If its peace and tranquillity you’re after then the Trsteno Arboretum is a must. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens which contain more than 300 species of trees and numerous plants from around The Mediterranean and the world. Together with the architecture from the Gothic-Renaissance period this makes The Trsteno Arboretum one of the finest gardens in this part of Europe. The pride of the arboretum, two Oriental Planes located on the central market place of Trsteno, survived both disasters undamaged. They are over 500 years old and are unique specimens of its kind in Europe. The ancient trees are both about 45 and 60 metres tall and their trunks are 5 metres in diameter.
Exotic plants in magical surroundings
The Trsteno Arboretum is about 25 minutes from Dubrovnik by car. It is located in the small hamlet of Trsteno, and the Arboretum covers an area of 63 acres. It was established by the end of the fifteenth century as a park and summer residence by the family Gučetić. It has been the property of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts since 1948, when it was donated. The Arboretum reserves a very special place among the old Ragusan, Dalmatian and Mediterranean parks due to its five-century-long continuous development from Gothic-Renaissance, Renaissance-Baroque and Romantic forms to the present. It includes a Gothic-Renaissance park surrounding the fifteenth-century summer residence. Its collection of exotic and decorative trees and shrubs includes over 300 species and cultivars. The arboretum passed into Yugoslav state ownership in 1945, and was declared a natural rarity in 1948. Since 1950 it has been managed by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 1962 the Arboretum Trsteno was registered in the list of protected natural monuments list as a monument of landscape architecture. The protected area covers around 255,000 square metres.
Under fire from all sides
On October 2 and 3, 1991, the Serbia -Yugoslav army launched a series of gunboat and air attacks and set the Arboretum ablaze. Most of the Arboretum was destroyed by the fire. Fortunately, the summer residence and the oldest part of the Arboretum were only partially damaged. The arboretum was further severely damaged in 2000 by a forest fire during a drought, when around 120,000 square meters were lost in fire.
In the spirit of the new time, today the Arboretum of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Science in Trsteno is open for visitors again. I have recently visited the Arboretum and the gardens have recovered well from the fires of 2000. The gardens are extremely tranquil and the assortment of trees offers plenty of shade for the wandering guest. After you have spent some time admiring the Arboretum I would suggest dropping down to the coast. There is a marvellous small bay under the gardens and although there isn’t a real beach the rocks give you plenty of swimming opportunities. The whole scene is set by a waterfall that cascades down into the bay refreshingly. In recent years the Arboretum has been the location for the popular television series Game of Thrones.