“When the war began,” K says, looking at the map and spreading her open hand across it, “my father told us we’d be safer within the city walls. It’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. No one would dare touch them.”
She looks down. “As you can see, there were many direct hits within the city center. The orange boxes are houses that were destroyed by the fires caused by the air raid.”
Our tour had been about history in Dubrovnik, and sadly, the Balkans conflict was a recent scar on a long, troubled past. The night before, we’d met Miran, a Mostar, Bosnia native whose life was turned upside down with the war: he spoke perfect andalú because he’d lived in Málaga as a young boy. Staring at a pristine city perched over the crystalline waters of the Adriatic, it seemed impossible that, not two decades ago, the beautifully preserved city of Dubrovnik had been under siege.
Once we’d visited the Old City, we found ourselves at the entrance to the city walls. Our attempt to go the day before had been thwarted by an early winter closing time, but we were determined not to let a near-perfect day slip away. K told us the 1240m of the city walls were perfect to visit at this time, thanks to less tourists and the cool ocean spray. The parallelogram of the stone fortifications, punctuated by a few, round fortresses and towers, would take us 45 minutes to walk.
She apparently hadn’t taken notice of my got-Camarón-glued-to-mah-face approach to her tour.
If you go: The City Walls are open daily, rain or shine. In the summer months, you’ll usually find them overcrowded, and the sun can get hot, so be sure to bring water and snacks if you’re prone to diziness. Regular admission is 80 kuna (just over 10€), whereas a student card will get you a hefty discount, paying only 30 kuna (4,50€). The attraction is open October thru April from 10am until 3pm, and in summer months from 8am until 7pm. Bring your camera!!
Have you ever been to Dubrovnik? Did you get a chance to walk the city walls?