131 Photos - Feb 8, 2015
Photo: Roger and I flew from San Diego to Zegrab, Croatia on January 16, 2015.  The next day we rode a bus to the ancient city of Zadar and to our lovely ship - The Athena.Photo: We started with a walking tour of Zadar where we visited the cloisters of St. Francis Church.  Consecrated in 1280 AD, it is now a monestery with six resident priests.Photo: As we walked down the ancient streets we saw beautiful buildings and found artwork praising the Virgin Mary.Photo: A sea organ with 35 underwater pipes was built here in 2005.  The pipes play seven chords and five tones, all powered by the action of the waves.Photo: The 9th century Donat Church was built on an old Roman forum using some of the Roman stones, many of which remain today.Photo: The Cathedral of St. Anastasia is the largest cathedral in the coastal region of Croatia.  It was re-built in the 13th century.Photo: Roger is standing in front of the Anastasia Cathedral bell tower.Photo: We traveled to Sibenik, founded in 1066.  Today there are 45,000 people in the city.Photo: We did a lot of walking and climbing here.  We walked up to St. Michael's Palace, the old fortress at the top of the center hill.Photo: The Cathedral of St. James is a UNESCO site built between 1431-1555.  It is the only building in Europe constructed before the 19th century that contains no masonry elements.Photo: The Cathedral of St. James is a UNESCO site built between 1431-1555.  It is the only building in Europe constructed before the 19th century that contains no masonry elements.Photo: That afternoon I climbed to see a wonderful view of the town that overlooked an old cemetery.Photo: Sibenik is a lovely port lying almost in the middle of the Croatian Adriatic coast.  Croatia has 242 islands and islets.Photo: This morning we woke up to a beautiful rainbow over St. Anthony's Strait.Photo: We walked around the old town in the morning and stopped at the old town square with the town hall to the left.Photo: I found a fabric store with almost all solid material and very little cotton.Photo: We hiked up to St. Michael's castle, the oldest fortification for Sibenik.  It was originally constructed in the 10th century.Photo: This the Cathedral of St. James looking down from St. Michael's.Photo: The medieval old town had an unplanned appearance to it.Photo: That evening we were treated to dancers who showed us folk dances from various areas of Croatia.Photo: The musicians had some interesting instruments.Photo: With 250,000 people, Split is the second largest city in Croatia and the third largest port in the Mediterranean.Photo: This is a representation of Diocletian's Palace built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century.Photo: It is a massive structure that originally housed Diocletian, his wife and daughter, and 100 soldiers as a retirement residence.Photo: This UNESCO palace is the world's most complete remains of a Roman palace in the world.Photo: The Cathedral of Saint Domnius, consecrated at the turn of the 7th century, is regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure, without extensive renovation at a later date.Photo: The structure is also the second oldest structure used by any Christian Cathedral.  It was originally built as Diocletian's mausoleum.Photo: Diocletian's Temple of Jupiter later became the bapistry in the 11th century.  This is a statue of John the Baptist.Photo: After our tour we went to an open air market where we saw these beautiful bouquets, costing about $9.Photo: They also had a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit.Photo: The belltower of Diocletian's Palace is easy to see.  Centuries after Diocletians's death, squatters began building inside the palace walls where people have lived ever since.Photo: The little gull was just too cute to pass up!Photo: In the afternoon we hiked by many beautifully preserved medieval structures.Photo: We went to an outlook above the city to get a better view.Photo: At the top of the hill was a Jewish cemetery dating back to the 1500's.Photo: We came back to the palace one last time before we left this wonderful port.  The Cathedral and belltower are on the left.Photo: Even with the rain, Roger is enjoying himself!Photo: Joy is in the main square of the old town.Photo: We had a lovely day in Split.Photo: The next morning we traveled to the island of Hvar, known for it's many days of sunshine.  Hotel guests only pay half price if it rains.Photo: Separated from the mainland by just a few miles, Hvar is the longest of the Croatian islands.Photo: Hvar has been occupied since 3500 BC by Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, Venetians, Austians, and French.Photo: During the summer the island fills with tourists.  We were fortunate to wander around almost by ourselves!  