The Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia
© Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Image
Pearl of the Adriatic
Jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, the city of Dubrovnik in southern Croatia sparkles with centuries-old charm. Here at its heart is the limestone-paved Old Town, surrounded by medieval walls. Visitors can walk along the walls, which stretch over a mile in length and were built to defend Dubrovnik from pirates and other unwelcome guests during the Middle Ages. Dotted by fortifications and towers, these days the walls offer stunning views of the brilliant blue waters of the Adriatic on one side, and the Old Town's distinctive terracotta roofs on the other.
The rooftops of Dubrovnik tell their own story. The tiles, originally moulded in the shape of the human thigh, immediately draw attention. Take a closer look and you’ll see a patchwork of vibrant orange and dark brown roofs. The more brightly coloured tiles are replacements - a reminder of repairs made after hundreds of buildings were damaged by bombings in the early 1990s during the Croatian War of Independence. The restoration process was backed by Unesco - the city had been made a World Heritage site in 1979 in recognition of its outstanding medieval architecture and fortified Old Town.