ZigZagging Our Way Through Europe
We returned to Dubrovnik following our day trip to Perast and Kotor, Montenegro only to be met by a lively Croatian wedding celebration taking place in the Old Town just inside the Pele Gate (be sure to turn your volume up).
The celebration was taking place in front of the Church of the Holy Savior. Built between 1520 and 1528, the small votive Church continues to function as a place of worship.
Directly across from the Church and celebration, is the large 16-sided Onofrio’s Fountain.
Built by Onofrio de la Cava in 1443, the fountain supplies the town with water and even today, almost 580 years later, it serves as a popular drinking fountain. Not only is Dubrovnik’s water safe to drink, Croatia has the third largest source of water in Europe per capita and also one of the cleanest. It is not uncommon to see locals as well as tourist filling containers with the water from the city’s fountains.
Passing the wedding celebration, we continued to walk down the limestone paved Stradun, a 300m long pedestrian zone polished by use and one of the most photographed streets in the world.
Shops and restaurants maintaining the 17th century architecture and characteristics line either side of the Stradun. At the end of the Stradun is the Luža Square and Clock Tower. Originally built in 1444, the tower’s bell was added in 1506. Each hour, two bronze soldiers named Marco and Baro ring the tower’s bell with hammers.
Next to the Luža Square is the Gothic-Renaissance-Baroque style Rector’s Palace.
The 15th century administrative center of the Dubrovnik Republic, the palace was destroyed twice by gunpowder explosions (in 1435 and again in 1463) and once more sustained damage during the devastating earthquake of 1667, thus leading to the three different architectural styles.
Turning away from the palace, we find the imposing 17th century Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin (more commonly known as the Dubrovnik Cathedral). Built on the site of two previous cathedrals dating back to the 7th century, the cathedral served as the treasury and was one of the richest on the Adriatic coast.
We walk behind the Cathedral, past the Gundulićeva Poljana (Gundulić Square), that serves as an open-air produce market and arrive at the Jesuit Stairs, a magnificent set of Baroque stairs that remind us of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The staircase is a popular spot for socializing, especially in the evenings. It was also the scene for the infamous Season 5 “Walk of Shame” in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
The staircase leads us up to the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the 17th-century Jesuit College.
The church was completed in 1725 and decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St. Ignatius. Next to the church is the 17th century Jesuit College which today serves as the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, one of the city’s oldest educational institutions and operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is a city of stairs and if you have ever visited the city you know that means constantly climbing up steps. A popular attraction is walking the massive wall that surrounds the Old Town. Of course, that means walking up more steps –
Later in the evening, we returned to Gundulić Square for dinner. Restaurants are plentiful, including at the bottom of the Jesuit Stairs.
Situated directly on the staircase is Zox Box, a tiny take-out street food diner popular with locals and tourists. What is often overlooked, however, is the roof-top restaurant that sits atop the diner. We gain access only when the owner takes us through an unmarked doorway leading to a set of narrow steps up to the intimate roof-top that overlooks the Jesuit Steps and crowded street below.
The restaurant is so small, food has to be transported up to the rooftop by baskets attached to ropes and pulleys.
We chose the Wok of Shame (95Kn/€12) and Falafel Wrap (70Kn/€9). Not only was the rooftop a welcome relief from the crowded restaurants below, but the ambiance, food and service were exceptional.
Our day ended on a high note as we set out for our apartment, stopping for a gelato on the way. Another day in Dubrovnik has gone by too fast and we can’t wait for tomorrow to arrive to begin again.
Have you been to Dubrovnik? Tell us about it!
Follow Us As We Continue To ZigZag Our Way Through Europe –