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Beyond the Walls: Exploring the Amazing History of Dubrovnik Canva

Beyond the Walls: Exploring the Amazing History of Dubrovnik

Written by  The Dubrovnik Times Jul 24, 2023

An old fortress protrudes into the Adriatic as you approach Dubrovnik from the south along the twisting Adriatic roadway. This is your first look at a city with a rich history spanning millennia. The Old Town in Dubrovnik is a must-see if you ever visit this historic city. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it should be on everyone's Croatia itinerary. The Old Town is a must-see for tourists because of its beautiful buildings, fascinating history, and lively culture.

The Old Town of Dubrovnik has been inhabited continuously since the 7th century and served as a major Medieval Mediterranean commerce center. Up until the 19th century, the city was one of the most influential in the Adriatic because of its naval and administration. Built in the 16th century to keep off attackers, the Old Town's enormous stone walls still stand today. Read on to learn more about the fascinating history and exciting attractions of Dubrovnik's Old Town.

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The Old City Walls

Dubrovnik's Old City Walls are among the city's most recognizable landmarks. The "modern" Old Town city and fortress are encircled by the walls. Before the 13th century, a wetland separated the two towns that would become Old Town. A new reality emerged, and the Dubrovnik Republic existed until the French conquest in 1806–1808. Between the years 1450 and 1500, the walls were built. One of the greatest vantage points of Old Town may be found atop the Walls. There are ways to go outside the walls if you arrive by the Ploce Gate in the east or the Pile Gate in the west. The locals all gave this method of sightseeing their highest marks.

The majority of Dubrovnik's fortifications are clustered around the Old Town. That’s why, as mentioned at, it's not always easy to get a secure parking place in Dubrovnik. This means you should think about where you’ll park your car before the trip, so you don’t stress about it while in Dubrovnik.

Stradun Street

The Stradun in Dubrovnik is the most revered street in the city, and it's also the most beautiful and elegant. It's often compared to New York's Fifth Avenue and Rome's Via Veneto. There is no better spot to experience the "heartbeat" of a city than on this short stretch of promenade, where all public celebrations and processions take place. In addition to its more familiar local name, "Placa," this street is especially significant since it connects the city's two gates, Pile Gate and Ploce Gate. Placa comes from the Greek and Latin words for "street" (Platea). Stradun is a slang term for "Big street" in Venetian, and the term is often used humorously. You won't find any flashing neon signs, billboards, or other overt marketing here. Merchants in Dubrovnik are required by law to use only unobtrusive signage to identify their businesses in order to preserve the city's historic character.

St. Blasius Church

The current Church of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik was built in the ornate Venetian Baroque style in 1715, making it one of the city's most attractive sacred structures. The Dubrovnik Senate commissioned the Venetian master Marino Gropelli to build a new church in place of the original Romanesque structure from the 14th century. The church, already damaged by the earthquake, was entirely destroyed by a fire in 1706. Everything was lost to the fire, save for a silver statue of Saint Blaise. In 1715, the monument was relocated back to its original location after spending many years in exile in the Church of St. Nicholas in Prijeko. The citizens of Dubrovnik attached the inscription on the statue, which says that it was a miracle that the saint's statue survived the blaze while all the other statues were destroyed. The saint holds a model of the city, which illustrates the city's architecture at the time, and the statue is one of the most prominent monuments in Dubrovnik.

Sponza Palace

The Sponza Palace, originally constructed as a customs house between 1516 and 1522, has also served as a mint, treasury, armory, and bank throughout the years. It was one of the few structures in the old town to survive the 1667 earthquake. Architecturally, it's a hodgepodge, featuring a beautiful Renaissance portico supported by six Corinthian columns. The windows on the first story are late Gothic, while those on the second floor are Renaissance, and there's an alcove up there with a figure of St. Blaise.

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War Photo Limited Museum

This museum offers a departure from the ancient history seen at many of Dubrovnik's other must-see attractions, although some visitors may find the exhibits upsetting. The exhibition, which spans two levels, uses photojournalism to teach visitors about past and present regional and global conflicts. Located just off Stradun in the heart of Old Town, the museum is unfortunately only open for a limited time (April–October).

Everything behind Dubrovnik's walls is rich with history and lore. Every tourist who visits this enthralling city on the Adriatic coast is left awestruck by its rich history, breathtaking architecture, and lively culture. Traveling to Dubrovnik is sure to be an experience you'll never forget, whether you're interested in history, architecture, natural beauty, or just want to try some delicious local cuisine.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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