Dubrovnik is a pearl of nature, protected by its mighty walls. Our ancestors built the Dubrovnik Old Town on a human scale, and as a city whose palaces, churches, fortresses and museums preserve the precious treasures of its thousand-year history.
If you are wondering what to see in Dubrovnik, we can recommend the most important Dubrovnik attractions:
The distinctiveness of Dubrovnik lies in the fascinating ambiance of the historical city centre, whose preserved condition is owed to the many centuries of nurturing of traditions and attributes of historical identity given throughout the generations. Don't forget, therefore, to visit, to see, ...
An adventure of Dubrovnik is not complete, if you do not visit the city walls 1,940 meters log, one of the most beautiful fortification systems in the Europe with three round, 12 rectangular, and 2 corner fortresses, as well as 15 bastions. On the western part of the city is the main stairway entry to the city walls, through it one reaches an elevated location from which you can observe and record everything happenings on the Placa. A tour of the city walls, in some places up to 25 metres high, is an opportunity to discover new views of the urban centre which looks like a large open pearl shell. The picturesque rooftops of the buildings with unusual chimneys particularly standout among the multitude of interesting details of the fifth façade of Dubrovnik. When touring the city walls, one inevitably arrives at the most striking fortress, the round tower of Minčeta, which was constructed on a strategic defensive position towards land.
In front of the entry into the old part of Dubrovnik, from the eastern side, your attention is then drawn by the quarantine building Lazareti, one of the best preserved such buildings in the Mediterranean, constructed at the turn of the 17th century in which, due to precautions against the spreading of the plague and other then incurable infections diseases, all traders and passengers arriving in caravans or ships had to spend a mandatory 40-day quarantine period.
Across a stone bridge erected over a wide defensive moat, today a park, conect with wooden drawbridge, we can reach the monumental fortress Revelin from the 16th century. Inside Revelin there is a three-nave hall for the holding of various events and gatherings, while at the top of the fortress there is a large terrazzo which is also used for the same purpose. The fortress will definitely attract the interest of visitors with its archaeological findings of remnants of the previous fortress with the oldest furnaces for casting bells and canons which were made the famous master Ivan Rabljanin.
From the small square in front of Revelin one can see the city port as if it were on the palm of ones hand. Into in once sailed Dubrovnik trade sailing vessels from all over the world while today exact replicas of the argosies and galleons but also motorised boats which transport from the anchorage at the island of Lokrum numerous passengers from the largest modern "floating hotels" who visit Dubrovnik as part of attractive cruises through the Mediterranean and Adriatic sail into it. Dominant in the port ambiance is the fort of Sv. Ivan (St. John) which prevented access to pirates and other enemy ships. From the square one can see the jetties Kaše and Porporela in the port and the structure of the Great arsenal - the one time oldest Dubrovnik shipyard for the construction and repair of state galleons. Always cautious at the first sign of danger, the inhabitants of Dubrovnik used to close the entry into the port with heavy chains stretched between the fortress Sv. Ivan (St. John) and Kaše, and they also used to wall up all the port entrances of the Great arsenal.
One should sit on the stairs in front of the St. Blaise Church, a saint protector of Dubrovnik, and enjoy the beauty of this city and its modern, today's cosmopolitan way of life within its stone historical entity. Over the church of St. Blasius, as if on a throne, stands a large statue of the saint. The thousand-year nurturing of the saints cult is witnessed by his statues built in above every city gate, on all fortresses and in many places in the city walls: the intercession of St. Blasius keeps Dubrovnik safe from all evil and hardship. It is considered a significant fact that in the fire in the saint's former church, which existed until 1706 in the same location, only the goldplated statue of St. Blasius remained intact and even today is kept above the altar here.
Numerous interesting features could be pointed out about all the other structures on the main square. And so it is that in the loggia at the top of the 31 metre high city bell tower, the bronze soldiers Maro and Baro, upon the setting in motion of a special mechanism, ring out the hour by striking the two tone bell cast by the skill of Ivan Rabljanin. The original statues and old clock mechanism are exhibited in the atrium of the Sponza palace.
The reach past of the Sponza Palace is especially interesting where a carved Latin inscription reminds that this structure once served as a customs office and that the Dubrovnik inhabitants traded under the strict principle "Do not cheat or falsify the measures; while I am weighing the goods, God is weighing with me". The Sponza palace was also used as a mint for money, state treasury, bank and vault for valuables, but also as a meeting place for learned men in the hall of the Academy. Today the palace houses the State Archive of Dubrovnik in whose safety vaults there are numerous source documents of thousand year history of the Republic of Dubrovnik and its comprehensive diplomatic and merchant connections with then countries and Memorial-room of the defenders of Dubrovnik in the Homeland war in 1991.
Passing through the Street St. Dominic one can tour the large complex of the Dominican monastery and church. Aside from numerous paintings by the most important members of the Dubrovnik school of art from the 15th and 16th centuries, and Veneziano's great "Crucifixion" and Tizian's effigy of St. Magdalene and St. Blasius, in the Dominican church and sacristy there are a number of sarcophagi and tombs of archbishops, bishops and members of the nobility. Most intriguing is the silver cross of King Uroš II (1282 - 1321) on which are four inscriptions in old Cyrillic letters.
