THE BLOG
08/16/2013 11:12 am ET | Updated Oct 16, 2013

Letter From Croatia: Ston Walled

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Modern man's full of inner defenses. The world of Franz Kafka is one in which inner states of mind take the form of impenetrable fortresses like The Castle. But these are merely projections. Ston a city whose name mirrors its function is an example of how man fortified himself in medieval times. It's the Great Wall of Croatia--and the longest fortified wall in Europe. Of course during the cold war there were the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall. However, these mechanisms of crowd control involved electronic surveillance and primarily barbed wire and electricity. Ston, which dates back to 1333 protected the nearby Ragusian salt works which themselves emanate from Roman times. During that period of history Dubrovnik, itself famous for its massive battlements, was a City State (visitors to Dubrovnik today walk its 2 km wall). And Ston was acquired since it was deemed to be so essential for the survival of the local economy. Today tourists ascend the old Ston wall and from sea level they look a little like Gregor Samsa, the man turned into an insect in Kafka's famed Metamorphosis. The walls of Ston are still providing protection in the form of perspective, chastening against the delusion that man is the master of his own fate.

(Photograph of Ston Wall by Hallie Cohen)

{This was originally posted to The S creaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, culture and art}