Many European cities are filled with religious pilgrimage sites; perhaps they aren’t the famous grottoes, shrines, and cathedrals of legend, but they are equally important. Dubrovnik, Croatia, offers some great religious sites so if you’re planning a vacation centered around spiritual attractions, you won’t be disappointed. Dubrovnik is a city that has a part in both Christian and Jewish history. Saint Blaise (the city’s own revered saint) is immortalized throughout Dubrovnik by statuary. Many Hispanic Jews made their way to Dubrovnik over the years.
Why You Should Go
Not only is Dubrovnik a wonderful pilgrimage site for those of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish faiths, but the setting is idyllic. The beautiful city stretches out into the blue-green water in a graceful arc; the tile-roof buildings provide eye-pleasing photographic opportunities.
Christian Places of Worship and Reflection
One of the first places in Dubrovnik you should visit is the Church of St. Blasius, named for the city’s patron. The cathedral is filled with an almost romantic sort of charm, and the exterior brings visions of days long past. As with all European churches, check to see if you can go inside and if photos are allowed. If not, rest assured the exterior of this Dubrovnik beauty provides many photo opportunities in its own right.
The Church of St. Ignatius (a Jesuit church named for Ignatius Loyola) has an equally impressive facade; it doesn’t exude age like some of Dubrovnik’s other edifices, but the unassuming color is made interesting by the architectural features, the entrance niches, and the large cross that perches atop the church.
The Serbian Orthodox Church is an interesting gem in the religious tradition of Dubrovnik. Stop by and see the amazing religious iconography, reveling the artistic triumph of the Orthodox Church.
St. Saviour’s Church shows its venerable age not in a dingy but in an appealing way, especially if you’re an enthusiast of old structures. The Onofrio Fountain located directly in front of the church provides a great vantage point for the church and a place to marvel at the old European architecture of Croatia. This is one of the “watering holes” in Dubrovnik and somehow reflects Dubrovnik’s love of water and its connection to the powerful waves just beyond the city.
Dubrovnik’s cathedral drips with gilded accents; even the organ is stunningly beautiful. The exterior is somewhat simple yet very graceful and reminds one of the sort of construction that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem had adopted centuries before.
Don’t forget to look for the Dominican Monastery; walk around its beautifully-constructed exterior and see the religious art of Croatia at its best! There is a museum here that features spiritually-oriented art; stop by for awhile to immerse yourself in Christian history. The monastery was built in the 14th century but destroyed in the late 17th century during a natural disaster. The statuary is worth seeing, as is the cloister.
A Jewish Gem Hidden in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is home to an old and architecturally interesting synagogue. It was constructed by Sephardic Jews (refugees from Spain and Portugal) in the 1300s and was still undergoing change and construction in the 1600s. Luckily, it weathered the ravages of time and is a great testament to the Jewish spirit of Dubrovnik. There is only one synagogue in the continent that boasts a more venerable age that Dubrovnik’s synagogue.
That Spiritual Pull
No matter what spiritual orientation you claim, Dubrovnik is undoubtedly a place filled with the essence of the holy. There are churches, monasteries, and other religious sites to satisfy your spiritual wanderings. After you’ve explored Dubrovnik and have soaked up the aura of faith, don’t forget to stop by other great sites in Croatia on your world journey.
Don’t Stop There . . .
Dubrovnik is just one of many European sites of pilgrimage, reflection, and spirituality. The pull of these buildings can not only be found in the feelings that envelop the soul; the architecture is also a great reason to visit. Europe has some of the most beautiful churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, and chapels in the world.