Old City Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik Was Named "Jewel of the Adriatic"
Situated in the south part of Croatian coastline, Dubrovnik is place that should be added on your 'must-see list'!
The walls of Dubrovnik girdle a perfectly preserved complex of public and private, sacral and secular buildings representing all periods of the City's history, beginning with its founding in the 7th century.
Croatian coastline is beautiful, dotted with bays, beaches, steep cliffs and many forested islands. There is a great variety of flora, predominantly cypress, pine and olive trees, as well as vineyards, lemon and orange plantations - together with aromatic herbs and flowers, including exotic plants such as palm trees, agave and cactus, which create a special atmosphere. Nature lovers will find a true Mediterranean landscape here, while those fond of sailing will discover a wonderful sea and marinas.
Basic Information About Dubrovnik
Name, history, heritage, etc.
Dubrovnik (Dalmatian: Ragusa; Latin: Ragusium, also Rhausium, Rhaugia; Italian: Ragusa) is a city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its population was 43,770 in 2001 down from 49,728 in 1991. In the 2001 census, 88.39% of its citizens declared themselves as Croats.
In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The prosperity of the city of Dubrovnik has always been based on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages, as the Republic of Ragusa, it became the only eastern Adriatic city-state to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries. Ragusa was one of the centres of the development of primarily the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars.
Short History of Dubrovnik, Croatia
Remarkable history of the oldes city-republic in Croatia
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. (There is a letter from Elizabeth I on display in the City Museum in Dubrovnik). 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.
Books about Dubrovnik
Sights You Shouldn't Miss in Dubrovnik
Each corner of Dubrovnik is a unique experience that makes all occasions special.
STARTING AT PILE
Built on a sea-rock at the foot of Mount Srd, the City of Dubrovnik is a perfect example of the medieval system of construction.
The fort raises on the 37-metre high sea cliff outside the city walls. One can approach it from the little Pile beach climbing the flight of stairs in the shadow of pine trees.
Above the entrance is an inscription in Latin language: "NON BENE PRO TOTO LIBERTAS VENDITUR AURO" (Freedom is not sold for all the gold of the world).
Before entering the City, stroll through Pile, and the 19th century seaward promenade Brsalje, the first one constructed outside the city walls, with a cafÃ© and a fountain by sculptor Ivan Rendic.
The simplicity of the main street Placa, called Stradun, reflects the harmony of the entire Old City of Dubrovnik as its greatest treasure. Placa is 298 meters long main street.
THE LARGE ONOFRIO`S FOUNTAIN
Entering the City trough the western entrance you begin the sightseeing with a large polygonal fountain with 16 stone-carved maskerons out of which the water runs.
CONVENT OF ST. CLAIRE
The complex of St. Claire's Convent is situated behind the Large Onofrio's Fountain. One of the best known among eight convents at the time, it was the place where mainly the girls of noble birth were ordained.
ST. SAVIOUR`S CHURCH
Facing the Large Onofrio's Fountain, next to the western city wall with the main entrance, stands one of Dubrovnik's most beautiful churches, the small votive church of St. Saviour.
FRANCISCAN CHURCH AND MONASTERY
The large complex of Franciscan Monastery is situated next to St. Saviour's Church. The interior of the present-day church in Baroque style houses the tomb of Dubrovnik's poet Ivan Gundulic.
Parallel with Placa the street stretches to the east. Today, the majority of buildings in Prijeko are restaurants with attractive gastronomic offer.
THE CHURCH AND CONVENT OF OUR LADY OF SIGURATA
At the very beginning of Prijeko, in Old Sigurate Street stands OUR LADY OF SIGURATA, the convent of The Transfiguration of Christ, founded in the 13th century. The complex includes one of the oldest Pre-Romanesque one-isle chapels from the 11th century in the South Dalmatian style, with a small cupola and apse. The recent research discovered even older layers from the late antique period.
The 17th century convent, which survived till the present-day, guards a rich art collection.
Turning from Prijeko to R. Boskovic Street, you will face the gate that was opened in the city walls in 1907. The street was named after the native house of RUDER BOSKOVIC, Croatia's finest 18th century scientist, physicist, astronomer and poet.
The Synagogue is situated at the end of Prijeko, in Zudioska Street, where Jews lived in the time of the Dubrovnik Republic. They came to Dubrovnik from Spain in the late 15th and early 16th century. Founded in the first half of the 16th century, the Synagogue was badly damaged in the earthquake of 1667.
It now houses valuable furnishings from 16th to 18th century.
