It could be argued that Gundulić Square is at the very heart of life in the historic walled city. Dominated by a statue to one of the city’s most famous poets, the square has a busy life, transforming itself like a chameleon many times throughout the day.
As the sun rises over the terracotta roofs the square awakens to the sound of barrow loads of fruit and vegetables bouncing over the stone cobbles. The “green market”, as the locals call it, offers freshly picked produce as well as jars of homemade jams, pickles and spices. Up until midday there is a constant flow of bartering and business and then a few minutes before the bell tower rings twelve times a new sound fills the square.
One…two…ten…thirty, in what looks like a reincarnation of a Hitchcock movie pigeons descend and perch expectedly from every nook and overhang. Gutters, cables and rooftops are a sea of black and grey.
And as the final bell echoes across the city the flock glides down into the once busy market. The reason for this invasion soon became aware – feeding time. The birds are fed with a bucket full of corn whose contents are sown all over the square. Children scream in a mixture of fear and excitement, tourists mimic paparazzi as if they’d just seen the Hollywood celebrities and locals swat their arms over their heads.
The feeding frenzy lasts for just a few short minutes and then normality is restored. Every day, come rain or shine, the city’s pigeons are feed in Gundulić Square and always at exactly the same time. In fact the city council of Dubrovnik actually pays for the bucket of corn that’s spread over the stone square. As the last feathers blow away the square enters it afternoon phase, the clink of coffee cups and the popping of wine corks can be heard as Dubrovnik’s alfresco lunch time takes over.