Once through the enormous and dramatic fortified gate in Dubrovnik’s wall, we were drawn effortlessly along its stunning Main Street by the endless line of the gutters. I was captivated by the patterns and lines of these ancient cobbles, which seemed to lead away into infinity along an impossibly straight long street. The scale of the place left me breathless and in awe, and I was drawn irresistibly back and back to this line which defined the road beautifully. So we followed it.
At the other end the view back was just as incredible, and again defined by this wonderful ancient gutter. The historic cobbles themselves are magnetic in their appeal, polished so smooth by countless centuries of hooves and feet that they shimmer in the sun like water. I loved the long afternoon shadows drawn across the street, and the way the worn stones cast reflections back up skywards. The stone patterns, held between the lines of the gutters, held the warmth of the days sun, and bounced sound and light into mesmerising shapes. I was enchanted by the stones of Dubrovnik beneath my feet. The beauty of a straight line shot through the muddled patterns of medieval streets, and all contained by towering stone walls.
Golden rose petals scattered over a new brides head lay wilting in the late heat of a giant arch. Recent history carelessly littering the ancient stones. Layers of history had worn so deeply across these streets that they mirrored the world back at itself. Every story imaginable about humanity had played out here, and passion and violence still seem to linger in the air. The stones themselves bear witness with their shrapnel and bullet marks scaring the perfect patterns.
Shops in medieval buildings, still looking out at the passing river of people, as they have done for centuries. Some things don’t change, only the clothes and their shifting fashions give away the passage of time.
Tucked away behind the church at the gateway in, lies an ancient place of healing. The air of these cloisters is still sweetly scented by fresh flowers and aromatic oils being mixed into lotions and balms. The oldest working pharmacy in Europe has been offering cures and relief to all who can pay for hundreds of years. The monks hand written recipes and prescriptions are displayed in worn leather books among scales and bottles, instantly transporting us to another time. It’s as though you can see the wrinkled sun worn hands measuring out ingredients to waiting clients, the past feels very close and present. High in the walls of the pharmacy is a hole, covered now with Perspex, where a missile punched through destroying what had endured centuries of time. Only 20 years ago this beautiful city suffered unimaginable violence and destruction.
We climbed away from the streets, high onto the protective walls of the city. The late afternoon sun was casting rays in low angles around towers and roofs, and a slight sea breeze offered relief from the building heat. Polished almost as smooth as the cobbles below, this path wrapped itself around the old edges of the place, offering unusual views and angles.
The lines of the red tiled roofs made patterns within the walls, and I could easily imagine running wild and free across these rooftops. They were so tightly clustered, gathered like a posy of wild flowers, that it was hard to even make out any streets. The roofs spilled away towards the far wall and the ocean beyond.
Running away from the wide street which cuts through the heart of Dubrovnik, lies a warren of passages and tunnels, twisting and turning in random and confusing shapes. Doors, windows and courtyards suddenly present themselves in unexpected places. Where everything was laid bare and open on the main road, here nothing is obvious and only by looking, exploring and opening can you discover anything. The cobbles here swirl into curves and patterns which invite us forwards.
But I’m drawn back moth like to the astonishingly straight lines of the street as the sun sets and shadows rise from these ancient stones. Lights flicker into life, and the sounds and shapes of night are reflected from the lines and patterns of old Dubrovnik. It has captured my heart with its passion and it’s sizeable drama.
Take a look at more patterns in lines at this week photo challenge
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