Dubrovnik, a UNESCO world heritage site, is legendary for its renowned historical and cultural sites enclosed within the walls of the old town. It is not a city filled with exquisite shops as so many other European cities are. There are far too many souvenir shops selling tacky junk, most of which are not even produced in Croatia. A small smattering of very expensive designer women clothing are located just off the Stradun, our main promenade. Shops where local artists, wooden carvings and Konavle embroidery which not so very long ago lined the Placa are now gone.
Imagine my joy when I attended the grand opening of the Lapis Lazuli gift shop, just off the main promenade on one of Dubrovnik’s narrow side streets. Opening night was a huge success with an abundance of food filled tables and local Konavle red wine, provided by Nada, owner of the Nava restaurant, one of my favorites for Dalmatian style cooking.
Lapis Lazuli is finally an innovative and original shop with handcrafted jewelry; all designed by owner Katija Bendis, giving tourists an opportunity to find locally made items. Katija is a local woman who has visited the Far East to enhance her knowledge of yoga, spirituality and gemology. She is a trained devotee of yoga and practices the art every day. Her wit and generous knowledge of Dubrovnik and outlying areas has been one of my main sources of intimate awareness of our Dalmatian Riviera.
Now her talent emerges as a designer of jewelry made from gems she has acquired from Italy to India and beyond. Necklaces made from amethyst; turquoises that remind me of our Adriatic sea. Exquisite pink crystal key chains, delicate and imaginative enough I would enjoy their beauty as wall art in my home.
Earlier this month Katija attended an art show of one of our local artists, Jagoda Lasic and now several of her paintings adorn the walls of the boutique, also available for sale. Naturally, I fell in love with Jagoda’s paintings, which are colorful and so expressive.
When entering the old town from the Pile gate entrance, after walking under the arch and standing next to the Onfrio Fountain, locating Lapis Lazuli is quite easy. Walk the Stradun toward the bell tower, with the Franciscan Monastery on your left to the 3rd street on the right hand side. You will see Nava Restaurant and Lapis Lazuli is down just a few meters from the corner. Look for the blue colored lantern hanging above the doorway to this innovative shop.
Do not miss this new addition to Dubrovnik, it is well worth a stop for an “Uspomena” which translated means “Remembrance.” Memories become alive again when touching a special and unique Uspomena and it will bring your time in our exceptional town and a smile to your face.