Roman engineers could build anything. Then the two remaining groups set their guns on each other — establishing a bloody front line that cut right through the center of this town. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Or you can choose to sit on one of the terraces. Perched on a cliff above the sea, this is a peaceful, shaded getaway from the bustle of the Old Town...the perfect place to watch cruise ships disappear into the horizon. They painted in a figurative way, while the rest of the artistic world embraced, increasingly, an abstract style. Like the mosques, this new church is busy serving the faithful in its community. A fascinating land with a hard-fought history in a complex corner of Europe, Croatia is emerging as one of Europe’s top destinations. Dominating the square is the Church of St. Mark — with the colorfully tiled roof depicting both the coat of arms of Croatia and the city seal of Zagreb. Maya: Yes, we are still walking in the area of Diocletian's Palace, and you know Diocletian was "Jovius." Rick: This is all part of Diocletian's palace complex? Synopsis:A tour of Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, featuring the medieval fortress city of Dubrovnik in Croatia; the flourishing city of Mostar in Bosnia; and Montenegro's Bay of Kotor. The town's charms are all within a few steps. In places such as rural Croatia, medieval lifestyles survived well into the 20th century. We see three local religions in action: Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, and Muslim. Dubrovnik's single best attraction is its mighty wall, offering an unforgettably scenic mile-long stroll. This is a modern work of the 20th century made by the greatest Croatian sculpturist ever, Ivan Meštrović. And here, Eastern Orthodoxy is the biggest Christian community. Buža means "hole in the wall" — and that's exactly what you'll have to go through to get to this place. Congratu — the quality — the craftsmanship — is just beautiful here. During busy times, your best bet is to hit the walls around 8:00, or just before 17:00 (to avoid both the worst heat and the worst crowds). Rick Steves Croatia Istria Ireland marine Travel Show more For 25 years she toiled, using the finest materials available: silk and her own hair. An after-dinner stroll inspires confidence in this region's ability to heal its wounds. Dobro. A few steps away is a temple dedicated to Jupiter. Dubrovnik is very touristy, and understandably so. Cameron: That's definitely one factor. Its modest main square is the only flat place in town — ideal for budding soccer stars. It is a laggard in post war tourism … Season: ... Rick explores Roman hot springs, cruises quiet canals, marvels at England's finest Gothic church, and gets a surprising dose of Viking history. Our Croatian finale: the Istrian Peninsula and its enchanting port town of Rovinj. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, For this program, we'll leave the crowds of Dubrovnik and explore the less-appreciated corners of Croatia. While the walls worked fine against the Turks five centuries ago, they couldn't protect the city from modern artillery. The historic gate is a reminder that Korčula was once a mighty little place. With Rick Steves, Andreas Clemens, Georg Reichlmayr, Holger Zimmer. Catholic South Slavs are called "Croats," Orthodox Christian South Slavs are called "Serbs," and Muslim South Slavs are called "Bosniaks." Eventually, a medieval town sprouted from its abandoned shell. 7.7 (11) 0. Pausing reverently, the faithful bring their concerns to Mary. Rick: So now it's the tourists have come back and you have a good business. You can see some faces, some flowers. Maya: That would be it. After exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park and the capital city of Zagreb, we travel to the Istrian peninsula, to Rovinj. While travel in the Balkans has its challenges, it's also deeply rewarding. Everything you need is here. 5. [excellent!] That's why this region is enthusiastically bilingual — an engaging mix of Croatia and Italy. A hole in the mighty wall leads to a great little bar called Buža — just the place for a romantic sunset. Generalić, shown here in a self-portrait, was the father of the Croatian Naive Art movement. Filled with mellow tourists and bartenders pouring wine from tiny screw-top bottles into plastic cups, Buža II comes with castaway views and Frank Sinatra ambience. Masala Square — literally "Place of Prayer" — is designed for big gatherings. Plan your own trip or take one of Rick's value-packed European tours and vacations. But evenings bring new duties: You have to find water, you have to find food, see the friends, et cetera. When the Ottomans vacated, they left behind a large