Dubrovnik is a historic and fascinating city, nestling on the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia.
Dubrovnik is famous for its emblematic Old Town, which is enclosed by massive stone walls dating back to the 16th century. Among the beautifully preserved buildings here are the Gothic Rector’s Palace and the Baroque St. Blaise Church. The city is also popular for the pedestrianized Stradun, a street lined with restaurants and shops.
However, Dubrovnik has a more unusual side, including a haunted island for sale, a former luxury hotel and a Croatian naïve art gallery in a 15th-century church.
1. Daksa Island, Dubrovnik
If you have ever fancied owning an island, this one is for sale. Daksa Island features a beautiful Franciscan monastery, a pretty lighthouse and lush woodland. However, there is a drawback. Potential owners tend to be put off by the haunted island’s macabre history.
The island became famous in the aftermath of World War II, when dozens of Nazis and Nazi-sympathizers were imprisoned and executed here. The massacre happened in 1944, when the anti-Nazi furore turned into an angry mob, slaughtering many people without any form of a trial. Their remains were left on the island to rot and among the many dead were the mayor of Dubrovnik and a priest.
As the victims’ guilt or innocence was never truly determined, this has left an unsettling feeling about the island and many believe it is haunted by the victims of the massacre. The island can be reached by boat, if you dare.
2. Hotel Belvedere, Dubrovnik
Among the many fascinating attractions of Dubrovnik, Croatia, are a number of great hotels. Hotel Belvedere stands on a cliff just outside of the city and offers panoramic views over Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island and the sea.
However, this luxurious hotel only ran for six years, late in the 20th century and has been left to fall into disrepair ever since.
On opening in 1985, Hotel Belvedere boasted more than 200 rooms, a private boat dock and its own helipad. However, the hotel has been closed since the Croatian War of Independence. It did, however, have a brief stint of occupation back in 1991, when a number of Croatian refugees took shelter here.
Nowadays the 18-floor hotel has crumbling walls and shattered windows. However, the hotel’s amphitheatre briefly achieved fame as a filming set for the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” For a short while the amphitheater featured the crest of House Baratheon.
3. Sebastian Art Gallery, Dubrovnik
Last, but not least, we have a 15th-century church in the heart of the Old Town of Dubrovnik that has two reasons for being. This beautiful building was built in 1469 as a Dominican monastery, but has partly been repurposed as the Sebastian Art Gallery. Visitors can view the historic monastery and visit the art gallery and shop for beautiful art at the same time.
In this remarkable gallery visitors can browse a selection of sculptures, paintings and other art-forms by Croatian artists and designers. For those who enjoy both historic architecture and Croatian naïve art, this is a must-see location.
Enjoy visiting the other side of Dubrovnik and discovering wonders around every corner!