According to mathgeneral, the old town of Dubrovnik, the »Pearl of the Adriatic«, illustrates the importance of the settlement founded in the 7th century, which as a city republic was an important trading power in the Middle Ages. The mighty city walls encompass a unique historical ensemble from Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, such as B. the port fortress Sveti Ivan, the Mincetaturm, the Savior and the Franciscan Church, the Onofrio Fountain, the Stradum (Placa) or the Sponza Palace.
Dubrovnik Old Town: Facts
|Official title:||Old town of Dubrovnik|
|Cultural monument:||Old town of the »Pearl of the Adriatic«, among others. with up to 6 m thick and 25 m high city wall, the port fortress Sveti Ivan, the round Minceta tower, the Pile and Ploce gates, with the Redeemer and Franciscan Church and monastery complex, the Great Onofrio Fountain, the Stradum (Placa), the Roland Column (1418), the humanistic Collegium Ragusianum and the Sponza Palace|
|Country:||Croatia, Dalmatian coast|
|Appointment:||1979, expanded 1994; Because of the destruction suffered in 1991, the city was on the Red List of World Heritage in Danger from 1991 to 1998|
|Meaning:||once an important maritime power and »pearl of the Adriatic« with architectural evidence of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Naming: Dubrovnik from the Slavic »Dubrava« for »oak forest«|
Old town of Dubrovnik: history
|7th century||Founding of the city by displaced persons from the destroyed Epidaurum|
|1205-1358||Part of the Doge Republic of Venice|
|1351||House pharmacy of the Franciscan monastery, the oldest pharmacy in Europe|
|1358-1808||Free Republic of Ragusa|
|1408||Construction of the synagogue|
|1438||Large Onofrio fountain with 16 gargoyles as the end of a 12 km long aqueduct|
|1462||Reconstruction of the Rector’s Palace|
|1671-1713||Construction of the cathedral|
|1815||Part of the Austrian Danube Monarchy|
|1919||Change of name from Ragusa to Dubrovnik|
|12/9/1991||Bombardment by the Yugoslav Air Force, a third of the historic buildings were destroyed or damaged|
|1994||Restoration with the support of UNESCO|
The pearl of the Adriatic
“We don’t sell freedom for all the gold in the world” was the philosophy of life of the Dubrovnik people for several centuries, who did not want anyone to dispute their “pearl on the Adriatic”. This endeavor succeeded up to the beginning of the 19th century, and the walled city also retained its charm in the period that followed. “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik,” recommended the Irish playwright George Bernhard Shaw.
According to legend, refugees from the city of Epidaurum, today’s Cavtat, which was destroyed by the Slavs and Avars, founded a rapidly growing settlement on a small rocky island in the 7th century, later Ragusa and today’s Dubrovnik. In the following period, the island town with its originally Romanesque population united with a Slavic settlement on the nearby mainland, so that a separating narrow canal could be filled in. On this the wide boulevard Placa arose. Through trade with the hinterland, the place soon attained considerable wealth, which it was not necessary to defend by military means alone, but above all by clever tactics, by bribery and by paying tribute. This “rocking policy” ensured the city trade privileges and extensive independence from its overpowering neighbors, the Hungarian-Croatian kings, the Venetians and the Ottoman Empire. Looking at the almost two kilometer long city walls one could get the impression that the Maritime Republic of Ragusa was a warlike state. Most of the time, however, the ruling noble city fathers succeeded in remaining neutral during the conflicts between the neighbors and continuing to pursue profitable businesses. The merchant navy numbered over 200 ships, in the 15th and 16th centuries a competition for Venice and Genoa that should not be underestimated. However, since the city lacked ocean-going ships and new trading bases, it missed the developments in overseas trade in the period that followed.
If you enter Dubrovnik at the Pile Gate, you will find Placa, probably the most famous street in the city, at the domed Great Onofrio Fountain. Over the course of time, millions of shoe soles have transformed the paving stones made of light limestone into mirror-smooth, sun-reflecting “marble slabs”. The evenly designed, elegant, if quite simple houses on this promenade were built after the great earthquake of 1667 without neat balconies and sweeping bay windows.
At the eastern end of the busy street, near the old harbor, there is a magnificent, richly decorated ensemble, which consists of the Sponza Palace, formerly the customs, mint and treasury, the city tower, the main guard and the Roland column, the symbol of free trading cities, consists. The baroque St. Blaise Church rises on its south side, in which the gilded silver statue of the city patron is kept, who holds the city model in his hand. This structure is rounded off by the cathedral and the Rector’s Palace. The mayor, known as the “Rector,” lived and worked in this fortress-like building, whose term of office was only one month at a time.
Above the colorful market square, the Scalinata, an elegant staircase, which on warm summer evenings is also reminiscent of the Spanish Steps in Rome, leads to the Jesuit Church. From here you can see the tightly packed, uniform roofs of Dubrovnik, from which only a few churches and monasteries stand out. In fact, you won’t find a Garden of Eden here, but a uniquely beautiful city on the deep blue Adriatic Sea.