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From the archives – Porporela stone with a story to tell

Written by  Mark Thomas Jan 09, 2018

Millions of tourists sit here every year and admire the stunning views over the turquoise blue Adriatic out to the island of Lokrum. Porporela is surely one of the most attractive sea breaks in the world. And this Dubrovnik landmark has a mysterious story to tell.

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Named after the Latin word purpura, which translates as an artificial breakwater, Porporela was constructed to help protect the Old City harbour from the strong southerly winds that crashed over the Adriatic. Even though the harbour is fairly well protected by the island of Lokrum two defences were additional built, Porporela and the standalone breakwater Kaše.
This triangle shaped defence was built at the end of the 19th century, and was completed in 1873. But just six years later a storm would change the face of the iconic landmark.

On the 25th of February 1879 a huge storm battered Dubrovnik and the waves crashed violently over the breakwater. Incredibly the storm ripped up a stone from the Porporela breakwater and threw into a watery grave. What makes this event even more unbelievable is that the stone that was thrown into the Adriatic weighed 3,159 kilograms.

In order to remember this unusual day in Dubrovnik history the stone was recovered and replaced in the breakwater. It was also engraved with “This stone, weighing 3159 KG, was washed into the sea on the 25th February 1879.” You can still see the stone today, and check the arrow on it to see where this huge stone ended up.

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And here is the very stone...


Check out more from our series From the Archives - what’s in the name of Dubrovnik