Croatia…land of stunning coastlines, pebble beaches, warm weather and seafood on every corner. To view Dubrovnik with it’s fabulous vistas is a do not miss location should you go to the Dalmatian Coast.
However be warned; if caught in one of the massive tour groups pouring into Dubrovnik from the cruise ships and bus tours that arrive daily, one can be swept away as though lifted up in a mosh pit at a rock concert.
The famous postcard view of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, with it’s orange rooftops is often what the masses are after.
Invasion of tourists into the Old Town of Dubrovnik
For the past thousand years, the area now known as Croatia, has passed hands in dizzying exchanges. Hungarians, Venetians, Ottomans, Habsburgs and of course the Yugoslavs. On the day Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslav rule in 1991, so too did Croatia. The violence that would ensue for years here would leave scars on the country and it’s people.
Side street in Old Town Dubrovnik
During our visit to Dubrovnik, Dave and I found refuge from the crowds one afternoon in a small purse shop (how convenient for me). The young man, who spoke four languages fluently, told us of the day the Yugoslav army began bombing Dubrovnik.
At seven years old, he would have been the same age as our own son. He told of that fateful morning in October when the houses on either side of his family’s home were bombed and burned to the ground.
“We only got three grenades….we were so lucky,” the young man shared. He and his sister were sent to live with their Uncle in the capital city Zagreb where they would be safe. His older brother became a defender of Dubrovnik against the Yugoslav People’s Army and was stationed at the top of Mount Srd 412 meters above the walled city of Dubrovnik.
We were mesmerized and frankly horrified with his account of the events.
View of Old Town Dubrovnik through the City Wall
During the attacks of 1991-92 the cable car running to the summit of Mount Srd was bombed as was the cross and communications tower near by. In 2010, with the area cleared of landmines, the new Mount Srd cable car opened as well as the Croatian War of Independence Museum.
New cross over Dubrovnik
New Mont Srd cable car
The view from the top of the cable car look out is spectacular. Most who visit believe this is the best of view of Dubrovnik. The jostling for position along railings begins with throngs of tourists bursting out of the cable cars and vying for the best vantage point to capture the orange rooftops for that ‘photo of a lifetime’ opportunity.
We discovered a better view of Dubrovnik purely by inquisitive nature. This curiosity either gets one arrested or one finds the most amazing surprises.
To get to the best view in Dubrovnik
Leave the cable car area and enter the Museum of Croatian War of Independence. With raw video footage, photographs, and a sampling of the WW II weapons used by the defenders of Dubrovnik, the Museum of Croatian War of Independence presents a sobering, presentation of the events.
During our visit sadly so very few cable car patrons made the walk over to the building and many that did grumbled at the entrance fee.
Once inside the museum, go to the second floor. Look for a set of stairs that initially appear to lead nowhere. Follow the steps upward along bullet ridden stone walls to a double wooden door.
Step through the wooden door to the top of Fort Imperial built in the early 1800’s during the Napoleonic War.
There we stood alone in silence taking in the best view Dubrovnik offers. In the peace we reflected on all the lives sacrificed in defense of the pearl of the Adriatic below.
Looking down at beautiful Dubrovnik from the bomb blasted old Napoleonic fort that served to house the Defenders of Dubrovnik high above the Old Town on Mount Srd in the 1991-92 attack. Note the door we came through to the rooftop.
Special tips for finding the best view Dubrovnik
Obey all signs advising not to wander into restricted areas. This area was once heavily land mined. Arrive to the cable car at opening time to avoid long lines both going up and coming down.