ST. NICHOLA`S CHURCH
Situated at the very end of Prijeko Street, this is one of the oldest 11th century Pre-Romanesque churches, the parts of which were later restored in Baroque style.
DOMINICAN CHURCH AND MONASTERY
The construction of the complex began in 1301 on the City's most vulnerable strategic spot, which soon became a part of the defence system, and was later encircled by city walls. The exterior and interior of the Church both reveal a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance style, and so do the vestry and treasury, with the tombs of Dubrovnik aristocracy.
Walking by the Revelin Fort wall one reaches the City's easternmost point, the Ploce Gate leading to the suburban area of the same name. Above the Ploce Gate stands a stone statue of St. Blaise, the City's patron. This is the present-day gateway to the hotels and beaches at Ploce.
Revelin Fort was built outside the city walls, and is partially included into the defence complex of the Ploče Gate. The well-known Renaissance craftsman Ivan Rabljanin kept the foundries for casting cannons and bells in the large Fort interior. Today, the spacious fort terraces serve as venues for various performances of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
LUZA, THE CITY-BELL TOWER
Walking back by the same route and through the Custom's Gate, you return to the eastern side of Placa (Stradun), the centre of all events in the Old City. Above the Gate is the 15th century LUZA, restored in 1952. Next to it raises THE CITY BELL-TOWER with a clock built in 1444. The founder Ivan Rabljanin cast its large bell in 1506.
Westwards from the Bell-Tower stands the exquisite Customs Palace Divona, called Sponza, built in Dubrovnik's specific Gothic-Renaissance style. The Palace that also served as the mint and arsenal, was constructed in the 16th century. The following inscription can be read on the main wall: FALLERE NOSTRAVETANT; ET FALL PONDERE: MEQVE PONDERO CVM MERCES PONDERAT IPSE DEUS (We are forbidden to cheat or falsify measures, and when I weigh goods, God himself is weighing them with me).
THE CITY GUARD / SMALL ONOFRIO FOUNTAIN
Next to the Bell-Tower is the City Guard building (19), the Admiral's residence from the 15th century. Today this is the entrance to a cinema hall. The Small Onofrio Fountain stands in a niche on the City Guard fasade. Designed by Onofrio della Cava in 1446, it was put up on the eastern part of Placa (Stradun) after the construction the public water supply in 1438.
MAJOR COUNCIL PALACE
The Great Council Palace, built in the 14th century, was initially situated between the City Bell-Tower and the Rector's Palace. Adjacent to the Palace in the east were a large arsenal and the storehouse for goods and grain. Today it is the administrative centre of the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
Put up in 1418, Orlando's Column, with the statue of this Medieval knight in armour, stands in the square formed by Sponza Palace, St. Blaise's Church and the Bell-Tower. It presents Roland, the 8th century knight who became a legend owing to the Medieval epic Chanson de Roland. According to a legend, Roland saved Dubrovnik from the Saracens and defeated them near the Island Lokrum.
ST. BLAISE`S CHURCH
The Romanesque church of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise, was damaged in the earthquake of 1667, and destroyed by fire in 1706. In 1715 Venetian architect Marino Gropelli constructed the completely new present-day church in Venetian Baroque style. According to Dubrovnik chronicles, St. Blaise has been the patron saint of Dubrovnik since 972.
THE RECTOR`S PALACE
One of the most significant monuments of profane architecture on the Croatian coast, the Rector's Palace, was the administrative centre of the Dubrovnik Republic. Its style is basically Gothic, with the Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions. It is the only public monument that the Dubrovnik Republic put up for a meritorious citizen. Today the Rector's Palace houses the Cultural-historic Department of the Dubrovnik Museum with exhibition halls arranged to display the original setting with antique furniture and objects for daily use, as well as paintings by local and Italian masters. The Museum also guards a collection of old coins used in the Dubrovnik Republic, a collection of arms and utensils of Domus Christi Pharmacy from the 15th century. Apart from being exceptionally beautiful, the Rector's Palace Atrium has excellent acoustics, and is often used as a concert venue.
THE CATHEDRAL OF ASSUMPTION
The present-day Cathedral in the Roman Baroque style was designed in 1713. According to a legend, the construction of the 12th century Romanesque Cathedral was financially supported by English king Richard Coeur de Lion, who suffered shipwreck near the Island of Lokrum on his way back from the 3rd Crusade. Archaeological excavations after the earthquake of 1979 revealed the foundations of the oldest and, by that time, unknown large pre-Romanesque 11th century Cathedral, with frescoes and traces of its older 10th century phase.
