNESCO's site inscription.
Mount Etna (Italy)
One of two Italy sites inscribed by the committee, this new World Heritage site is made up of 19,237 uninhabited hectares on the highest part of Mount Etna, on the eastern coast of Sicily. Mount Etna is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world, with an eruptive history that can be traced back 500,000 years.
El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)
There are two parts to this 714,566-hectare World Heritage Site: the dormant volcanic Pinacate Shield of black and red lava flows and desert pavements to the east, and, in the west, the Gran Altar Desert with its varied sand dunes that can reach heights of 200 meters.
"Ten enormous, deep and almost perfectly circular craters believed to have been formed by a combination of eruptions and collapses, and also contribute to the dramatic beauty of the site whose exceptional combination of features are of great scientific interest," says UNESCO's inscription.
Namib Sand Sea (Namibia)
The Namib Sand Sea is the world's only coastal desert to feature extensive dune fields influenced by fog. What's also notable is that materials from thousands of kilometers away formed these dunes, carried in by river, ocean currents and wind. These include gravel plains, coastal flats, rocky hills, a coastal lagoon and ephemeral rivers.
Tajik National Park (Tajikistan)
Tajik National Park covers more than 2.5 million hectares in eastern Tajikistan at the center of the so-called "Pamir Knot" --- a meeting point of the highest mountain ranges on the Eurasian continent. "Subject to frequent strong earthquakes, the park is virtually unaffected by agriculture and permanent human settlements," says UNESCO's inscription. "It offers a unique opportunity for the study of plate tectonics and subduction phenomena."
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station (Canada)
Red Bay was established by 16th century Basque mariners on Canada's north-eastern tip of Canada on the shore of the Strait of Belle Isle. UNESCO gives this one a nod for its archaeological significance as the earliest, most complete and best-preserved example of the European whaling tradition. "Gran Baya, as it was called by those who founded the station in 1530s, was used as a base for coastal hunting, butchering, rendering of whale fat by heading to produce oil and storage," says the inscription.
Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces (China)
A 16,603-hectare site in Southern Yunnan, the Honghe Hani rice terraces stretch from the slopes of the Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Hong River. "Over the past 1,300 years, the Hani people have developed a complex system of channels to bring water from the forested mountaintops to the terraces," says UNESCO's Honghe Hani inscription.
Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong (North Korea)
The historic sites of Kaesong city, in southern North Korea, include 12 separate components that highlight the history and culture of the Koryo Dynasty from the 10th to 14th centuries. "The geomantic layout of the former capital city of Kaesong, its palaces, institutions and tomb complex, defensive walls and gates embody the political, cultural, philosophical and spiritual values of a crucial era in the region's history," says UNESCO's inscription.
Levuka Historical Port Town (Fiji)
Levuka's historic port was Fiji's first colonial capital -- it was ceded to the British in 1874. The atmospheric town is set among coconut and mango trees along the beach. "It is a rare example of a late colonial port town that was influenced in its development by the indigenous community which continued to outnumber the European settlers," says UNESCO's inscription.
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (Germany)
Watched over by a giant Hercules statue, the monumental water displays of Wilhelmshöhe were initiated by Landgrave Carl of Hesse-Kassel in 1689 and further developed into the 19th century. This new UNESCO-listed site is made up of a complex system of reservoirs and channels that supply water to the site's large Baroque water theater, with its hydro-pneumatic devices, grotto, fountains and 350-metre long Grand Cascade.
Hill Forts of Rajashtan (India)
Six grand forts of India's Rajastahan state make up this new UNESCO World Heritage Site. "The eclectic architecture of the forts, some up to 20 kilometers in circumference, bears testimony to the power of the Rajput princely states that flourished in the region from the 8th to the 18th centuries," says the committee's inscription. Enclosed within defensive walls are major urban centers, palaces, trading centers and temples.
Golestan Palace (Iran)
Iran's Golestan Palace is a masterpiece of the Qajar era, embodying the successful integration of earlier Persian crafts and architecture with Western influences, says UNESCO's inscription. The walled Palace is one of the oldest groups of buildings in Tehran. It became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Teheran the capital of the country.
Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany (Italy)
Built between the 15th and 17th centuries, the 12 villas and two gardens that make up Tuscany's Medici Villas and Gardens highlight an innovative system of rural construction in harmony with nature and dedicated to leisure, the arts and knowledge, says UNESCO.
Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration (Japan)
Better known by its unofficial name, Mount Fuji, this solitary stratovolcano has appeared in thousands of poems, paintings and photographs. It's this contribution to the arts that has given Fujisan a place on the World Heritage list. On the upper 1,500-meter tier of the 3,776 meter-high mountain, pilgrimage routes and crater shrines have been inscribed alongside sites around the base of the mountain including Sengen-jinja shrines, Oshi lodging houses and natural volcanic features such as lava tree molds, lakes, springs and waterfalls, which are revered as sacred.
Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine (Poland / Ukraine)
This transnational property on the fringe of Eastern Europe includes a selection of 16 tserkvas -- churches that were made with wooden logs between the 16th and 19th centuries by communities of the Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths. "The tserkvas bear testimony to a distinct building tradition rooted in Orthodox ecclesiastic design, interwoven with elements of local tradition, and symbolic references to their communities' cosmogony," says UNESCO's inscription.
University of Coimbra -- Alta and Sofia (Portugal)
The historic University of Coimbra has evolved over more than seven centuries. Among many notable university buildings are the 12th-century Cathedral of Santa Cruz and a number of 16th-century colleges, the Royal Palace of Alcáçova and University Press, as well as the large "University City" created during the 1940s.
Al Zubarah Archaeological Site (Qatar)
Qatar's first UNESCO-listed site, the walled coastal town of Al Zubarah sits on the Arabian Gulf. It was developed from around the 9th century and thrived as a pearling and trading center in the late 18th century and early 19th centuries, before it was destroyed in 1811 and abandoned in the early 1900s. Founded by merchants from Kuwait, Al Zubarah had trading links with the Indian Ocean, Arabia and Western Asia.
Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora (Ukraine)
This newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage site features the remains of a city founded by Dorian Greeks in the 5th century BC on the northern shores of the Black Sea. It's made up of several public building complexes and residential neighborhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls.
The first thing one would notice upon reaching outside the Pile Gate is hoards of tourists. Dubrovnik is one of the main travel destination for Europeans, especially Italians, Germans and British. The Pile gate lies on the northwest end of the Dubrovnik Old Town and is the main entry point for all tourists who arrive by ferries or buses. This is one of the three gates to enter the Old Town – Pile Gate, Ploče Gate and Buža Gate.
Entering the Pile Gate will directly lead you to the main street of Old Town – Stradun. We wanted to check-in to our apartment to with the help of iPhone Maps we headed to Zakom 3. Meddling our way away from Stradun in to the cobbled and narrow streets of Dubrovnik Old Tow, lined up with cafe’s and restaurants, we reached to our apartment where we were received by Viktor. The beautiful apartment was on the second floor with a window looking over the Zakom street.
Seafood platter at Lokanda Peskarija
We finished our hearty lunch at around 3:30pm and were back in the Old Town. It being Friday afternoon, more tourists were being off-loaded in the city. We walked on the Stradun experiencing this magnificently restored Old Town, which was destroyed after the 1991-92 war.
First stop – the Bell Tower at the southeast end of Stradun, next to Ploče Gate. On top of the tower are the famous ‘Zelenci’ (The Green Ones), bronze statues which strike the gigantic bell every hour. They have been recently replaced with copies and the originals are in the atrium of the Sponza Palace. This tower also displays the time (in intervals of 5 minutes) with the hour in Roman numerals and minutes in numerics.
