Wednesday, 12 October 2016

City Walls

By the time we started to walk around the walls of the old town of Dubrovnik, it was becoming very hot indeed.  However, the afternoon heat meant that it had got a lot quieter than it had been earlier in the day. By now, views along the main street or Placa, were a lot less crowded too.
Looking down, we had a good view of the building known as the Big Onofrio's Fountain. One of two fountains built by Onofrio della Cava (the Big fountain and the small fountain) this one was built between 1438 and 1440 to supply fresh drinking water to the people of the city. It is constructed as a large cistern with a sixteen sided exterior wall which houses a carved stone mask on each facet, through which water pours.
Many of the buildings of the old town are either churches, convents or at least in some way connected to the ecclesiastical side of life. Apertures, pierced through the walls at various points along its length, provide framed views of many of these. Here the building set in a quadrangle in the foreground, is the former Convent of St. Clare, with the unmissable dome of the cathedral in the distance.
From here, we got a combined view of the Cathedral and the church of St. Ignatius as they seemed to vie for position against the skyline.
From here too, we could see the tower of the Franciscan Monastery.
The only part of the original Franciscan Monastery which remains following the earthquake of 1667, is the Southern Portal. Carved in 1498, it shows St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist above the door posts and a 'Pieta' carved in the central, Gothic lunette.
From the corner of Fort Bokar, we looked across to Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence's Fortress, built on its own rocky outcrop across the bay.
From here too, we got a good idea of how formidable a city this would have been in its day, particularly if any aggressor tried to attack from the sea.
Passing by the old port area, we came to yet another of those ecclesiastical buildings.  This time it was the Dominican Monastery and this too came with its own tower. Completed in the 14th century, it has a cloister filled with gardens and tall palms, providing a cool place to escape the summer sun. We could have done with some of that coolness ourselves by this time as we were both sweltered in the sun.
Enough for today, more tomorrow!
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