Dubrovnik. History and sights of the “Pearl of the Adriatic

Dubrovnik is the most visited tourist attraction in Croatia and has been added to the UNESCO list of tourist attractions for its historical and cultural value. The medieval center is full of monuments and narrow streets, and the abundance of cathedrals and palaces shows the architectural splendor of Croatia.

It is a port city located in southern Croatia, with a population of about 43,000 people. It is rightly called the “Pearl of the Adriatic” because of its pleasant climate and subtropical vegetation.

History of the City

Dubrovnik was founded by refugees from the nearby Greco-Roman colony of Cavtat, later settled by Slavs. The area is called the oak woods. The two settlements later merged to form the Republic of Dubrovnik, which at one time rivaled even the mighty medieval Venice. The city was a center not only for trade but also for art, and many Croatian writers, scholars and cultural figures lived here.

Dubrovnik is the most visited tourist town in Croatia. It’s full of old buildings, narrow streets and the flavor of old Europe

Dubrovnik city walls

Dubrovnik is noted for its system of fortresses. The walls surrounding the Old City are 6 metres thick and almost 2 kilometers long. They were built in the 18th and 17th centuries because of the threat of Turkish and Venetian expansion. The walls offer a beautiful view of the Elaphiti Islands near the coast.

The city walls are complemented by 15 defensive towers, bastions and individual fortresses. Among them, the 11th century Bokar Fortress is worth seeing, which is the oldest preserved building of its kind in Europe; the 16th century Revelin Fortress; and the Lovrijenac Fortress on the sea cliffs, where Game of Thrones was filmed.

The famous fortress of Lovrijenac in Croatia

Lovrijenac Fortress is remembered by tourists and TV viewers as the Red Castle from Game of Thrones.

Pils gates

The main entrance to the walls is inside the Pile Gate, which is adorned by a statue of St.. Blasius, the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Behind the Pila Gates is the 15th century Great Onofrio Fountain, which served as the city’s drinking water reservoir. On the square with the fountain is the monastery of St. Clara, which from the 15th century functioned as an orphanage and was the first institution of its kind in the world. There’s also one of the three oldest pharmacies in Europe, preserved since 1317.

Pile Gates. Dubrovnik sights

The main entrance to the city walls behind the Pile Gates

The important streets of Dubrovnik

The center of the social life during the times of the Republic was Lu┼ża square, which can be reached through the historic street Stradun.

On the square you can see the statue of Roland, from which used to be read public proclamations, the Small Onofrio Fountain and the magnificent Gothic and Renaissance Sponza Palace.

The historic center of Dubrovnik is the 'Pearl of the Adriatic'

The central street of Dubrovnik with many stores and restaurants

Sponza Palace

The palace, built in the 16th century, was for a long time the residence of the Prince. The building is Gothic with Renaissance elements.

In 1667 the Sponza Palace was badly damaged by an earthquake. The reconstruction lasted for 30 years. At one time, in addition to the residence of the prince, the building housed a mint, bank, customs office, armory and reservoir.

Dubrovnik. Sponza Palace

16th century Gothic and Renaissance elements in the monumental Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik

Dominican Monastery

The Monastery of St. Dominic is another picturesque sightseeing place of Dubrovnik. There is a museum on the territory, where you can see a 16th century painting by Titian with Mary Magdalene and the angel Raphael. Around the monastery is a quiet grove of citrus trees.

Church of St. Dominic in a Dominican monastery

Natural Sights of Dubrovnik

Of the natural treasures of the city we would like to note the Arboretum of Trsteno from the 15th century, which is one of the oldest in the world. Another green oasis – Gradac Park. By the way, Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding feast from “Game of Thrones” was shot here.

Trsteno. Botanical Garden in Croatia (Dubrovnik)Trsteno, one of the largest botanical gardens in Croatia, built by the aristocrat Ivan Gucetic

Dubrovnik is also considered the cultural capital of Croatia. The city hosts the annual theater and music festival “Dubrovnik Summer Games”, with participation of world-famous artists and musicians.