St. Blaise's Procession through Dubrovnik Old City

Feel the soul of Dubrovnik on the Day of Saint Blaise

Christmas, Easter, New Year…yes they are all important and rightly have their place on the Dubrovnik calendar. However, there is one day in Dubrovnik that puts all these in the shadow, the Day of St. Blaise. To start to explain the significance of St. Blaise for Dubrovnik and its citizens would…well let’s just say that you could fill a novel. Here is a brief story on why the people of Dubrovnik love their patron saint. You will often hear that St. Blaise, or St. Vlaho as he is locally known, is known as the protector of Dubrovnik, there is a reason behind that.

Dubrovnik by night, st. Blaise church

St. Blaise church in Dubrovnik Old City

The year was 971 and Venetian war galleons had dropped anchor near Dubrovnik and requested to stock up their ships with water and supplies. It looked harmless but was the cover for a cunning plan to capture the city. The Venetians used the opportunity to spy on the city’s defences for an upcoming attack. This is where the hero of the story, St. Blaise, enters. Realising the Venetians plan St. Blaise warned the priests of St. Stephens Church who rang their bells to alert the city of the attack. The plan, almost a Trojan Horse style plan, had failed, Dubrovnik was a still a free independent state. Since that time the day of St. Blaise, the 3rd of February, has been marked in Dubrovnik, to remember the saint who saved the city.

St. Blaise procession takes place through streets of Dubrovnik Old City, Croatia

St. Blaise Feast

To be in Dubrovnik for the Day of St. Blaise is indeed an honour. It is a time that Dubrovnik and its citizens treasure traditions and join together in a spirit of celebration. Banners, flags, sacral decorations and costumes fill the Old City, Dubrovnik pulls out all the stops when the Day of St. Blaise come around. It is a time that you can feel the true soul of the city. Once you have experienced on the Day of St. Blaise you will never look at Dubrovnik with the same eyes ever again. Traditional meals are served and whole families make the pilgrimage to the Stradun in the heart of the Old City dressed in their “Sunday best,” this is a time to show respect to Dubrovnik’s protector.

Although it is not a national state holiday it certainly is a holiday in Dubrovnik, and rightly so. It is truly a privilege to be in Dubrovnik on the 3rd of February, away from the summer sunshine, and yet bathed in a warm glow.

 

St. Blaise church, Dubrovnik Old City

Stained glass windows on St. Blaise church (photo source Flickr

 

Dubrovnik sunrise

Make 2016 your year – write your Dubrovnik story

The new year is here, seems to come around at the same time every year. Dubrovnik is calm and peaceful at this time of the year. The harsh winter that has embraced most of the rest of Europe has avoided, once again, Dubrovnik. Winter time in Dubrovnik, if you can call this mild weather winter, is a time for reflection, a time for new beginnings. With the start of the new year comes optimism, we have 360 empty pages of our life in front of us. Fill them; fill every minute of every day. Travel as much as possible, make memories, meet new people and dive into new experiences.

So what can we expect from a fresh summer in Dubrovnik this year? Already the international media is falling over itself to heap praise on Dubrovnik. Reports in publications, such as the New York Times and Condé Nast Traveller, have positioned Dubrovnik on their lists of places to visit in 2016. With all this publicity the region is certainly to be near the top on the lists of many world travellers this year. We can expect another great summer.

There will be events, concerts, drama and ballet…and that is just in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. The number of festivals in Dubrovnik, a city of culture, is growing year on year and we will welcome back many “old friends” this year. Why not jump on a flight and spend a weekend in Dubrovnik whilst a festival is on…you won’t regret it. And with more flights from more destinations expected to land at Dubrovnik Airport this year the opportunities are endless. Fly in on a Friday afternoon, spend a weekend in the Mediterranean sunshine and catch a concert, then return on Monday ready for another working week. Fill some of those empty pages.

guaranteed sunshine in Dubrovnik

Weekend in the sunshine

We will also be welcoming back our friends from HBO and the whole crew of the globally popular Game of Thrones series. Dubrovnik, which acts as King’s Landing in the serial, is forever bound to the Game of Thrones. And apart from bringing us yet more exposure it has also acted as a fuse paper for many other international production companies. Already, at the beginning of 2016, another film crew will shoot a Greek epic movie, “Alexandra,” in the city’s historic cobbled streets. You can be sure that others will follow.

Make 2016 the year that you fill the pages of your life with a trip to Dubrovnik. If you have already been then you are probably waiting to come back, if you’ve never been then…what are you waiting for.

Port of Dubrovnik

Aerial view of Dubrovnik

Xmas in Dubrovnik

Christmas time in Dubrovnik

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Dubrovnik in the festive season is a time of joy and celebration. The historic Old City shines like a beacon in the night sky…lights, decorations and Christmas trees fill the cobbled streets.

Dubrovnik is a city for all seasons, after all that is the slogan of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and holiday season is a special one to be in the city. Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy summer period Dubrovnik has another face, a calmer and more peaceful face, as the winter approaches. Tourists, the vast majority come in the summer, who visit Dubrovnik through the winter are often left with a special memory, “we had the city to ourselves…it was great.”

Christmas feel to the Stradun

Reindeer in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik

And this Christmas and New Year holiday season the city has really pulled out all the stops! The main street, the Stradun, has, for the first time in history, eighteen wooden festive huts lined along the polished stone. Wandering down the centre of the city you will see Christmas delicacies, gifts, sweet treats and souvenirs, all with the special aroma of mulled wine hanging in the air.