population of Muslim converts. From this remarkably preserved medieval fortress city, we venture into less-touristed corners of the former Yugoslavia. While mobbed with tourists in peak season, we're here in late May, and it's more sleepy than chic. Maya: The palace was huge, 200 meters on each side, and these were just the basements, so you can imagine what was on the upper floor. We're setting sail again. I'm Rick Steves. They're all variations on the same theme: rugged limestone features with historic port towns and sparsely populated interiors. The 10 minarets, rebuilt since the war, once again pierce Mostar's skyline like Muslim exclamation points. It also has a gifty corner where salesmen tempt visiting tourists with the local specialties. Nearby a grand underground hallway now used as a shopping arcade leads to Diocletian's vestibule. Father Dražen: The majority of population belongs to our Serbian Orthodox Church. Visitors nurse drinks on the main square. Maya: Yes. These roofs were rebuilt using the same materials as the original ones. Salesman: Alright thank you. If Alma is busy, she may send you with her son Jaz (pronounced "yahz"), who speaks perfect English and offers a younger generation's perspective. Mostar is rebuilding — it's moving on, and those ethnic divisions are gradually fading. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. And Mostar's 400-year-old stone bridge was ­commissioned by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. This room may be small, but it's comfortable, air-conditioned, and half the price of a hotel. But today, strolling the ramparts, it's clear: The panorama is a big part of the town's appeal. Video: Watch Croatia: Adriatic Delights, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. Rick: Was your family OK? Young and old, everyone's out embracing life. Till next time, keep on travelin'. Montenegro's Bay of Kotor is an easy day trip from Dubrovnik. Patriotic symbols remind those driving where loyalties lie. From Kotor, a small road zigzags 25 times high above the sea, up through the clouds, and into the historic heartland of this country. Wherever you choose, you'll swim in the shadow of one of Europe's finest fortified medieval cities. We're leaving the Serbian Republic and entering the half of Bosnia shared by Muslims and Croats. This street is very symbolic to us. There are three doubles with bathrooms (including a top-floor room with breathtaking Old Town views for no extra charge — request when you reserve) and two singles that share a bathroom. Rick: Dobar dan! With its elegant, single pointed arch, the Old Bridge symbolized the town's status as the place where East meets West in Europe. In 1991, after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav army shelled the city, damaging about two-thirds of its buildings. It's embodied in a skyline of minarets and in the five-times-daily call to prayer. It was a park, before war, where lovers gather, children gather, and sitting here have a nice time. I find that, sometimes, the best experiences don't come to you; you need to find them. In the 15th century, the salt trade and shipbuilding made Dubrovnik a maritime power and rival to Venice. Sicily serves up a full-bodied and tasty travel experience. For the most part, there's no way that a casual visitor can determine the religion or loyalties of the people just by looking at them. Rate. But solutions are emerging. But in the war, we mustn't go to the cemetery because it was exposed too much to the snipers. Rick Steves' Europe Season 6 [33 words) This season's 11 half-hour episodes take us from Scandinavia over to Estonia, south to alpine Slovenia, coastal Croatia, fascinating Bosnia-Herzegovina, and all around sunny Spain — with a side trip to Morocco to boot. Like most major towns along the Adriatic coastline, the fortified harbor of Hvar was a strategic link in a vast 16th-century Venetian trading empire. With its dramatic setting, it deserves its title: "Pearl of the Adriatic.". Local fishermen found an icon of the Virgin Mary stranded on a reef [laugh] believe it or not, whoa, it's so cool. On one easy floor, the museum displays 80 paintings made mostly by Croatians from the 1930s to the 1980s. Tranquil as this park is, it was here, in 1991, that the first shots of Croatia's war with Yugoslavia were fired. These scars reflect the brutal house-to-house fighting that characterized the war. Heading inland, we hike through Plitvice Lakes National Park and enjoy the thriving capital city Zagreb. Why is that? 1. He said that the divisions between the different groups should be like the white lines in a marble column. In the Istrian interior you'll find a thickly forested landscape of rolling hills and family