''To be or not to be'' are the world famous words from Hamlet. More interesting is that those very words were spoken so many times on the fort of Lovrjenac as the same fort was used as a stage for one of the most famous Shakespeare's plays. Did you know that among the many Hamlets that have been performed on Lovrijenac was also the Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis?
Fort Lovrjenac, often called ''Dubrovnik's Gibraltar'' is another monumental and impressive fortress outside the city walls at the western side of the city. It rises on a steep cliff about 37 meters high. The chroniclers of Dubrovnik wrote an interesting story about its origin. At the beginning of the 11th century the Venetians intended to build a large fort on the same spot in order to keep Dubrovnik under their power. The people of the city discovered this intention and immediately decided to build a fortress on this almost inaccessible rock in the shortest possible time.
According to the chronicles the building of Lovrjenac was completed in only three months. When the Venetian ships laden with building materials arrived they could do nothing but to admit that they had been outwitted by the citizens of Dubrovnik and returned home to Venice. The fortress has extremely thick walls (4-12 meters) on three sides, the northern, the western and the south-western ones i.e. those facing the direction of a possible enemy attacks. The eastern wall facing the city is only 60 cm thick. Why? Well, this was another of the clever precautions of the government of the Republic of Ragusa. If any of the commanders of the fortress had tried to usurp the power of the city, the Republic could have solved the problem by using heavy artillery from other fortresses and destroying the eastern wall. Thus all possible attempts of this kind would have been defeated.
If you visit Lovrjenac, and I highly recommend that you do, above the entrance gate you'll notice an inscription in Latin ''Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro'' meaning ''Freedom is not to be sold for all the treasures in the world''.
Lovrjenac Fortress in Dubrovnik