Saturday, October 03, 2015

Saturday scenes and scenery: Dubrovnik, Croatia

This medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Dubrovnik was the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, an eastern Mediterranean trading power of the day.

A small boat harbor still thrives.

This magnificent main street fills to overflowing as buses arrive during the day. Cars cannot enter the old city. I stayed within the walls, so got a chance to wander before the throngs arrived.

Residents and tourists alike need their hiking shoes to get around the old streets.

These are worth exploring, revealing curiosities. I think she long pre-dates the restaurant; and you sure wouldn't want to traverse these high streets in a storm! Click to enlarge.

From the city walls, it is possible to glimpse kitchen gardens between the stone buildings.

Today Dubrovnik is perfectly organized to intrigue, thrill, and milk stray dollars from tourists. Good for the Croatians for getting value from their asset.

But just 24 years ago, as the city guides who lead tours explain to all who will listen, this wonderfully preserved historic site was under siege during the wars that broke up the former Yugoslavia. This map is displayed at every entrance:
Fortunately, the Serb and Montenegrin attackers wanted to own it as much as to destroy it, but for six months they cut off water, power and supplies while lobbing shells at a population swollen with 30,000 refugees. UNESCO has invested millions of dollars in restoration and repair.

Even Elizabeth Blackwell's sympathetic volume, Realm of the Black Mountain: A History of Montenegro, describes siege with horror:

[In the fall of 1991,] the Yugoslav Army attacked Dubrovnik from Montenegro. JNA soldiers, supported by Montenegrin irregulars, earned a name for lawlessness and rapacity, which prompted a torrent of international outrage and disapproval. Dubrovnik had no military strategic value and was barely defended by the Croats. Nor were there more than a few Serbs living there. Rather, the attack seemed to stem from pure vindictiveness or, according to some, from the Montenegrins' traditional appetite for plunder, and led to headlines in the Western press likening the Yugoslav army to barbarian hordes. Although Montenegro was officially detached from the war in Croatia and withdrew its reservists there in October 1991, Montenegrin soldiers from their positions on the hills about Dubrovnik destroyed hotels, yachts, and other signs of sophistication or civilization with a wantonness that caused more damage to Milosevic's interest and game plan than he could possibly anticipated.

... In the year 2000 [Montenegrin] President Djukanovic made an official apology to Croatia for Montenegro's part in the 1991 attack on the coastal area around Dubrovnik. Since then, two prominent Montenegrins have been sentenced by The Hague Tribunal for their part in the shelling of Dubrovnik -- Admiral Miodrag Jokic, who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in March 2004 and Lieutenant General Pavle Strugar, who was sentenced to eight years in January 2005.

There is plenty of residual bitterness here, just under the sunny surface. Dubrovnik plays host to a revolving museum of international war photography which felt very appropriately located.


Susan Leone Starr said...

wow, what a treat! and so educational as well as beautiful. THANKS!

Ruth Warner said...

Nice, thanks!

Ruth Warner said...

Nice, thanks!

Hattie said...

Well,it's pretty.

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