Cavtat – Old little harbour town
Cavtat is a beautiful little harbour town located about 13 mile south of Dubrovnik. Town is the largest and the only urban centre in Konavle area that has been built up wittingly. Cavtat town is located on the peninsula of Rat, which surrounds the well protected and accessible bay together with the Sustjepan peninsula. It has harmonious architecture, the centuries-old nature, spiritual and material relationship with the Dubrovnik Republic.
Cavtat town, or antique Epidaurus, was an very important Roman colony, which perish after the breakthrough of the Slavic tribes and the Avarians into Konavle area after collapse of the Western Roman Empire, after their inhabitants flee to the neighbouring settlement Laus-Rave-Ragus, forerunner of todays Dubrovnik. According to history sources, it was also mentioned with the name Ragusa Vecchia, what clear evidence of the relationship of these two cities. In the past times of the Dubrovnik Republic, Cavtat was the second most important harbour, place of trade and of administration in the Republic after Dubrovnik.
Destinations like Cavtat that can offer to the visitors so much are quite rare. The rich cultural and historical heritage along with the wide range of services offered to tourists meet the demands of modern time tourism, what making this Old little harbour town one of the most attractive destinations on the Adriatic coast. This town is located between the heavenly city of Dubrovnik on north side and beautiful Konavle area on the south. There you can still feel the spirit of the past time and experience the hundreds year old. Cavtat is an ideal holiday resort. Tourist can discover his own wishes, enjoy the hidden coves at peace, long walks at the seaside or spend active holidays going in for recreational sports and entertaining cultural programmes.
Story about the development of the name Cavtat is quite interesting, because it says that two proposers had asked the beautiful Cavtislava’s hand in marriage, the daughter of the Epidaurian patrician, so that the father decided to give her to that man, who would perform the more difficult task. One of them, the commander Stjepan, should bring spring water from the well Vodovađa in Konavle, and the other one, a brave knight and seafarer, should bring a ship full of silk from all around the world. On the day of the festivities of the opening of the Epidaurian viaduct, the beautiful Cavtislava should first satisfy her thirst with water from a golden jar, but before, a big lizard jumped out of the water directly onto the girl’s lap. Cavtislava’s heart failed for fear and she immediately dropped dead. According to tales, the unfortunate seafarer, whose ship was sunk by a huge storm directly in front of Epidaurus, and who therefore was not able to fulfil his task, put the lizard into the viaduct since he could not bear the loss of the girl. In memory of the beautiful Cavtislava, at this place arose Cavtat, after an earthquake had destroyed the town.
Another story says that its name derives from the Old-Croatian verb ‘captiti’ – ‘to blossom’, refering to the yellow juniper, that so widwspread sparkling plant with a sunny yellow aura. The legend relate its doom to the catastrpohes after which the indestructible Cavtat would come back to life again and renew.
Shortest path for visiting Cavtat is definitely by plane since there is Airport Ćilipi which is only 5 kilometers from the town, which connects Dubrovnik with the rest of the world. Another way, you can come by bus and other means of transport and it is important to mention that, in Neum area, you leave Croatia for a short while, pass through Bosnia and Herzegovina, and enter Croatia again. It is important to bring your identification card or passport with you and, what is equally important, if you are with pets, don’t forget to bring documents for them with you. It is not a big problem for international tourists since they can’t enter Croatia without documents anyway, but Croatian tourists often forget that they are crossing the state border which may cause a problems.
Attractions Of Cavtat
St Nikola Church is placed at the center of the town, builded in the 15th century is just one of many Cavtats attractions where you can see many valuable works of art.Then one of sights is also a Baltazar Bogišić Collection in the Rector’s Palace. He was a renowned lawyer and a scientist, who was during his successful career collected various documents, books and other objects (35 thousand items are kept in this collection).
On the top of the Rat peninsula there is an old town cemetery and wonderful Račić family mausoleum. The author of this valuable piece of art is Ivan Meštrović, one of the best known Croatian sculptor. Meštrović made the mausoleum in year 1921 at the former location of St Rocco’s Chapel at the request of Marija Račić. Račić family mausoleum is made from white Brač stone (some parts of White House are also made from this type of stone) , without using a single piece of wood or other material, except bronze, which was used to make the door and the bell.
Cavtat gave many sailors and ship captains during the period of the Dubrovnik Republic and you can see epitaphs on gravestone which are dedicated to those people. Many of them who weren’t born here also decided to find eternal peace in this idyllic place.Vlaho Bukovac who was one of the best known Croatian artists, was from Cavtat and his house is turned into a museum and a gallery. Walking along picturesque seafront promenade is wonderful.
You will enjoy watching the luxurious big yachts anchored in the port and yacht owners who enjoy spending their time in Cavtat. Many yachtsmen come here after spending their day in Dubrovnik or the nearby islands, since there are no many onlookers and paparazzi in Cavtat, what is a reason why famous showbiz and business people often come back in this picturesque little town.