farms. People, young and old, passing through, stop here briefly to worship. Saleswoman: Dobar dan… At the Venetian-flavored seafront town of Perast, locals ferry visitors out to a manmade island that comes with a fascinating story. When it comes to mealtime, here on the coast, it's gotta be seafood. The church's crenellated tower is a reminder that these towns were built on hilltops not for the view but for protection. The ruins themselves are now integrated with the city's street plan, so exploring them is free — except for the cellars and the cathedral sights/temple, which you'll pay to enter. We have a bishop standing just next to him, and underneath his feet we have a citizen. Because it offered safe harbor from both pirates and the plague, Rovinj became extremely crowded. This bar offers, without a doubt, Dubrovnik's most scenic spot for a drink. Hi, I'm Rick Steves back with more of the best of Europe. These songs of seafaring life, of loves lost and loves found, stir the souls of Croatians and visitors alike. Cameron: It was a horrific war. RICK STEVES' EUROPE offers a fresh perspective on the best travel advice, including where to stay, what to see and how to get around in Europe. Bye! You'll find a fortified peninsula under a striking mountain backdrop. The country of Yugoslavia lasted roughly from the end of World War I until the 1990s. Croatia is a fascinating land with a hard-fought history in a complex corner of Europe. Its gate welcomes visitors into the Old Town and a main square busy with cafés. And everything tastes better with a dab of ajvar — that's a condiment made of eggplant and red pepper...like Bosnian ketchup with a kick. Expertly enjoying this town, seemingly made for relaxing, yachters stern-tie into the good life. A highlight for me is simply people watching. Rick: There you go. These were commissioned by sailors who survived, thankful for Mary's protection. Rick: So there were Croat snipers over here shooting this way? And in Bosnia, we visit Mostar — war-torn in the '90s, but bursting with promise today. Very young people. The many candles represent Zagrebian prayers. This time we're trying to figure out how to eat the scampi in Croatia. The walls are busiest from about 9:00 until 11:00, when the cruise ships are docked. Rate. Rick: And this house...? This romantic, justifiably pretentious place for an expensive late-night waterfront drink. This time we're navigating the Adriatic and a lot more. People worship him so they were kissing his robe. I think 90 percent of these graves are from '93. Confined within its walls as it has been for centuries, Dubrovnik juts out from the rocky Croatian coastline looking inviting from both the land and the sea. While the coast is Croatia's main draw, some of its best attractions are inland. [walnuts?] They tease and they tease, asking for more money...and more money...and more money. A tour of Croatia starts at the Dalmatian Coast and concludes at the port town of Rovinj on the Istrian Peninsula. Rate. The statue depicts the square's namesake, Josip Jelačić — the 19th-century national hero who still inspires Croatians today. see our FAQ. And here in the middle of the palace he erected the house for his father — this is Jupiter's temple — and for a Roman building it's very rare that it's completely preserved with the ceiling, with the roof. 7. Grilled meats are big here — including shish kebabs and the little sausage links called ćevapčići. You can savor it all over a cup of coffee. Terms of Service | Privacy, Central Croatia: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Korčula, Croatia: Laid-Back Island Village, Rovinj, Croatia: Istria’s Old World Oasis, Split, Croatia: Modern City on Ancient Roots, Zagreb, Croatia: Lively and Livable Capital. Maya: Yes, they had the technology and they had the slaves. And the pebbly beaches with crystal-clear water are both pristine and inviting. Its handy boat connections make this a popular stop. Exploring the countryside, we find more reminders of the natural beauty and the humanity of this obscure corner of Europe. Salesman: Thank you. The narrow mouth of the bay — easy to defend, yet deep enough for big ships — defines an ideal and strategic natural harbor. These 20-something Bosnians were toddlers during the war. Seeing them tonight, it's clear: They're looking forward to a bright and promising future. Heading west, we approach the ethnic boundary — Europe's cultural fault line. