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There are places in this world that make you believe in the fairy tales. Most of the fairy tales are talking about eternal fight between Good and Evil. One of these stories begins in many, many years ago in the country now proudly called Croatia…

It was winter 1995, and wind was so hard that you even cannot hear yourself…and it was cold…so cold that your bones could feel it. I was walking down the greatest street ever – Stradun in Dubrovnik. Except the wind, everything else was so quiet. And it looked even little spooky. No people, no crowds…what happened to My Town???
Evil was just across the border…looking on eternal beauty from the hills, from the sea, from the sky… And town was standing alone, hurt, sad, feeling that injustice is going to win the game… Few years after, it was summer time; I was at the same place – Stradun in Dubrovnik. But…it was different…people everywhere, laughter, sunshine and brightness…what happened???

Dubrovnik has it. Just walking through the walls and seeing gorgeous surroundings makes you feel like in another world. You immediately go back as time-traveller to renaissance and baroque period when Dubrovnik was the only independent, powerful state in this part of Europe. Its inhabitants were divided into so-called three classes. First was high aristocracy, second merchants (who were very rich because they had deals with Venice and Turkish Empire) and the third were just common people. In that time (and you can still feel that with every step) Dubrovnik was very active cultural and science area…the renaissance comedy and culture were transmitted from Italy. The Latin, Italian and Croatian were used within documents and books.

Special story is connected with Dubrovnik version of Croatian language. As literature in Dubrovnik was very well developed and expressed through the works of comedy and tragedy writers and poets the decision to take štokavian* dialect as standard had its basis in dialect spoken in Dubrovnik and its importance for original Croatian literature.

All Croatian culture is in some way settled here, inside the eternal walls of My Town. Walking through the walls makes you feel powerful, makes you feel different, makes you feel happy. So many entrances, doors, corridors…it looks like you are in some video-game trying to solve eternal mystery.

Of all the Forts in Dubrovnik I like Lovrjenac the most. It is the biggest and the greatest. It lies separated from the walls like a Queen of the Sea. More than 200 stairs lead you to the perfect view of Town itself and the beautiful Adriatic. Being alone on the top you can feel the wind, smell of the salt and history mixed in the walls of old Fort. All Dubrovnik's Hamlets were played here. "To be or not to be" on the edge walls, very high in the sky…Shakespearean atmosphere in the air and in your blood. I could almost hear Ofelia and Hamlet and I was almost sure that I saw The Ghost! Trying to reach the highest top of the Fort I had to find the right corridor feeling like explorer. Taking photos was adventure too. How to make a perfect photo of the Town drowned in the sea? How to include all the beauty that makes you feel you're in Heaven?
Walking down the stairs you are back to Town. Don't miss churches and convicts, museums and galleries…
don't miss the history of Dubrovnik, you'll miss the future!

I was sad looking Dubrovnik empty and hurt. All the monuments and historical buildings were protected with wood and you could not see them…I went to see what happened with Dzivo Gunulić** on his little square…There was a bunch of wood, and I couldn't see him…I have just decided to go back when I suddenly heard "O lijepa, o draga, o slatka slobodo…"*** I'm not sure where did it come from, but I felt like he is speaking behind that wood coverage…and I felt that everything will be OK. It must. Freedom was and is motive on which Dubrovnik lives for centuries. It will survive…

And it is…My Town survived. Still gorgeous, still marvellous, still like in a fairy tale where Good at the end wins over the Evil.

Good won over the Evil…
Beauty won over the Disaster.
Dubrovnik won over the Vandalism.

Written by Ivana (
summer 2001.

* štokavian dialect –standard dialect of Croatian language (the two other dialects of Croatian are čakavian and kajkavian)
** Ivan (Dzivo) Gundulic, Croatian baroque poet, the author of famous epic Osman and melodrama Dubravka
*** The initial words of Dubrovnik hymn about Freedom, written by Dzivo Gundulic as part of Dubravka meaning "Oh beautiful, oh dear, oh sweet Freedom…"