Explore the top historical spots of Dubrovnik, the once rich Republic of Ragusa. During your personalized trip to Croatia, travel back in time and envision what it was like to live during the Renaissance period.
Pearl of the Adriatic
Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most eminent historical destinations. Once known as the aristocratic Ragusa Republic, its origins stem from the 7th century. Attractions such as the medieval city walls and fortifications are paired with decorous baroque churches and aristocratic palaces. They stand as a testament of time to this renowned republic. In the early 19th century the Napoleon launched its conquering campaign across Europe. Upon his arrival to the Adriatic, the Ragusa Republic formally ceased to exist. The entire town overlooks the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
City Walls and Towers
Dubrovnik’s 13th century old city walls are almost 2 kilometers in length. They take you around the entire perimeter of the Old Town center in less than 2 hours. During this magic stroll you will experience the mesmerizing views of Lokrum and Elaphiti islands. The walk along the city walls provides magnificent sights of multiple towers. Tower Minčeta is located to the north, Bokar to the west, Sveti Ivan (St. John) to the southeast and Fort Revelin to the east. Fort Lovrijenac is located on the crag outside of the town walls.
Stradun is the main pedestrian street stretching from the old harbour in the east to the Pile Gate in the west. Ancient palaces, churches, monasteries and monuments as well as Onofrio fountain and Orlando’s column, can be seen along this street’s path. A vast number of dining venues, bars and boutique shops are located on Stradun. In the summer, the street becomes one of the viewing locations for the prominent stage plays and cultural events, such as Libertas Film Festival and Dubrovnik Summer Games. Stradum is a true pulse of this vibrant city.
This magnificent tower rises 37 meters above the sea cliff and is surrounded by the century old pine trees. It is located outside the city walls, contains a quadrilateral court with mighty arches and 3 terraces with powerful parapets and 10 cannons. The fort is accessible by a flight of stairs facing the Pile beach.
Fort Lovrijenac is commonly regarded as Dubrovnik’s own version of Gibraltar. As such it is a symbol of resistance and freedom, built during the times when Dubrovnik had been experiencing the military threats from the Venetian Republic. Venice was the former economic and military powerhouse in the Mediterranean. Above the entrance to the fort is an inscription in Latin: Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro (Freedom is not sold for all the gold of the world).
The fort houses a chapel of St. Lawrence, and its courtyard serves as a magical venue for the world theatrical performances, including the world famous setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
The Republic of Ragusa cultivated good relations with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope throughout history. As a result, there were series of loyalty demonstration examples to Catholicism. Dubrovnik had inviting powerful religious orders to the city, such as the Dominicans, Jesuits and the Franciscans. Prior to the famous 1667 earthquake, there were a total of 47 churches in town. Consenquently, the current list of impressive churches includes Dubrovnik Synagogue, Church of St. Blaise, Church of St. Dominic and Dubrovnik Cathedral.
Dubrovnik Synagogue was established in the 14th century. It is the world’s oldest Sefardic synagogue still in use today and the second oldest synagogue in Europe. Located among the narrow streets of the Old Town, it is owned by the local Jewish community. It acts as a city museum hosting old artifacts and ritual items.
Dubrovnik’s most eminent church is dedicated to St. Blaise (Sveti Vlaho), the city’s patron saint. The church has survived the famous Dubrovnik earthquake of 1667. Also, in 1991 it had also endured the shelling of the Yugoslav Army during the Croatian War of Independence. The Church of the Assumption of Mary (Dubrovnik Cathedral) and the Church of St. Dominic are traditional sacral edifices in Dubrovnik. As such, they offer a unique perspective into the city’s history and architecture.
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