Saturday, 10 October 2009

Piracy and Death in Dubrovnik

I have just returned from working in the fortified city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

It is believed that the trading republic sprang from the remains of the roman city of Epidaurum, in the 7th century.

Although now very much a part of Croatia, the ex-Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik has an air of independence about it.  

Originally known as Ragusa, it became a independent trading centre, heavily dependent on ships. 

At one point, it had 4000 sailors living there and laws were passed to stop them sailing away on foreign ships.

Today, Dubrovnik is a tourist haven and a centre for visiting cruise ships.

The ships anchor off and the passengers come ashore in launches, as can be seen here, just in front of the fortress of St.John.

I first went to Southern Croatia in the mid 1990's and the famous and much photographed walls of the city were pock-marked from bullets and shrapnel from the war with Bosnia.

Now, the damage is repaired, the sun shines and the tourists come again in floods.

Dubrovnik is watched over by its patron saint, St.Vlaho, who is to Dubrovnik, what St.Mark is to Venice.

A Jadrolinija ferry at Dubrovnik port on the Lapad peninsula, seen here under attack from a pirate vessel.

Still fishing in the same way as they have for centuries.

This is the mysterious island of Lokrum, just offshore of Dubrovnik.

The locals say that if you spend the night on the island, you will be cursed and die - nice..


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