PUBLISHED July 14th, 2016 07:00 am | UPDATED October 26th, 2017 11:11 am
Far south of Croatia on the beautiful Dalmatian coast lies the majestic city of Dubrovnik. On every side of the historic center are well-preserved city walls that have been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979.
During the Middle Ages, Dubrovnik was actually a city-state and the main rival to Venice. The Croatian city progressed very quickly during this period and became an important center of development for the national language and culture.
The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is a favourite destination for many sailors due to its crystal clear waters and views of the stone city. Dubrovnik practically lives off tourism and cultural events, preparing very interesting happenings for visitors, so there’s loads to do. Here are five reasons to join the fray:
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
First held in 1956, Dubrovnik Summer Festival happens annually from early July to late August and is the oldest cultural festival in Croatia. Playing host to the world’s famous composers and orchestras, the city’s ancient walls and surroundings are the stage to events that criss cross the fields of theater, ballet, classic music and opera. Classic theater and ballet productions are held on the town streets and squares, making the Dubrovnik deeply immersed in the festival.
Don’t miss the Baroque walls that make the city so famous – 25 metres high and 6 metres wide, these walls offer a unique view of the Adriatic Sea and reveals hidden hideouts into the otherwise confusing network of streets.
The Dubrovnik Winter Festival
Starting in late November and ending in February each year, the Dubrovnik Winter Festival offers a wide range of cultural events such as exhibitions, performances, and a stunning and glorious display of lighting decorations. Dubrovnik may be a traditional summer destination, visiting the city during this off-season is just as rewarding with it’s many charms. Unique heritage venues such as the Peskarija, Stradun, Pile and Lazareti, will be enlivened by holiday illumination.
Go to the ice skating rink, amusement park or to the Christmas Tale show, all while warming yourselves up with mulled wine and piping hot doughnuts. Visit the theatre, a photography gallery, or a museum where you’ll be able to engage in exciting programmes.
Day of Dubrovnik
Meet Dubrovnik’s patron St. Blaise, an old man who carries the city on his palm and whose statues mark the Dubrovnik city walls and entrances. The festival has been celebrated since 1972, and for the 144th time, Dubrovnik will honour St. Blaise with a beautiful traditional ceremony. Traditionally, the celebration begins on Candlemas, on February 2nd, with the release of white doves (symbols of freedom and peace) in front of the saint’s church, as well as the raising of St Blaise’s flag on Orlando’s Column.
Besides the church ceremony, a series of events intended for residents and tourists is organised in Dubrovnik. Restaurants offer typical winter specialties; exhibitions and concerts are dedicated to St. Blaise; and a stroll along the walls reveals over a hundred stone appearances of the saint.
The Massive Good Friday Procession on Korcula
Dubrovnik is primarily a historic city and as such, most of its festivities are associated with traditional ceremonies. On the day of Good Friday (the date varies in connection to holiday of Easter), thousands of locals as well as local fraternities travel onto the island of Korcula, where they attend a solemn procession in honour of the suffering of Jesus Christ. A lot of tourists also participate in the procession and we suggest you do as well, for you’ll be fascinated by the devotion they evoke during the service. This procession is a great opportunity for tourists to learn not only about the local customs of Dubrovnik, but also to participate for yourself.
Dubrovnik Baroque Festival
The Dubrovnik Baroque Festival is perhaps the best opportunity to see what Dubrovnik has to offer. Held in early September, visitors are able to observe the magic of Dubrovnik in all its glory at the coast, rated as one of the most beautiful in Europe. Furthermore during the 10 days, you’ll be able to get acquainted with the culture that Dubrovnik possesses.
There’ll be twelve concerts with a rich repertoire and lectures on baroque music, all in the name of promoting Croatia as a place with highly artistic offerings. At the same time, check out Korcula’s monumental churches (All Saints, St. Nicholas, St. Michael’s Cathedral and St. Mark) and the city’s unique architectural complex.
Top Image: Tambako The Jaguar