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | The stony formations drip down like the foliage because the grass and moss both direct the flow of the water and provide a kind of scaffolding for the slow and steady calcification process. In this case, you had politicians who were taking advantage of those feelings, manipulating those feelings…It was a combination of those two factors that caused Yugoslavia to fall apart in such a violent way. This remarkable spot, founded in 1952 as the "Peasant Art Gallery," is one of the most enjoyable little museums in Croatia. Brighter newer tiles mark the houses that were hit and roofs that had to be replaced. 9. Rick: It just seems like an unlikely union. Then we head to Mostar, where we'll finally get this guy to jump, and dine with an inspiring backdrop. Rick: Thank you! Whether you're enjoying an outdoor café, window-shopping, or just lounging in one of the city's many inviting parks, Zagreb makes you wonder, Where are all the tourists? The Sponza Palace is a fine surviving example of Dubrovnik's Golden Age in the 15th and 16th centuries, combining both Renaissance and Venetian Gothic styles. Naturalists call Plitvice a "perfect storm" of geological, climatic, and biological features. The town's imposing architecture is a reminder of its former glory. Dubrovnik, Croatia - Video - Rick Steves' Europe The defining difference is that they adopted different religions, brought here over the centuries by various emperors, missionaries, bishops, and sultans. They painted their village world, isolated from the modern world. Sampling the very best of Croatia, we start by exploring the fabled Dalmatian Coast from dramatic Dubrovnik to crusty Adriatic island ports. From Dubrovnik, here in Croatia, two other countries that were once part of Yugoslavia are each just an hour's drive away: Bosnia and Montenegro...and that's where we're heading next. Observing this, it occurred to me that I've never met anyone — from either community here — who called the war anything but a tragic mistake. Exploring Croatia, we'll see the Pearl of the Adriatic, sample some island charm, wander Roman ruins, and hike through a watery wonderland. ... Slovenia and Croatia . Five hundred years ago, local fishermen found an icon of the Virgin Mary stranded on a reef right here. So we can better understand this troubled union, I'm joined by my friend and co-author of my guidebook to this region, Cameron Hewitt. Cameron: No, it didn't last very long. In the fourth century A.D., when Roman Emperor Diocletian retired, he built a vast residence for his golden years here in his native Dalmatia. There were long periods of peace in their history as well. But then, as Yugoslavia fell apart in the 1990s, Mostar itself became embroiled in war. They pained in a figurative way, while the rest of the art world was embracing an increasingly abstract style [snort]. As you meander along this lofty perch — with a sea of orange roofs on one side and the azure sea on the other — you'll get your bearings, peer into secluded gardens, and snap pictures like mad of the ever-changing views. Plitvice is one of Europe's most spectacular natural wonders. Exploring Croatia, we'll see the Pearl of the Adriatic, sample some island charm, wander Roman ruins, … Pero: Well, this house was hit by two grenades from mortars, right? In 1953, he took his art to a show in Paris as a relative unknown. And a great location...they claim Marco Polo lived just up the street. It's a multi-generational celebration of life, where everybody's out enjoying that Mediterranean knack for capping the day with an easygoing stroll. see our FAQ. Through all those centuries, the Republic of Dubrovnik invested mightily to withstand any siege. He continues his travels under a … This episode currently has no upcoming air dates on Iowa PBS. That's because this was Yugoslavia's crossroads of cultures. Still, both religious communities seem determined to build upon this fragile reconciliation. And today, as they have for generations, young Mostarians jump from the bridge. With the war in the past, the tourists are back. Several sights associated with the cathedral require tickets: the cathedral interior, the unimpressive treasury/museum, the crypt, the tower climb, and — a block away — Jupiter's Temple. Why is that? Cameron: Oh, it was extremely unlikely. This time we're jumping — well, actually, he's jumping — for maximum travel experience in Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia. Taking a little extra time to wander through town gives an insight into people moving on with their lives. The people-friendly business zone comes with the energy and bustle you'd expect to find in any prosperous European capital. A short drive to the coast takes us to Rovinj — my favorite stop between Dubrovnik and Venice. The bay's main town, also called Kotor, has been protected from centuries of would-be invaders by its imposing wall. So on the ceiling you can see really nice Roman carvings. Rick: Nice; thank you. Naive art is created by untrained artists isolated from the artistic mainstream. We have Croatian king from the 11th century. The Making of Rick Steves' Europe. 