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Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Plastic in Dubrovnik is never fantastic

By  Mark Thomas May 14, 2017

I had a half an hour free and I found myself in the old city. Although I am relatively regularly in the city I can’t remember the last time I was there without some obligation, meeting, meal, social event, etc…So as I did years ago I wandered like a leaf in the wind.

My eye was drawn to something out of place, something was wrong. Yes, that was it; in all this beautiful stone architecture some idiot had installed PVC windows. But wait he wasn’t alone. Unbelievable. I had planed to take a photograph of these disgusting atrocities and make a “Hall of Shame” but as I dug deeper into the problem I realised it would have been easier to make a “Hall of Fame” of the houses without plastic windows. In only a few steps I saw more plastic than in Pamela Anderson.

My God, the windows look ugly. They look like a wart on the chin of the Mona Lisa. And who controls this? Are there any inspectors left? I can’t believe that any organisation is in charge of this problem, who would do such a bad job? Unless they are blind they have no excuse, shame on you. I stopped again to look up at another monstrosity, white PVC door and windows and white plastic shutters. Looking at the silicon glue used to stick the windows onto the old stone made my heart bleed. Do you not care what you are doing? Have you no respect?

Out of my view an elderly couple, obviously tourists, had stopped and were also looking at the architecture. “It’s a shame they have to put air-conditioning units on these old buildings” the wife commented to the husband. “Yes, it does rather spoil the overall look” replied the husband. Seeing as they were like-minded souls we got into conversation.

They had just walked the city walls and apart from being blown away by the beauty they were shocked by the number of satellite dishes. “We were careful when we took photographs not to include any dishes” commented the wife, “it would ruin our memory of Dubrovnik as a historic city.” Yes, I agree. Now you’ve literally got to zoom in to avoid getting a photo of a 15th century palace and a satellite dish. Why doesn’t the city just offer free cable TV to every household that takes down their satellite dish? There are already fibre-optic cables under the streets of the city so why not use them. Walk around the walls and count them, you don’t have to be genius to see which house has a dish and which doesn’t! Do these inspectors actually exist? I was thinking this the other day whilst watching some photos of a concert in Revelin. I’m pretty sure that smoking inside the fortress is not allowed but in every third photo there was a person with a cigarette in the hand. I mean just walk in there after a concert, it stinks, like you walked into an ashtray. And yet the inspection doesn’t fine, doesn’t warn and doesn’t stop the problem.

Millions of ways are dreamt up to make money from the city, like Dubrovnik Ltd, but I can’t see anyone fighting to protect the city. Pretty soon there won’t be a city left to look after. Nets are placed to keep swallows from nesting in homes they’ve had longer than us, and yet nobody moves. PVC windows flood the city, and yet nobody moves. Satellite dishes hang like bin covers from terracotta roofs, and yet nobody moves. Windows and shutters are painted all the colours of the rainbow, instead of the traditional Dubrovnik green, and yet nobody moves. Pretty soon the only left green in the city will be Maro and Baro. Only when a more famous citizen shouts to UNESCO about the number of air-conditioning units hanging from the walls do the city council finally wake up and make a proposal, shame on you.

Shame on you that you have to wait to find out from someone else that the city has 553 air-conditioning units rather than do something about it yourself. It is so sad that the only way to get the city organisations to do something for the city that they live in is by threatening to involve UNESCO. Are they not embarrassed? My mother used to say to me as a child, “if you can’t look after something you don’t deserve to have it.” I think that I’m going to have a busy year writing letters to UNSECO. As Winston Churchill famously said “I never worry about action, but only inaction.”