THE CITY HARBOUR
One of the oldest parts of the City was built around the Late Antique castle by the sea, which stretched landwards a bit more than it does today, on the site of the pre-Romanesque Cathedral and the later Rector's Palace, encircling the City Harbour.
Walking towards the eastern entrance to the City one faces the Lazaretto Complex at Ploce. The eastern suburb Ploce used to be the meeting place of merchants' caravans and travellers from the Ottoman Empire. Today, the Lazarettos serve manifold purposes such as recreation, trade and entertainment.
Walking from the City Harbour along the Street of Damjan Juda you find yourselves in PUSTJERNA, the oldest area of the City. Worth seeing in the side streets of Pustjerna are the beautiful 17th century Baroque Church of OUR LADY OF KARMEN and several fine residential buildings such as the 15th century RANJINA PALACE in Gothic style and the 16th century SKOCIBUHA PALACE in Renaissance style.
JESUIT CHURCH OF ST. IGNATIUS
The Church was constructed from 1658 - 1725 according to the design of architect Andrea Pozzo. The fine facade and interior both reveal the predominance of Baroque style. The apse is the work of Spanish painter Gaetano Garcia, presenting the scenes from the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of Jesuit Order.
The building adjacent to the Church is the famous Dubrovnik college COLLEGIUM RAGUSINUM. The building now houses a classical grammar school. The old library includes over 10.000 volumes with valuable incunabula and manuscripts by Dubrovnik writers.
Having descended one half of the Baroque stairway and turning left along Strossmayer Street, you will pass by the Art School building, the former St. Catherine's Convent, with the remnants of pre-Romanesque Church of St. Peter. The RUPE GRANARY is a plain building with storeroom. The 15 pits, cut into the live rock under the building, were used as grain storage. It now houses the Ethnographic Museum.
CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS
Walking from the Rupe Granary down Domino Street, you will find yourselves in Siroka Street, the widest street in the southern part of the City, leading to Placa. A little 17th century Church of All Saints (Domino Church) is situated there, with the remnants from the 11th century.
CHURCH OF ST. ROCH
In the nearby Za Rokom Street stands the beautiful 16th century CHURCH OF ST. ROCH built in Renaissance style. This lively area is crowded with little restaurants and children playing in the street. A long time ago, someone irritated by the noise carved the following inscription on the side wall of St. Roch's Church: PAX. VOBIS. MEMENTO MORI QOI. LUDETIS PILLA 1597 (Peace be with you. Remember of dying, you who play with the ball).
The city ramparts are considered to be one of the most grandiose fortification monuments in Europe, and are an example of how fort architecture developed. The first fortifications were built already in the 8th century, but the most intense construction took place from the mid-15th to the end of the 16th century. The ramparts are 22 metres high in places, and from 4 to 6 m. thick on the landward side and from 1-1/2 to 3 m. thick on the seaside. In front of the main wall on the mainland side is an outer wall with 10 semi-circular bastions, in front of which used to be a moat. The main wall has 14 quadrangular and 2 circular towers, 2 angular fortifications and 4 bastions.
There are three entrances to the city ramparts: on Stradun by the Pile gate, by Fort St. John's and at the Custom's House gate.
Dubrovnik Travel Guides
How To Have Fun In Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik is a city with a rich cultural supply
Dubrovnik is a famous cultural center. The exceptional historical value of its numerous churches and other sacral buildings, city ramparts and fortresses, museums...enchant everyone visiting this ancient city. The traditional Â«Dubrovnik Summer FestivalÂ» stands out from the many exhibitions, concerts, theatrical shows, and other various festivals as its numerous concerts and theatrical plays are held in various parts of the city under open skies.
DUBROVNIK SUMMER FESTIVAL
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is one of the most significant cultural events in Dubrovnik, which lasts each year from July 10th to August 25th since 1950.
The Festival starts with an opening ceremony in the area in front of the Sponza Palace, where costumed actors symbolically seek the permission of the Dubrovnik Count to enter the City, accompanied by the sounds of the Hymn to Freedom by Jakov Gotovac and the verses by Ivan Gundulic, and the raising of the Festival flag on Orlando's Column. The entire city and numerous tourists participate merrily with songs and dance until the early morning hours during this festive night, called Â«Dubrovnik NightÂ».
During the 45-day Festival, the city's indoor and outdoor areas are turned into stages where top national and foreign artists carry out the plays and musical works of important national and international writers and composers.