6. There was no roof on the house. Dear Mr. Steves, It was painful to read your latest article on Dubrovnik and Croatia. Alma: Exactly. Classy candelabras twinkle in the twilight, as couples cozy up to each other and the view. Stepping into its stately courtyard takes you back to that illustrious age. Through clever diplomacy, Dubrovnik managed to maintain its independence until the 1800s. Soon after the war, the Old Bridge was rebuilt using the original materials. Maya: This is the grand entryway towards Diocletian's private area, private quarters. Nothing looks right without some wildflowers held by Cameron Hewitt. Rick: In America, we have a word "balkanization"; it means everybody's fighting, and just nobody gets along, and that's this area here. Little Slovenia is the least visited and most underrated of Europe's alpine countries. think 16 LIFE 11/07 02:00: A fascinating land with a hard-fought history in a complex corner of Europe, Croatia is emerging as one of Europe's top destinations. Rick: When I come to this church as a western Christian, it feels very eastern. In Spain, episodes include Córdoba & Granada, Andalucía with Gibraltar and Tangier, Basque Country, and Galicia (northwest Spain, the Camino de Santiago, and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona). Roman emperors called themselves the gods. Dramatically situated high above the vineyards, Motovun is Istria's most popular hill town. Trebinje, nestled along a river in a fertile valley, is a showcase town of the semi-autonomous Serb state called "Republika Srpska." He was a huge hit, sold everything, and came home rich and famous. Across town, twice as high as the tallest minaret, towers the Croats' Catholic church spire. Local a cappella choirs perform klapa music — the quintessential Dalmatian folk music. A 500-year-old building can be tight. The island's main town, also named Hvar, nestles under its formidable fortress. Thanks to new freeways, the Istrian Peninsula, in Croatia's northwest corner, is just a couple hours' drive from the capital. The Croats' Catholic church, once shelled and now repaired, has a poignant memorial in its garden: Christ crucified on a cross of artillery shells. Before we get into Bosnia, let's review the big picture. Boats glide visitors into the heart of the park. A grand Orthodox church caps a hill high above Trebinje. For a latte, it's bijela kava. Rate. These Croatian naïve artists were outsiders — sought out by art-world insiders to validate their notion that artistic ability was more than a learned skill — it was an inborn talent. Whether surveying its stout walls, joining the promenade along its main drag, or appreciating its former glory, it's clear this city was a major power in the past and is a major draw today. Today's residents are literally living in a Roman emperor's palace. 2. Sitting here, it's clear: Zagrebians love their city. And, to this day, the maze of narrow alleys — once literally Diocletian's hallways — makes up the core of Split. One of Europe's top natural wonders is Plitvice Lakes National Park. Rick Steves' Europe. When Rome fell, Diocletian's palace was abandoned. It features expressionistic paintings by untrained peasant artists. Sampling the very best of Croatia, we start by exploring the fabled Dalmatian Coast from dramatic Dubrovnik to crusty Adriatic island ports. You know, we are Muslim, and that was our flat here — we lived here all the time when war start. Rick: You must have powerful memories of living during the war — living through the war. While its ethnic make-up shaped its recent history, the differences between its groups can be subtle and confusing. think 16 LIFE 11/06 20:00: A fascinating land with a hard-fought history in a complex corner of Europe, Croatia is emerging as one of Europe's top destinations. The conflict reached its peak with a symbolic moment that resonated around the world. Cresting the ridge, we enter another world: an inhospitable land of rocks, scrub brush, and ramshackle farmhouses. While the war barely touched the coastline, here in the interior — which had a sizable Serb minority — the fighting was devastating. Saleswoman: Odlično! Looking at the architecture, you can see this is where its three major ethnicities — Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs, and Muslim Bosniaks — all came together. In the 17th century, locals built this Baroque church on this holy site and filled it with symbols of thanks for answered prayers. I'm Rick Steves. Rick: One last question: What's this ostrich egg? 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