Sunday, 16 June 2024
Doors of Dubrovnik Doors of Dubrovnik Veronica Arevalo

BRAND RDCODE Unveils Another Fascinating Conceptual Tale: 'Doors of Dubrovnik'

Written by  Oct 09, 2023

f we were to view Dubrovnik primarily through its historical doors, which doors of Dubrovnik would come to your mind first? Do you associate them with the imposing style and appearance of Dubrovnik's historical doors, their historical significance or symbolism, the colour of the doors, the buildings they adorn, intriguing ornaments, doorknobs, locks... or is it enough for you that they are in Dubrovnik? When Dubrovnik's historical doors are mentioned, it is usually the doors of the Rector's Palace, Sponza Palace, Pile Gate, or Ploče Gate that come to mind, followed by the doors of religious buildings, perhaps a summer residence. Dubrovnik's doors are not just those adorning famous palaces, religious buildings, former fortifications, city entrances... They are also the doors of former noble houses and palaces, private chapels of Dubrovnik nobility and small churches, houses of merchants and sailors, their former warehouses within the historic core, houses of wealthy commoners, and even ordinary citizens. You would undoubtedly think of some doors in the distinctive dark green colour of Dubrovnik, although there are also doors in dark brown, like the doors of the Rector's Palace or the doors of the Church of St. Roko. Steeped in history and symbolism, Dubrovnik's doors also tell stories of the city's rich past.

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Photo - Veronica Arevalo


Dubrovnik breathes its history every day, but in what way do the historical doors of the city shape the everyday life of present-day Dubrovnik? This is just one of the questions that journalist Renata Debeljak explores in her authorial project 'Doors of Dubrovnik.'

While for years, within her brand RDcode, Renata has been inspired by Dubrovnik's historical doors through various projects, including the art project 'Doors & Bags,' her latest authorial project focuses primarily on the historical and symbolic significance of Dubrovnik's doors, their place and value in the present, artistic and architectural components, as well as various historical research related to these doors, including information about the craftsmen who made them, although many of the historical doors that can be seen in the city today are replicas of the original doors, and some aren't even that.

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Photo - Veronica Arevalo

Renata's conceptual narrative, 'Doors of Dubrovnik,' brought to life through the lens of photographer Veronica Arevalo, captures the uniqueness of these doors while shedding light on their neglect and degradation. - Due to mass tourism, which has either destroyed or significantly damaged the historic core of Dubrovnik, some of the city's historical doors have become almost invisible, insignificant, or completely forgotten in the context of new realities. They serve solely as entrance doors to important institutional buildings of the former Dubrovnik Republic and the present-day city, religious structures, museums, as passageways in the busiest locations of the city, as backdrops for various events, or simply as backgrounds in the vastness of virtual, influencer-driven realities. Some are entirely degraded, despite belonging to the category of cultural monuments, as they have been neglected or have had tables of various restaurants and pizzerias placed next to them, of which there are still too many in the historic core of Dubrovnik, which further emphasizes their historical and artistic insignificance in the present city. Few people pay attention to the importance, meaning, artistic, and historical values of these doors, even fewer to their symbolism. The focus of the public and experts is usually on doors of significant public and religious buildings, while the doors of less important structures and buildings are rather neglected and forgotten," explains Renata Debeljak.

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Photo - Veronica Arevalo

Renata is not only the author of the entire project but also takes us on a tour of some of the most beautiful historical doors in Dubrovnik in the photographs from the 'Doors of Dubrovnik' collection. The photos were deliberately taken in late August when the streets of Dubrovnik are crowded, thus depicting the everyday reality of mass tourism in Dubrovnik, where doors become mere insignificant backdrops.

"The past, richness, purpose, and uniqueness of individual cities are often reflected in their doors. The doors of Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, tell many stories. Some of these stories are yet to be told, while others will forever remain untold and sealed beneath the surfaces of these doors, whether original or replicas, as well as of the past. The present city and those who visit it would rather embrace the imaginary realities of American blockbusters. For years now, the 'holy grail' for tourist profit has been the original iron throne from the 'Game of Thrones' series and tours of locations where the series was filmed, rather than the historical doors that bear witness to the true history of the city," says Renata Debeljak.

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Photo - Veronica Arevalo

"Our historical cities still possess highly valuable doors from their distant past, and Dubrovnik is no exception. In my project, I explore whether Dubrovnik, as one of the significant cities on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979, is truly preserving all these doors from deterioration and oblivion, whether it has made them an important part of its present and future, and what is being done to preserve these doors for future generations. I am on the lookout for any information about historical doors. However, for some doors, there is almost no information available about the year of their creation, craftsmanship, or any other details," adds Renata.

The 'Doors of Dubrovnik' photo collection was created in collaboration with project partners Dubrovnik Event and Ambient Studio. This visual narrative serves as a prelude to a book on the historical doors of Dubrovnik, a video clip, as well as other projects on this topic that Renata is currently working on. All of this is just a part of Renata Debeljak's (@rdcode) much broader multimedia project titled 'Putevima vrata' (Through the Paths of Doors)."

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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