Bell Tower, Dubrovnik
Display of time in Bell Tower, Dubrovnik
Next on the list was Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Mon-Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 11am-5:30pm). Supposedly, the original church was built with money donated by Richard the Lionhearted who survived shipwreck on his way home from the Third Crusade. The current Roman Baroque cathedral dates from the 18th Century.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Right across the Bell Tower is the Church of St. Blaise, which is built on the plan of a Greek cross and topped with a grand dome. Its wide staircase is a popular place for weary tourists to take a load off and people-watch for awhile.
Church of St. Blaise
Inside the church are numerous art treasures saved from the earlier church, including a gold-plated silver statue of St. Blaise, holding a 15th-century model of the city, on the main altar.
In front of the Church is Roland’s Column, (actually in front of the Bell Tower). A slender stone flag staff of the legendary knight. Also known as Orlando’s Column. Ever since its foundation in 1950, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is officially opened by raising a flag carrying the city’s motto Libertus on Orlando’s staff.
Roland's Column, Dubrovnik
Moving to the other end of Stradun, we stop at the Big Onofrio’s Fountain right inside the Pile Gate. Behind the Big Onofrio’s Fountain is the Tourist Information office (TI). This is the main meeting place for locals and tourists. It’s 16 sided water spouts get water from 20 kilometers away.
Big Onofrio's Fountain, Dubrovnik
Right next to the fountain, on the walls of Franciscan Monastery is a single lion-head with a flat head. This is a strange gargoyle head protruding from a stone wall. It’s on the left side, just next to the entrance to the Franciscan monastery and the stairway that leads up onto the city’s famous walls. The head stands some half a meter above the ground, sticking out barely fifteen centimeters. Its top surface is polished like marble. The wall above it is noticeably greasy from the touch of a thousand hands. The head was supposed to represent an owl. It was once the end of a pipe that drained rainwater from the top of the building. The pipes were rerouted a long time ago, and water doesn’t flow from its mouth anymore. Legend has it that if you manage to hop onto the head, keep your balance, and take off your shirt while still standing facing the wall, luck in love will follow you.
Dubrovnik Owl Head
A quick walk out of the Pile Gate and back, it was almost time for sunset and and the best views of the sunset can be seen at Cafe Buža, which is located outside the walls overlooking the Adriatic Sea. To reach the cafe, head over to the Gundulić Square.
This is where one finds the morning open market. From the Square, climb the steps up to the Jesuit Church and the historic Collegium Ragusinum. At the top, you will be in an open space called Bošković Square. With the stairs at your back, turn left and cross the square to the Wall, on which you will find a wooden sign with an arrow that directs you to the right, along the Wall, toward Buža.
Stairs up to Jesuit Church
Signboard to Cafe Buža
The huge square up the stairs has the Church of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit College. Ornate Jesuit church, approached via a romantic baroque staircase modelled on the Spanish Steps in Rome (1738). Built between 1667 and 1725 by architect Ignazzio Pozzo, and like most Jesuit churches of the period was modeled on the Gesù in Rome, the mother church of the Jesuits. Mass held in English daily at noon in the summer.
Church of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit College
Along the short walk that remains, you will encounter a small, make-shift football (soccer) pitch on which the neighborhood boys have their pick-up games. The Wall will be on the left and a small chapel will be on the right. As you might imagine, the young players are very accustomed to visitors regularly crossing the pitch; simply continue to walk up the street past the small chapel. A short walk further and, on the left, you will find a buža (hole) in the wall through which, depending on the time of day, the sun may penetrate.
After a few drinks and a laid back evening, we headed back to the Stradun, strolling through the narrow streets of Old Town Dubrovnik. A few hours experiencing the lit streets, we headed to the apartment looking forward to the walk on the walls, an island hop and some Tiramisu.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = HRK 5 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
||HRK 80 or $16
||For 2 persons
|Bus from Split to Dubrovnik
||HRK 120 + HRK 7 baggage fees or $25
||€120 or $175
||For 2 nights
|Lunch at Lokanda Peskarija
||HRK 160 or $31
||For 2 persons
|Drinks at Cafe Buža
||HRK 64 or $13
||For 2 persons (beer and wine)
Diocletian’s Palace & coastal town.
Old city built on Maritime trade.