DUBROVNIK’S MASONRY, SHATTERED BY MORTAR SHELLS DURING THE NINETIES, IS MOSTLY REBUILT AND ITS DEFENSIVE WALLS STAND STRONG AGAINST THE TEST OF TIME… AND THE PATTER OF TOURISTS’ FEET.
Perched high enough on Dubrovnik’s medieval walls, and at just the right angle, the roofs of the tightly packed town houses below overlapped to form a clementine canopy across the whole city.
Taking a photograph of the scene was a given. At least when the excited Korean tour guide striking Vogue-poses against a backdrop of still, blue Adriatic Sea finally gave over.
He was just one of hundreds of visitors who circumnavigate Dubrovnik’s city walls every day, from dawn to dusk. They take sets of stone steps from three separate ticket offices, up to the parapet where an anti-clockwise wander around the most resilient city walls in Europe begins.
Built to defend its population against marauding Saracens, Dubrovnik’s fat, two-kilometre long walls hug the tangle of bright limestone buildings that make up the Old Town. The buildings’ characteristic terracotta roofs are its urban suit of armour, shielding sliver-thin streets from nothing more ominous than the scorching midday sun.
Dubrovnik’s famous walls are rarely empty, but the quietest and coolest time to visit them is early morning. Wait until midday and the Croatian sunshine can turn this breathtaking experience into a sweaty repeat of Icarus’ Folly.
Take your own water and take as many photographs as your memory card can muster. A different face of the city slips into view with every step you take, turret you climb and corner you turn.