REPOST FROM ESSENCE OF DUBROVNIK


More and more people are visiting Dubrovnik as  a port stop on an Adriatic and Mediterranean cruise. So few of these cruisers take the time to understand what they are seeing. Don’t be that way!

My friend, Carol Sosa, retired to Dubrovnik a few years ago and writes a blog that shares her love for her adopted city and nation. (She is also available for a personalized tour of high quality!)  I posted this to share the story behind the oft photographed tower….few tourists even know that these guys are inside!!!

Our Clock Tower

Soaring high above the Stradun, the Clock Tower is a magnificent landmark of the old town. Located at Luza Square which served as the market area many years ago, it is adjacent to the Sponza Palace and faces Sveti Vlaho (Saint Blaise) Church, the patron Saint of Dubrovnik.  The Clock Tower overlooks Orlando’s Column with its white Libertas flag waving in the wind.

Clock tower decorated for the holidays

Construction began for the 31-meter high tower in 1444.  Two wooden men were designed to strike the bell and were later replaced by the two bronze figures, named “Maro” and “Baro” by the local residents.  As the years passed, the bronze figures became tinted green from the salt air of the Adriatic.  With this physical change came the name of “Zelenci” which means green men.

Maro and Baro our zelenci (green) twins striking the bell

During the 18th century, the well-worn clock and mechanics fell into disrepair.   A Franciscan brother repaired the clock hands, forming them into the current “Octopus”, along with the bronze sphere showing the phases of the moon.

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The original bronze jacks had suffered much damage over the years and replicas were installed during the time the originals went through intensive work restoring their original beauty.  The restoration took more than 5 years and finally the Zelenci are back in Dubrovnik at the Rectors Palace for all who visit to admire.

The zelenci (green) twins after restoration

Every afternoon at Noon the bell begins to chime and disturbs the pigeons that flock in Gundulic Square, located just behind Sveti Vlaho Church.  Children squeal in delight as the pigeons hover overhead as kernels of corn are strewn about the square.  The sounds of the Zelenci striking the antique bell are strong with pride, a Dubrovnik tradition for the last several hundred years.

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