Dubrovnik is considered one of the most prominent destination in the whole Mediterranean. The city is also an important sea port and a marine trade center. Dubrovnik embraces very rich history, all way back since its foundation in the 7th Century by Roman refugees from Epidaurum. These first inhabitants built their establishment along the coast, and in the following centuries the city expanded at rapid rate. The city of Dubrovnik had many sovereigns during its early years, being under the protection of Ostrogothic Kingdom, Byzantine Empire and even Venice. For more than 300 years Dubrovnik even ruled itself as a free state. Today, the city is a part of Croatia and still impresses with its great natural and architectural wonders. Further on, we will introduce you to some of the most interesting places to visit and experience in the ancient city of Dubrovnik.
#1. Dubrovnik City Walls
The famous City Walls of Dubrovnik are a series or thick defensive stone walls, surrounding the old city core. This impressive manifest of medieval fort building run around 1900 meters in length and reaches 25 meters in height. For visitors, the most interesting thing is that walls are entirely opened for public. However, a walking session around the walls will usually take around 2 hours. But it’s definitely worth every moment spent up there. Defensive walls are also host to three forts. St. John Fortress, Fortress Bokar and the most famous among them, Minceta Fortress – the highest point of the walls. While there, you will have the chance to experience Dubrovnik through a totally new angle, as Minceta offers unforgettable view on Dubrovnik. City walls are open both to visits on your own leisure or with professional tour guides who will get you up to date with history of the city.
#2. Lovrijenac Fortress
While walking on the western part of the city walls, you will be able to notice an old vestige, located on a high cliff above the sea. That’s the Lovrijenac Fortress. Known as one of the most impressive locations in Dubrovnik, this fortress is build on a 37 meters high rock, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Because of its position, Lovrijenac has played significant role in the defense of Dubrovnik, repelling attacks both from sea and land. According to records this fort has seen its initial form in 1301 but it was reinforced several times throughout the centuries. Lovrijenac Fortress just like many surrounding buildings in Dubrovnik has suffered heavy damage in 1667 earthquake. It has been rebuilt and reshaped into the form we know it today. These days, Lovrijenac serves as a popular tourist attraction, filming location for Game of Thrones and a theater stage for actors at annual Dubrovnik’s Summer Festival.
#3. Stradun Street
Placa Street, or better known as Stradun Street, is the most important and also the oldest street in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. The street is only 292 meters long and it connect the 2 gates of the city: Pile Gate and Ploce Gate. Even if it’s less than 300 meters long, Stradun is full of attractions and interesting monuments. The narrow cobblestone streets are hiding a lot of interesting constructions, cafes and souvenir shops. The Great Onofrio’s Fountain, the Bell Tower or the Sponza Palace are just a few incredible architectural sites that Stradun Street has to offer.
#4. Orlando Column
It’s impossible to talk about Stradun and not to mention one of its trademark cultural attractions such is Orlando Column. Located just under City Bell Tower, this stone carving of an ancient knight is more than just a column – as it represents the freedom of Dubrovnik. The statue is a tribute to knight Orlando, posing with his sword and shield. According to the legend, local hero Orlando liberated the city of Dubrovnik from the pirate sieges back in the 8th century. Even if it’s more than 600 years old, the column is still in good shape and is highly valued and appreciated by the citizens of Dubrovnik.
#5. Lokrum Island
Dubrovnik is more than its mainland and the nearby Lokrum Island is considered extension of the city. Island is located just 600 meters northern-east into the Adriatic Sea. Trip to Lokrum shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes by boat taxis or other boat charter services. Among locals, Lokrum has earned flattering moniker ”the treasure island” because of its lush nature, subtropical vegetation and sandy beaches. Botanical Garden located on Lokrum is a host for more than 500 different types of plants, originating from all over the world. Aside from its natural wonders, Lokrum impresses with architectural and historical treasures as well. One of such is Romanesque cathedral built by King Richard the Lionheart in 1192. Another location popular among the visitors is a Gothic-Renaissance styled Franciscan monastery, built around 15th century, with its museum and garden area.
For anyone who is on a lookout for a city with strong cultural and historical heritage, Dubrovnik is definitely a place to be. But, that’s not the only attribute on its platter. Lush nature and pristine sandy beaches around the city will make sure that every type of visitor has memorable time in this ancient city in the heart of Europe.
Alisa M. is a passionate cultural traveler, interested in learning more about history and tradition of places she visits. Eco-activist and an aspiring blogger from time to time.