LIBERTAS FILM FESTIVAL
The Libertas Film Festival takes place during the summer, showing independently produced movies and documentaries. The showings are held in the Â«SlobodaÂ» Cinema in Dubrovnik, the Marin Držić Theatre, the renovated summer Â«JadranÂ» Cinema within the city walls and the summer cinema atop Fort Revelin.
The Â«LindjoÂ» Folklore Ensemble has been in Dubrovnik - a city of stone, light, art, history, harmony, tradition and beauty for already forty years. The first guest appearance was in Italy in 1966. Throughout its history, Lindjo has successfully represented Dubrovnik and Croatia in Italy, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, USA, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay... In 1973, in the French city of Dijon, they won a golden chain for dancing and a golden record for performing folk music, whereby Lindjo was ranked among the best folklore ensembles in Europe.
The Julian Rachlin and Friends Festival is a festival of chamber music that has been traditionally held at the end of summer in the atrium of the Rector's Palace since the year 2000.
RE-AKCIJA, AN URBAN CULTURE FESTIVAL
Re-Akcija is an urban culture festival organized by the Association of Orlando Youth during the summer months. Many concerts, projections, exhibitions, shows and musical programs are held during Re-Akcija.
OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE FUN
If you are looking for entertainment, the best place is the old historical center where you will find many coffee shops, restaurants, pizzerias, lounge bars, clubs and other similar facilities that frequently offer live music.
During the summer months, the Mediterranean outdoor lifestyle is best expressed in Dubrovnik. By strolling around the city, you will discover many street performers, and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board also organizes numerous open-air concerts, exhibitions, and folklore shows. There are two disco clubs at the east and west entrances to the city, where you can be entertained into the early morning hours.
In the Bay of Lapad during the summer months, besides the numerous cafes, you can also enjoy live music and dance on the terraces of nearby hotels next to the sea.
- Dubrovnik summer festival
Official site of Dubrovnik Summer festival
- Dubrovnik Simphony Orchestra
The intensified development of the musical culture in Dubrovnik started in the 16th century. DSO continues this long and significant musical tradition of Dubrovnik Orchestra which was founded in 1924.
- LIBERTAS Film Festival, Dubrovnik, Croatia
4th Annual Libertas Film Festival will be held June 27th to July 2nd, 2008 in the beautiful old town of Dubrovnik, 'The Pearl of Adritic', a city built in the 7th century, surrounded by protection walls and listed as the World Heritage UNESCO site.
- Lindjo - folklore ansamble
For 40 – years the folklore ensamble Lindjo has been a living part of Dubrovnik, - the city of stone, sunshine, art, history, tradition and beauty.
- Festival Julian Rachlin & Friends 2008 - Dubrovnik Croatia
The story of the Festival Julian Rachlin & Friends began in 2000 during maestro Julian Rachlin's performance at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. It was love at first sight that he felt for Dubrovnik and an idea was born about a music festival that
“There cannot be better venues in the world in which to perform early music than the Rector's Palace Dubrovnik” (Catherine Mackintosh)
- Dubrovnik Tourist board
Daily event calendar
Sports and Recreation In & Outside of Dubrovnik - Everyone can finds something that appeals him in Dubrovnik
Are you looking for a unique diving experience, high adrenalin water skiing or para-sailing or do you prefer a more relaxed holiday and romantic sailing or unwinding in some Wellness center.
Dubrovnik can offer you all of the above.
- SPORTS FISHING - Before you go off to fish, you must obtain a license that will allow you to enjoy sports-recreational fishing. You can fish along the entire Adriatic Sea region , but there are special limitations regarding national parks (Kornati, Brijuni, Krka and Mljet) and some smaller localities.
- DIVING - There are a few wrecks next to Dubrovnik, the attractive Elaphite archipelago, colonies of red coral do still exist in places, and there are a few wrecks from antiquity (amphoras and pythos - granary storage) in the Cavtat region.
- WINDSURFING - A destination for surfers lies in the Korcula channel between the Peljesac Peninsula on the Dubrovnik Riviers and Korcula Island.
- NATURE AREAS - FKK or nudist beaches can be found on the surrounding islands, as well as on the southern part of Lokrum Island - a natural beach on the most eastern tip of Lokrum Island, accessible by boat from the Dubrovnik harbor.
- HUNTING - There are 23 county and 7 state hunting areas over 167,000 ha of hunting grounds, managed by 17 hunting associations that are under the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Hunting Association.
- KAYAK - A crystal clear and warm sea, numerous small bays and beaches make kayaking along the Adriatic the best in Europe.
- HORSEBACK RIDING - You can ride in nearby Konavle east of Dubrovnik (riding school, recreational terrain or group rides, ATV safari).
