Dubrovnik, in the extreme south of Croatia, is known as
the Pearl of the Adriatic. A rich and powerful city state until 1806, the
proud city once known as Ragusa has a population of over 120,000. Structural
damage suffered during the siege of 1991 and 1992, at the hands of the Yugoslav
People's Army, has been repaired and visitors once again flock to this tranquil
city, nestled between the Adriatic and Dinaric Alps. A wealth of sites lies
within the walls of the pedestrian-only Old Town.
The golden walled city of Dubrovnik is one of the most celebrated
beauty spots of the Mediterranean. It is a harmonious showcase of art and
civil, religious and military architecture from the Renaissance and Baroque
periods. Ragusa was one of the great trading powers of the eastern Mediterranean
from the Renaissance to the Napoleonic era. Sidelined from history after that,
it was spared ugly industrial development and survived intact, a beautiful
city proud of its history and culture. It became fashionable first as an exotic
winter destination and gained in popularity after the Second World War, when
the inauguration of the Libertas summer festival of classical music, theatre
and drama brought the city to the attention of a wider international public.
During the most recent Balkan war Dubrovnik was repeatedly
bombarded and suffered terrible damage to its marble streets and old roofs.
But its citizens refused to leave, and the city was quickly restored after
the war, to magnificent effect. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is leading
the revival in Croatia’s fortunes as the fashionable Mediterranean destination
of the moment.
The highlight of any visit to Croatia deserves more than
a day or two of your time. As well as walking the ramparts and visiting its
monuments, take the time to stroll at leisure through the old city, enjoying
the bustle and vibrant cultural life of a fashionable Mediterranean resort.
The city is also an excellent base for excursions. Boat trips to islands such
as Mljet and Korcula are easily arranged. Don’t be in a rush to enjoy Dubrovnik.
We wish you a pleasant stay in Dubrovnik and around.
Attraction type: Neighborhood; Scenic/historic
Dubrovnik has a remarkable history. An independent, merchant
republic for 700 years (abolished by Napoleon in 1806), it traded with Turkey
and India in the East (with a consul in Goa, India) and had trade representatives
in Africa (in the Cape Verde Islands). It even had diplomatic relations with
the English court in the middle ages. Its status was such that powerful and
rich Venice was envious of this Croatian-Slav city.
The old town was completed in the 13th century and remains
virtually unchanged to the present day. Tall ramparts surround it and there
are only two entrances to the old town which lead to the Stradun, the city's
promenade. One of the greatest pleasures for many visitors is to have a drink
in one of the nearby cafes and watch the world go by, whilst they themselves
are being watched by the city patron, St. Blaise, or Sveti Vlaho as the locals
call him. In 1991/2, the Serbs shelled the city causing considerable damage,
but thanks to local efforts and international aid, the old town has been restored
to its former beauty.
But whatever we say, our words do not give justice to this dazzling place.
So come soon and see it with your own eyes!
ANCIENT CITY WALLS
Attraction type: Ancient ruins; Scenic/historic walking area; Historic
There’s no better way to appreciate Dubrovnik’s history
and architecture than by traversing the beautiful walls that surround the
Old Town. There are two entrances, but the best (and most popular) is on the
left side of Stradun, just after you enter the city from the Pile Gate (which
is topped by a large Croatian flag.) Entrance costs 30Kn (students 20Kn, children
10Kn) and it’s a good idea to bring something to drink as the two-kilometer
circuit contains many steps and can get quite tiring, particularly in hot
The walls offer outstanding views into the Old Town and
its red-tiled roofs, the Old Port (and the nearby island of Lokrum), and out
to sea, but are also quite a sight unto themselves. For all their present
harmony, they were actually constructed and expanded over the course of four
centuries (from the 1200s to the 1600s) and their sixteen towers reflect a
variety of architectural styles. Many individual fortifications, such as the
Pile Gate (which is mentioned in sources as early as 972 but which was reinforced
in 1461) are even older.
PLACA THOROUGHFARE (STRADUN)
Attraction type: Historic village; Mall; Street
The main east-west thoroughfare is Placa, though locals prefer to call it
Stradun. This is like one long pedestrian plaza, with lots of cafes and touristy
shops. The marble-paved Placa basically splits the old town into two. The
northern part rises up steeply to match the green hills in the background.
The southern half of old Dubrovnik is basically level, as it meets the harbor
The west end of Placa is marked by the large Onofrio Fountain
rotunda (built in 1438) that is a water fountain to grateful sun-baked travelers.
The two Onofrio Fountains at either end of Placa are in essence the "pubs
of Dubrovnik". Just north of the rotunda is the Franciscan Monastery,
significant because it holds a pharmacy and museum that has been functioning
since the 1300's.
Pred Dvorom is a prominent pedestrian street running perpendicular to Placa
at its easternmost point, and is in a sense an extension of Placa.
The Orlando Column (dated 1419) in the center marks the
east end of Placa, with perhaps the finest ensemble of buildings in Dubrovnik.
The arcaded Sponza Palace (built 1441) is the north "wall" of this
square, with the slender clock tower on the east side. Placa officially ends
at the tower, though a smaller serpentine path continues past this eastern
wall to the eastern Ploce Gate.
Attraction type: Architectural building
The Sponza Palace has one of the oldest and most voluminous archives in the
WORLD! It is said to hold 7000 volumes and over 100.000 individual manuscripts
from the Republic including records of travelers, commerce, protocols of the
Councils and all nature of historical political, economic and diplomatic data.
The oldest Archive dates to 1072! Again this is a Gothic-Renaissance combo
like other of Dubrovnik’s facades. It was known for most of its life as 'the
Customs house' for obvious reasons. Fittingly the name Sponza derives from
the word for sponge – as it was here the water was collected from the alluvial
Attraction type: History museum; Historic home; Historic site
The Rector's palace was the centre of government in the
old Dubrovnik Republic.
Mainly built in gothic style this building, simple and harmonic, seems almost
too modest for the once so wealthy Dubrovnik. And that is not at all surprising
as it is consistent with Dubrovnik omnipresent unpretentious style of building
with no exaggerated luxury. Upon entering The Rector's palace one gets the
impression of the past centuries returning and holds breath as if seeing the
Rector himself followed by the members of The Small council (executive governmental
The Rector's palace was built in mid 15th century by the famous Neapolitan
architect Onofrio di Giordano de la Cava who also constructed the Dubrovnik's
water supply system and the famous fountains, Big and Small Onofrio's fountains.
Later when the palace was damaged in 1463 by gunpowder explosion,
it was partly reconstructed by Salvi di Michele and the local craftsman adding
Renaissance elements. Resulting from damage in the Great earthquake in the
year of 1667 the atrium was reconstructed to some extent in baroque style
adding the final touch to the Rector's palace, the way we see it today. The
Rector's palace today is a Cultural Historical Museum featuring authentic
exhibition halls with numerous items from rich Dubrovnik history.