Four things only locals know about Dubrovnik
The network I generate while traveling the world is one of my most treasured souvenirs. The people you meet, the stories they share, help weave a global web of human experience. It isn’t everyday that you get to expand that web and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have done just that in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Thanks to a 65 Liter Life reader, I was able to meet and have coffee with a native of Dubrovnik, and oh the stories I learned! Here are four stories that only locals know about Dubrovnik. You won’t find these in any city guide out there. Here’s the local story.
Local Story #1 – Grumpy old men exist in every century
It appears that in every century, men are the same. They can get annoyed. Especially when children repeatedly kick a ball against the wall of his house. St. Rocco’s church has sat at the end of Zlataric Street since the early 1500s. If you walk past its southern wall you will find graffiti still visible today from the year 1597. PAX. VOBIS. MEMENTO MORI QVI. LVDETIS PILA. Latin for Peace to you, remember that you will die, you who play the ball.
The story goes that the priest of the church couldn’t handle the unruly boys behavior for another moment. Constantly having to listen to the boys’ ball hitting the side wall of his church prevented him from ever finding a moment of peace. The priest inscribed the warning to the boys to ensure that they remembered their mortality and I guess with the hope that they will move their soccer practice to another street.
Local Story #2 – Rumor has it the Turks decorated Dubrovnik
Ever the diplomats, the Dubrovnik council acted as peace makers between countries and held great influence because of their general neutrality. The green color that adorns every single door and window shutter in the city is known as Dalmatian Green. I would describe the color as two shades lighter than hunter green. Rumor has it that the turkish king was coming for a visit to Dubrovnik and this green color was the “king’s color.” In order to curry favor with the King and make a great impression, the city council ordered all of the doors and shutters painted green. It stuck.
Local story #3 – Paved streets are worth their weight in Laundry
The streets in Dubrovnik are beautifully paved. Every part of the city whether flat or terraced has been paved with great care. Obviously, it couldn’t have always been so. At some point, the city had to go through the process of replacing dirt floors with carved stone. The story goes that once the council decided to pave the city, they took a very logical approach to the execution. They did it one street at a time. Every inhabitant of a street would move out of their home for one year, the road would be paved during that time, and then the families would return to their upgraded living space. Who wouldn’t go through the hassle of moving the family for a year if it meant that you could walk outside and not instantly be covered in mud?
Local Story #4 – There is a limit to free time even for the nobles
It was common to walk the Stradun, the main road between the Pile and Ploce Gates, even back when Dubrovnik still had nobility living within its walls. However, the nobles were constricted to the number of times they could leisurely walk back and forth on main street. If a noble walked the length more than three times within a day, he was thought to not have enough business or social engagements to keep him occupied. How dare that noble waste his time in such a way, and with all of those commoners too!
Don’t forget to check out the 6 & 3 Dubrovnik post. It shows you six cool things about Dubrovnik and the three not so cool things. Headed away from the coast? You need to check out Zagreb before you leave Croatia.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase something through one of the links, I will get a small commission. Bonus it's at no greater cost to you! Thanks!