- BEACH RECREATION - Most hotels and most public beaches offer sports-recreation activities and water sports rentals. Enjoy yourself playing volleyball and badminton on sand, have a ride with a parachute, boat, banana or tire tube, try a jet-ski, kayak, pedal-boat or water-skiing...
- BICYCLING - Combining cruises with cycling around the islands is gaining in popularity. A special adventure is a one-day trip by boat and bicycle to the island of Mljet, which is also a national park. If you do not have your own bicycle, you can use the rent-a-bike service in the national park.
- WELLNESS - Indulge and relax yourself at hotel Wellness Centers in Dubrovnik.
What Else Can You Visit On Your Trip To Dubrovnik?
Island of Lokrum
A historical walk up and down the streets of Dubrovnik would not be complete without visiting the island of Lokrum that can be reached by a small ship departing from the old city harbour. It should have been an everlasting natural imagination that located this eternally green small island of the romantic beauty and rich cultural heritage in front of such a unique city as Dubrovnik is. Lokrum is one of the most attractive excursion spots because of its amazing linking between pine woods, exotic subtropical plants in the botanic garden, shaded walking paths, beautiful bays and bathingplaces and a gorgeous view on Dubrovnik, on one side, and interminable open sea, on the other side. In the middle of the exotic park there is a Benedictine Monastery from the 12th century which was turned into a summer residence of the Austrian duke Maximillian of Habsburg who owned the whole island. Today there are a biological institute and a natural history museum within its walls. The Fort Royal, today's belvedere, was built on the top of the island during the French occupation. A special attraction of Lokrum is its small salt lake called the "dead sea" which is a children's favourite bathing-place. Today Lokrum is a protected natural park.
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The Elaphite Islands or the Deer Islands consist of thirteen larger and smaller islands: Daksa, Kolocep, Sveti Andrija, Lopud, Ruda, Sipan, Misjak, Jakljan, Kosmec, Golec, Crkvine, Tajan and Olipa and many other reefs and islets. They are called the Deer Islands because their reefs, bays and isthmuses are spread so as if they were magnificently ramified deer horns. Only three of those beautiful pearls in the dark blue and clear sea are inhabited: Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan.
Croatia - Culture Smart!
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.
There are many beautiful spots in the world, but when you visit Dubrovnik and its Riviera you are simply astonished by its beauty. Each of picturesque settlement has its own beauty, rich history and preserved traditional way of life. Having a warm southern climate, its gentle Mediterranean vegetation and gardens full of oranges, lemons, fig trees and locust-trees reflect in the clear, dark blue sea that fill numerous bays along its coast. Besides this natural beauty and rich history there are many historical and cultural monuments and buildings. This area is known after its tradition and gastronomical offer that make it even more attractive.
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Zupa Dubrovacka and its picturesque townships Kupari, Srebreno, Mlini, Soline and Plat, lie a mere 6 kms from Dubrovnik's historic centre. The hilly chain from its north descends steeply into the wide valley filled with sub-tropical vegetation and an array of villages close to and on the very rim of Zupa Bay. It has united an abundance of uniquely natural gifts into a small area, which certainly makes it one of the most beautiful of the Dubrovnik Riviera resorts. The famous Adriatic Sea justifies its claim in the blue depths of its bays and numerous sandy and pebbly beaches.
Konavle is the southernmost region of Croatia, an area of particular natural beauty and unique contrasts: mountains and plains, hills and valleys, blue sea and green woods. Bordered by the Konavle Mountains on the north, and the Adriatic Sea on the south, this area stretches from Bokokotorska Bay and the Prevlaka peninsula on the east to the peaceful bays of Obod and Cavtat on the west.
Cavtat is the site of the ancient Greek settlement of Epidaurus, from which the original settlers of Dubrovnik migrated after an earthquake. This small medieval town on the southern edge of Croatian coast sits in a picturesque bay enclosed by two peninsulas: Rat and Sustjepan. Cavtat abounds in rich cultural and historic sites, which should not be missed.
Island of Mljet - National Park
The island of Mljet is often called a "green island" because of its lush vegetation. It is the largest island of the Dubrovnik Archipelago. Its beauty consists of the most beautiful beaches that make an amazing contrast with steep rocks, caves and cliffs.
Its two lakes - Greater and Lesser Lake - are worldwide known natural phenomenon. They are separated from the sea by a narrow isthumus. There is a small island called St. Mary with a 12th century Benedictine Monastery in the Greater Lake. The monastery was built in the renaissance style.
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