But, there were only two stores open.Photo: The monestery is where the Benedictine Nuns live next to their Cathedral.Photo: They are known for making very fine lace from the fibers of the agave plant.  A one foot circle of lace would cost about $2,000.Photo: We left the city of Hvar and traveled by bus to the other side of the island.Photo: The two main crops of the island are lavendar and grapes.  There are also many fishermen on the island.Photo: The ground is filled with a lot of stones.  They used them to build miles of terrace walls for their lavendar plots.Photo: We passed several small villages that raised lavendar.  There had been a big fire that destroyed most of their fields.  Now only five people live in this village.Photo: We stopped in the fishing village of Vrbosk to try their wine.  The city was founded in the 15th century.Photo: The city church was interesting because of it's fortification.Photo: We saw very few flowers on this trip - so I took a picture whenever I saw them.Photo: This is the Venetian arsenal where a ship for the Venetian fleet was kept.  On the second floor was the town theater.  It was the first public theater in Europe, built in 1612.Photo: The town ramparts were started in 1278.  The citidel was started in the 13th century also.Photo: We arrived in Dubrovnik after our dinner.  We took a quick trip into the old town in the evening.Photo: This is the main road inside the walled city.  The city was founded in the 7th century but their golden age was the 15th and 16th centuries when they had the third largest fleet in the world.Photo: On our way back to Dubrovnik the next morning we took this picture.  2,000 people still live inside the old town.Photo: The Franciscan monestery is the third oldest in the world and the oldest with continuous use.  It was built in 1317.Photo: The lovely cloister was built in 1360.Photo: The pharmacy was founded in 1317.  It helped the public as well as the monks.  It is the third oldest pharmacy in the world.Photo: There were many steps in the old town.Photo: This minor street ran parallel to the main street.  Shops were usually on the first floor.  People lived above their shops on the upper floors.Photo: We went inside the Sponza Palace, which later became Dubrovnik's customs house.  Here they had a memorial to Croatian fighters who died defending Croatia in the 1990's war.Photo: The Rector's Palace, built in 1435, was where a man would rule Dubrovnik for one month before another nobleman got his chance.Photo: I walked on the 1.2 mile wall around the city.  It cost about $10 to do this, but it was well worth it.Photo: The views were wonderful!Photo: Some of the buildings had their own gardens or patios.Photo: The tiles were also fascinating.Photo: This is looking down Stradum, the old city's main street.  The city water supply (lower right) was built in 1438.Photo: The Croatian flag flies from the top of the wall.Photo: The Dubrovnic old town is another of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.Photo: Until the 18th century, people built their homes part way up a hill, away from raiders who came by sea.  The newer part of town is near the water.Photo: We arrived in Kotor, Montenegro, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Montenegro has been independent of Bosnia for only 9 years.  This clock tower was built in 1602.Photo: Venice ruled this area for about 400 years.  You can see the Venitian influence in their buildings.  This is the town square.Photo: The Grgurina Palace, built in 1732, now houses their maritime museum.Photo: This vase in their museum reminded us of one we have at home.Photo: This 18th century water pump was the first one for the city.Photo: St. Luke's church was built in 1195.  Croatia is 85% Roman Catholic.  Montenegro is only 4% Catholic and 43% Serbian Orthodox.Photo: St. Luke is to the right. The much more modern St. Nicholas is straight ahead.Photo: I bought an adorable Santa wood carving at this store.  This nativity scene, costing about $1,500, is by the same artist.  Their work is similar to the wood carvings found in Russia.Photo: They had a small open air market right outside the Kotor city walls.Photo: 80% of Montenegro is mountains.  The country is about the size of Connecticut and a tenth the size of Bosnia and Herzegovina.Photo: This old zigzag wall went up the mountain to the fortress overlooking the town.  Most of the walls were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries.Photo: Roger really enjoyed this town.Photo: That evening we enjoyed the lights and their reflection on the Bay of Boca.  Tourism is now their biggest industry - 340 cruise ships will visit Kotor this year.Photo: Photo: This is St. Stephen's Island - a very exclusive island that has been inhabited for about 600 years.  The whole island is now a hotel with rooms starting at $1,000 a night.Photo: We stopped at 10:00 for a snack of home made cheese, prosciutto, and bread.Photo: Our tour took us into the central part of Montenegro.  