Bland souvenir shops are gradually taking over Dubrovnik’s main thoroughfares, and if you really think that a ceramic mug bearing the word ‘Dubrovnik’ is going to look good in someone’s kitchen cupboard back home, then you certainly won’t have too much trouble finding one.
Those with both taste and the time to exercise it will find a huge range of traditional crafts, sold either by street sellers or in characterful stores in the narrow alleys of the Old Town.
One of the most authentic local products is jewellery.
It was traditionally around Zlatarska ulica (Goldsmiths’ Street) that the main jewellery workshops were to be found, although these days they are more randomly scattered throughout the Old Town. What hasn’t changed is that the jewellery sold in the filigree shops has often been made on the premises by local artisans, using traditional folk designs as inspiration. Especially attractive are traditional earrings in gold or silver filigree, and large hoop- or drop-earrings adorned with baubles.
Konavle, the region southeast of Dubrovnik, produces a distinctive style of embroidery, rich in brightly coloured geometric shapes. Dazzling white blouses with intricately embroidered borders were once a standard form of female attire, and items like these can still be picked up on souvenir stalls. Konavle embroidery is also used to decorate more modern items such as tablecloths and handkerchiefs.
Dubrovnik’s souvenir shops also sell a great deal of quality products that are common to the whole of Croatia, especially food-and-drink items such as natural honey, olive oil and herb-flavoured rakijas. One of the best places to pick up these is the daily outdoor market on Gundulićeva poljana, although most delicatessens in town also carry a good selection.