Among all of Dubrovnik's white marble spires, there is the bell tower. You can only see into it from atop the city walls, floating above the streets, at eye level with the red-tile roofs for which the city is famous. We take the walk along the walls just before they close, at sunset, with the Chilean travel writer. We shared a taxi with him from the station.

The walls that contain the old city of Dubrovnik, that keep it from dropping into the sea or crawling back up the mountain, were useless in 1991 during the war; centuries of combat technology were made obsolete in an instant. Ten-foot walls could not have stopped bombs dropped from above, right on the heads of Dubrovnik's citizens, right through the roof tiles. The people who ordered the attack on Croatia's loveliest city were tried with war crimes, for half-crushing Byron's pearl.

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  • Laura Motta

    I'm a New York City-based writer and editor who loves to travel, whether abroad or just around the corner from my apartment. I …

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