This is the second year in a row that the Dubrovnik Winter Festival has been held. Over 150 events will be held in the city until the middle of January, yes you have time to jump on a plane and experience the festive fun. Christmas market, concerts, an ice-rink, amusement park and shows…imagine telling your friends that you have been ice-skating in Dubrovnik! Nativity scenes and advent candles bring a spiritual soul to Christmas in Dubrovnik. The family values and traditions are still very important to the local people, Christmas has still yet to be “commercialised” in Dubrovnik.

And whilst you are in the city why not take the opportunity to taste some Christmas treats. Try “Prikle” – a small doughnut, “Arancini” – sugar frosted orange peel, “Hrostule” – sweet bread sticks, “Carob cake” – a locally made cake from the carob fruit and all of these are washed down with a glass (or two) of a homemade brandy to help keep the cold out. These specialities can be seen on almost all Christmas tables throughout the city, so why not pick some up and make your own “Dubrovnik Christmas,” when you get back home.

And don’t forget the New Year celebrations. The Stradun comes alive on New Year’s Eve, the wildest night of the year, with a massive concert. This year will be an extra special one as one of the most popular singers in Croatia, Severina, will perform on the main street, it will be an unforgettable night.

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Dubrovnik is waiting for you this holiday season. It may not be like “walking in a winter wonderland,” and we are not “dreaming of a white Christmas,” but we do “wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Hotel Kazbek in the winter

White Christmas in Dubrovnik

Aerial Dubrovnik

A memento of your time in Dubrovnik – the perfect souvenir

Wherever you visit a foreign destination, especially for the first time, a keepsake of your visit in the form of a souvenir is a must. Faced with a plethora of choices, and yet wanting to find that certain special memory of Dubrovnik, souvenir hunting is no easy matter. You might be looking for the right gift for a loved one or a suitable memento to bring back happy memories of your holiday. Whatever your reason it is always a dilemma, and of course you want to find something that is authentic and representative of Dubrovnik…now the choice becomes even harder. Dubrovnik and Croatia have many traditional souvenirs that are of a high quality and indigenous to the area. To help you along the way we have searched through the current souvenir offer and have come up with our list of recommendations…here they are.

Fine local wines

Croatian wines certainly belong to some of the best wines in the world. Croatia boasts more than 300 geographically-defined wine regions which produce 67 percent white, 32 percent red and the remaining 1 percent rose wines. Why not pick up a local bottle of fine wine as a great souvenir. Famous wines include Dingac and Postup from the Peljesac Peninsula, then there are Posip and Grk from Korcula; Marastina from the island of Lastovo or a nice Malvasija Dubrovacka from Konavle.

Red and white wine

Wines of Dubrovnik region

Embroidery from Konavle  

The embroidery from Konavle is certainly an authentic gift from this region. It is a skill and an art that has been handed down from generation to generation; there is love and history in this embroidery. The design is strictly symmetric and tends to feature red, black, yellow and dark green colours, in fact these colours are all natural, they are dyed using the land and all it offers. Why not take a trip out to Konavle to find the perfect piece, a great day out and a unique souvenir.

Traditional souvenirs

Traditional Konavle embroidery

Olive oil

The growth of the region, the successes and battles over the centuries has all been closing connected to the olive tree. Olive oil is quite simply a vital part of all meals in Dubrovnik, a meal without wine and olive oil just isn’t a meal! From larger concerns to small family businesses there are plenty of choices. And once you have tasted olive oil from Dubrovnik there is no going back.

Sweet delights

Candied almonds, candied orange peel and quince cheese are quite possibly three sweet delights that you have never come across before, they are however quintessentially Dubrovnik! All are handmade and all have their special place on the tables of Dubrovnik during special occasions. You can find decorative arrangements of these delicacies in better souvenir shops of the city. And as they keep well you can plan your own “Dubrovnik Christmas” with an array of traditional sweets.

Sweet delight from Croatia

Candied orange peels

Something special for the culture vultures

A piece of fine art by a local artist, there are many interesting art galleries inside the ancient city walls. Or a hand crafted stone article from the few remaining stone masons in the Dubrovnik region…although nothing to heavy, you’ll have to carry it home. Or maybe a delicate piece of jewellery from one of the goldsmiths…we would recommend earrings from Konavle. There is something for everyone, just make sure that it is authentic.

These are a few of our recommendations, we haven’t included all of the souvenirs from Dubrovnik just the ones that are close to our hearts. If you want to know which stores offer authentic Dubrovnik souvenirs then look for the sign “Authentic Croatian” on the shop window.

Celenga Apartments – World’s Second Best

We’ve just been informed that our Celenga Apartments are ranked as World’s Second-Best hotel and Europe’s number one by Expedia.com travellers.

Read more on this LINK

Congratulations to our entire Pervanovo team.

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Discovering Dubrovnik region

One of the activities not to be missed during your stay in Dubrovnik is to discover Elafite islands. It is a group of 13 islands and islets in Dubrovnik surrounding of which only 3 are inhabited.

Amazingly intact nature, crystal clear sea, picturesque villages, hidden bays, incredible sunsets – the photos below show it all.

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Good Friday Procession in Dubrovnik

Today is Good Friday and following an old tradition, there is a procession in Dubrovnik Old City. It starts from the Cathedral of Mary’s Assumption through Od Puca Street and continues along main Stradun street. 

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Procession starts from Dubrovnik cathedral

Dubrovnik’s bishop carries the relic of the True Cross. It is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. This relic together with 132 other relics of saints are treasured in the Cathedral Treasury and is open daily for visitors.

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Bishop carries relic of the True Cross

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Procession in front of Franciscan monastery

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Priests and monks in procession

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Good Friday procession in Dubrovnik