At Centinje, we visited the summer palace of Nikola I, ruler of Montenegro from 1860-1918.Photo: Centinje was colder, but it was a very nice small town.  Roger was the only person in the country wearing white shoes.Photo: The town also had the 15th century Cetinje Monastery.Photo: When we got back to Kotor, we went to Perast and took a boat to Our Lady of the Rocks.  This is the only man made isle in the Adriatic.Photo: In 1452 two fishermen said they saw the Virgin Mary in the water.  People started dropping stones at the site until there was room to build a church in the middle of the strait.Photo: The interior of the church was very nice.Photo: Korčula is an island right off the Croatian coast with a picturesque old town.  They claim that Marco Polo was born here.Photo: Many parts of the old town date from the 13th to the 15th century.  The Land Gate entrance was constructed in 1391.Photo: The 16th century Gabrielli's palace is now the town museum.  Centuries ago the green doors were where items were sold.  The owners lived on the 2nd floor, the servants on the 3rd, and the kitchen was on the top floor.Photo: This was used to store olive oil centuries ago.Photo: This is the 16th century cathedral of St. Mark and the Bishop's Palace.Photo: Inside the cathedral is a 16th century painting by Tintoretto.Photo: This is where they claim Marco Polo was born in 1254.  Some people say he was born in Venice.Photo: We had a lot of fun walking around Korčula.  Nice shoes!Photo: Korčula was planned with straight streets that let the summer sea breezes in to cool the town, and curved steets that dispersed the cooler air in summer and blocked the cold winds in the winter.Photo: The island is on the left side and the coastline of Croatia is on the right - only a mile or so apart.Photo: The sun set beautifully over a more modern part of the town.Photo: Bosnia and Herzegovina has been an independent country since 1992.  They have only twelve miles of coastline and no harbor.  We were tendered in to the port of Neum, then travelled up to Mostar by bus.Photo: Mostar was founded by the Turks and is now the second largest town in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  A lot of the city was still heavily destroyed from the fighting in the early 1990's.  We saw a lot of bullet holes in the buildings.Photo: Hotel Heritage showed us what a Muslim palace would have looked like 350 years ago.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Photo: The home was divided into two parts.  This was the receiving area for public.  The wife would not have been there unless only women were present.Photo: A nursery would have looked like this in the private part of the house.Photo: The roads and patios were made with beautiful rock designs.Photo: We visited the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque built in the early 1600's.Photo: The Nererva River once separated the Muslim and Croat sides of Mostar.  The bridge was built in the 16th century.  The sultan told the architect he would be killed if it fell down.  He dug his own grave before it was opened, just in case.  It stood solidly for over 400 years!Photo: We had time to shop for souvenirs, but the quality was so poor I only bought one thing.Photo: Looking across the Neretva river we could see the buildings with their rock construction and slate tile roofs.Photo: We were told that Grand Circle is the only cruise ship that stops here.Photo: In this area the water flows from sources under the mountain and erupts to the surface from below.Photo: The next day we left our ship in Bosnia and Herzegovina and drove north across much of Croatia.  It rained and snowed most of the way.Photo: We arrived in Opatija, a popular destination for the very rich from the mid 1800's to the present.  Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Tito vacationed here.Photo: Camillias were in bloom!Photo: The rain turned into snow the evening we arrived.Photo: Opatija is the third largest city in Croatia.Photo: On our last full day in Croatia we drove from Opatija east to Zagreb.  A lot of snow had fallen the night before.Photo: At a rest stop we bought a cherry strudel and a cream cake.  They were both wonderful!  With a tiny cup of coffee for Roger it cost about $8.00!Photo: We arrived in Zagreb early Saturday afternoon with enough time to walk a few miles to see some the city’s lovely buildings.Photo: We were told that many important people would be having coffee and watching the people walk by.  There were out by the thousands.Photo: This is part of the town square.Photo: We visited an Orthodox cathedral with its many icons.Photo: This is the gothic styled Catholic Zagreb Cathedral.Photo: The stained glass windows were very nice.Photo: Our last picture is of the outdoor flower market that we saw on our way back to the hotel.  We flew home the next day.