The cobbled streets and stone façades of the Old City of Dubrovnik have caught the attention, and indeed admiration, of visitors for centuries. Seemingly made from marble, but in reality carved from limestone, the rows and rows of stone homes and offices inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site have an idyllic feel. And when the whole city is framed by the turquoise Adriatic then they city looks even more impressive.
But those stone buildings didn’t come about by chance, in fact today is an important date on the architectural calendar of the city. For on this date, the 4th of March, houses made from wood were banned inside the Old City walls. The Grand Council made a decision on the 4th of March 1406 that wooden homes are not only banned but the ones inside the Old City walls should be demolished. The reason for this strict decision, of course, was the risk of fire. In fact, a fire in the city promoted the Grand Council to take this move, and move they certainly did.
Between 1406 and 1413 more than 200 wooden homes were demolished inside the city, leaving only 17 remaining and these were also demolished later. And in the place of these wooden homes came stone, lots of stone. The Grand Council of the city even appointed special officials to oversee the removal of wood and the stone replacement. Stone facades sprung up around the city at a rapid rate, in the period that it took to destroy 200 wooden homes more than 100 stone buildings and dwellings were constructed. Dubrovnik had started, basically due to a decision made for fire-protection, to take the long path to becoming a stone city, the pearl of the Adriatic.