Discover Dubrovnik's heritage on a sailing break

Thursday, 29 March 2012 12:17 PM

There are many destinations you can base yourself in for a sailing holiday in Croatia, but perhaps one of the best is Dubrovnik. This beautiful city's fascinating past and wealth of historical attractions make it somewhere you must explore before casting off.

So, what are some of the top sights to see while visiting Dubrovnik? Here are just a few we think you shouldn't miss.

City walls

It is almost impossible not to see the city walls while you're exploring Dubrovnik - after all, they stretch for nearly 2,000 m and encircle the old town area. This structure is far more than just a wall, though, as it is made up of several fortresses that served to protect the settlement in years gone by.

Among of the reasons why the defences are so important is that they are so well preserved and because they were impenetrable during the Middle Ages. They are generally considered to be one of the finest examples of a fortification system dating from this era, so it is little surprise the barriers, as well as the entire old town of Dubrovnik, are protected by UNESCO.

Walking along the ramparts is a fantastic way to spend a few hours, allowing you look out across the sea and plan where you will be heading to on your yacht charter in Croatia.

Sponza Palace

This is one of the most ornate and beautiful buildings in Dubrovnik's old town, with much of the carving and stonework carried out by sculptors from the nearby island of Korcula - just one of the many places you can visit when you set off on your bareboat charter from the city. Construction on the palace started in the early 16th century and, since its completion, it has served a number of roles within the city.

Originally, it was intended to be used as a custom house, but it also served as the location for the mint and was where the settlement's first school was set up. Now, it houses the Dubrovnik archive - an astounding collection of manuscripts and books recording various aspects of the city's history, including official documents, lists of the ships that docked at the port and details about the cargo traded here.

The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary

This is probably the most impressive religious structure in Dubrovnik, with its distinctive dome towering above the buildings surrounding it. This stunning cathedral was constructed in the late 17th century following an earthquake that destroyed many of the city's most prominent landmarks. Italian architect Andrea Buffalini was responsible for creating the beautiful place of worship that stands here today.

It is well worth venturing inside the cathedral to see its ornate Baroque altars and selection of valuable paintings. Among the pieces on show in the church are the Madonna del Seggiola by Raffaello and the Assumption of Mary by Tiziano - also called Titian - which hangs above the main altar.

Minceta Fortress

The round tower of the Minceta Fortress is one of the most recognisable landmarks on Dubrovnik's defensive walls. It is the highest point along the ramparts, making it an ideal viewpoint from which to observe the city and port below. The fort has been adapted over the years and was originally much smaller than it is now. In the 15th century, Renaissance architect Michelozzo Michelozzi from Florence worked alongside Juraj Dalmantinac - a native Croatian - to create the structure you can see today.

Dominican Monastery

There are several monasteries in Dubrovnik, but if you are only going to visit one, make it the Dominican Monastery. In addition to the eclectic architectural styles you can see on the building itself, when you step inside you will be able to view a host of works by local Croatian artists and more famous masters alike. Many of the paintings on display in the monastery are incredibly valuable, with some of the best known pieces including the Crucifix by Veneziano and St Magdalene, which was created by Tiziano in the 16th century.

Among the Croatian artists whose works are on display in the complex are Lovro Dobricevic, Mihajl Hamzic, Nikola Bozidarevic and Vlaho Bukovac. Don't miss out on its museum collection of fascinating artefacts and manuscripts, some of which feature very ornate and beautiful lettering.

With so many wonderful places to visit, it would be easy to spend an entire holiday in Dubrovnik alone. If you book learn to sail holidays based in the city, you will have ample opportunity to explore its numerous and varied attractions. This will enable you to combine the best of both worlds - being able to spend days out on the water, visiting some of the nearby islands, and enjoying plenty of free time to discover the delights of the city itself.

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