Dubrovnik has been on my “must-see” list for years. There was something about the orange roofs and contrasting gray stones that made me “ooh” and “ahh” anytime I would see it placed on a magazine cover.
When I finally arrived into Dubrovnik, I was eager to make my way through the famous city walls and into Old Town.
And that’s when my heart sank. I discovered that Old Town is Disneyland.
“Wait, what does that even mean??”
It means that Old Town is a hollow replica of the city it used to be. Old Town is now a skeleton void of authentic culture and propped up solely on tourism.
Ouch. A bit harsh, yeah?
Don’t get me wrong — Old Town is beauuuu-ti-ful. But it just doesn’t feel real.
I was video chatting my mom yesterday and venting my frustrations to her, and she had some very interesting insights. She said, (paraphrased of course) “When you left on this trip, you wanted to find authenticity and truth that’s in the world. And maybe that’s why Old Town frustrates you so much. It feels artificial to you, so you feel that it is a waste of your time and energy.”
After hearing that, it all made sense.
So like I always try to do, I wanted to search out the positives – the culture. I made an intentional effort in looking beyond the many souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants to find the real.
**side note: I learned today that Dubrovnik locals get a discount at restaurants. Which is great for them, but it also goes to show how tourism has skyrocketed city prices. And also how tourists are getting cheated.
Okay, so this post is a heavy bash against Old Town. So to offset that, here are some pictures to demonstrate just how beautiful it is. I would never want to deter anyone from coming here. It truly is a breathtaking part of Dubrovnik. Just keep in mind: you will have to do some serious searching to get that authentic cultural experience. And that will probably be outside of Old Town.