Old Town Walls Basketball Courts – Dubrovnik, Croatia - Atlas Obscura

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Old Town Walls Basketball Courts

Picturesque basketball courts sheltered by historical defensive walls and with an enviable sea view. 

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Sports are a big deal in Croatia. The city of Split has a walkway dedicated to its Olympic medalists, as it claims to have the most winners per capita of any city in the world. The Croatian men’s football team is renowned for its 21st-century successes, including second and third place finishes in recent FIFA World Cups. Handball and water polo have also been a source of championships and Olympic golds for the men, while the women have come close in volleyball. All this along with the home-grown sport of picigin. And then there’s basketball.

Yugoslavia was a basketball powerhouse, and following the country’s dissolution in the early 1990s, Serbia would eventually become the successor team, inheriting the titles of the former socialist republic. The Croatian/Serbian sociopolitical rivalry extends to sport, where the more successful Serbian team routinely takes the lead in basketball. Croatia’s population and therefore player base is a bit over half of Serbia’s, but this is often little comfort to the fans.

The Croatian men’s team’s debut in the 1992 Olympics gave them their best result to date, a silver medal. The rest of the decade went well, with a few bronzes in the World Championship and EuroBasket. Since then, they have continued to be successful for the country’s size, but without matching its early golden age.

The growing popularity of the 3x3 format of basketball, an Olympic sport since 2020, may give Croatia another field in which to achieve greatness. These courts in Dubrovnik already seem poised for the challenge. The limited space and shape of the grounds made a rectangular full court unfeasible, so instead it is set up into 3x3 courts. Meanwhile, the local club KK Dubrovnik plays on the full-sized court of the city’s arena, located in Lapad.

Walking along the walls, you will still be able to spot a full-sized court, colored blue, this one seems to belong to a school and is not publicly accessible. In 2022, Architectural Digest ranked the Old City 3x3 courts among the world’s “best designed.”

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