Fans of a popular TV series have ruined what was once a nice town, say longtime residents of Dubrovnik, Croatia, where “Game of Thrones” is filmed.
“Crowds of tourists clog the entrances to the ancient walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as huge cruise ships unload thousands more daily,” the AP reports. “People bump into each other on the famous limestone-paved Stradun, the pedestrian street lined with medieval churches and palaces, as fans of the popular TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ search for the locations where it was filmed.”
“It’s beyond belief — it’s like living in the middle of Disneyland,” says Marc van Bloemen, who has lived in the city for decades. “We feel sorry for ourselves, but also for them [the tourists] because they can’t feel the town anymore because they are knocking into other tourists. It’s chaos, the whole thing is chaos.”
Dubrovnik has long been known as the jewel of the Adriatic. But now a typical day finds about eight cruise ships visiting the town of 2,500 residents, each ship dumping about 2,000 tourists into the town’s streets.
“The problem is hurting Dubrovnik’s reputation. UNESCO warned last year that the city’s world heritage title was at risk because of the surge in tourist numbers,” the AP reports. “The popular Discoverer travel blog recently wrote that a visit to the historic town ‘is a highlight of any Croatian vacation, but the crowds that pack its narrow streets and passageways don’t make for a quality visitor experience.’”