Entering into the Rector's Palace you can feel the golden age od the Dubrovnik Republic comes to life. That the Rector's palace was the seat of state authority is witnessed by many features of this structure and exhibits in the museum located within it, a curiosity is the ground floor of the building one can tour the infamous dungeons. From one Latin inscription on a tablet above the doorway of the Rector's palace it is discovered that the god of pharmaceutics Esculap - was "born in Dubrovnik". Esculap's image is carved in a luxurious semi-capital, surrounded by laboratories with a distillation device and pharmaceutical dishes. In the atrium of the Rector's palace is a stone pedestal with a bronze bust of the famous mariner Miha Pracata, the only citizen of Dubrovnik to whom this honour was given in the time of the Dubrovnik Republic because he bequeathed his enormous fortune valued at 200,000 ducats to charitable causes. A prestigious building of the Rector's Palace, a former seat of the government of the Republic of Dubrovnik, has got a multipurpose city functions nowadays. Concerts, especially during the Summer Festival, are held in its atrium. There is a permanent rich museum exhibition on the first floor that is visited by more than 700.000 visitors every year.
The existing baroque cathedral was constructed on the foundations of a Romanesque sacral structure which was demolished by the catastrophic earthquake in 1667. Recent archaeological exploration of the underground of the cathedral discovered remains of an even earlier Byzantine church, whose existence was not known as it was not noted in any archive documents. Soon these findings will be accessible to the public thanks to the establishment of the first underground archaeological museum in Croatia. The cathedral is furnished with valuable paintings of old masters, among others Tizian's polyptych of the "Assumption of Our Lady" located above the great altar. The rich cathedral's reliquary contains the relics of saints, formed into art works, which are brought out once a year during the time of the ceremonious procession of the saint day of St. Blasius.
Another Dubrovnik sight of course is the main city street Placa or Stradun, which with a length of 292 metres extends from the main city square, given that to both ends are attached numerous picturesque and very narrow streets with a multitude of restaurants, pizzerias and cafes. Parallel to the Placa are two streets of nearly the same length, the Street Prijeko and Street od puča (of the people). As the most popular meeting place of both Dubrovniks citizens and tourists, the Placa is unique by the fact that nearly all the ground floors of all the buildings used for trading of all sorts - have entry doors constructed "on an angle". Given that the pulsating of life in Dubrovnik is best felt on the Placa, even Dubrovnik citizens who live in sections outside the historical centre often say that they have a feeling that they have missed something very important if they miss even one day on the main city street. Even the opposite end of the Placa ends with a square, in the centre of which is located a large dome-like fountain, constructed in 1348 according to the design of the Neapolitan architect Onofria della Cave, who also designed the small fountain on the main square and the Rector's palace.
Next to the Great Onofrio's fountain is the votive church of Sv. Spasa (St. Salvatore), one of the most beautiful sacral structures, which was constructed immediately after Dubrovnik suffered grave consequences of the earthquake in 1520. On one side of the fountain is the complex of the former nunnery of Sv. Klara (St. Clare), while on the other side is the complex of the Franciscan monastery and church of the Male braće (Order of the Friars Minor). Today romantic concerts of classical music are held in this beautiful church which is then enlightened by candles. In the museum located in the cloister of the Franciscan monastery of the Order of Friars minor is the inventory of one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe established in 1317. The museum exhibits also include objects derived from Dubrovnik's fine arts, goldsmiths, sculpting and embroidery workshops. Displayed in glass cases are rare incunabula and manuscripts from the monastery library. Here too is a copy of a picture in which Dubrovnik is shown as it was before the earthquake of 1667. One tablet with a Latin inscription in the monastery cloister notes that during six months in 1527 in Dubrovnik about 20,000 inhabitants died of the plague. The monastery library, by itsbibliophilic rarities falls among the most valuable in this part of Europe.
A part of that fortification system is also the detached fortress Lovrjenac call the Dubrovnik Gibraltar, which rises to a height of 37 metres above the sea cliffs. The walls of Lovrjenac towards land are 6 metres thick, towards the sea 4 metres, while towards the town only 60 centimetres. This type of structure was carried out due to caution against tyranny. Namely, insofar as a commander of a fortress tried to overthrow the government he could be quickly brought to his senses by blowing apart those thin walls of Lovrjenac with canon projectiles fired from the city walls. It was for the same reason that the commanders of Lovrjenac were changed every month, while to constantly remind them of the carrying out of their duty, there was a Latin inscription above the entry gate into the fortress that read "Freedom is not given away for all the treasures of this world". Dubrovnik lived under this motto for centuries, as an example to the world. For decades, spectators have enjoyed world-class performances of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" on the terraces.
Upon touring the monumental structure of the onetime granary Rupe visitors discover the curious fact that Dubrovnik was the only European city in which grain reserves to feed their inhabitants were stored in underground silos carved in stone. In this unique cultural-historical monument, constructed in the 16th century, there are 15 underground silos or stores in the shape of huge holes between 8.5 to 9 metres in depth.
A historical walk up and down the streets of Dubrovnik would not be complete without visiting the island of Lokrum that can be reached by a small ship departing from the old city harbour. It should have been an everlasting natural imagination that located this eternally green small island of the romantic beauty and rich cultural heritage in front of such a unique city as Dubrovnik is. Lokrum is one of the most attractive excursion spots because of its amazing linking between pine woods, exotic subtropical plants in the botanic garden, shaded walking paths, beautiful bays and bathingplaces and a gorgeous view on Dubrovnik, on one side, and interminable open sea, on the other side. In the middle of the exotic park there is a Benedictine Monastery from the 12th century which was turned into a summer residence of the Austrian duke Maximillian of Habsburg who owned the whole island. Today there are a biological institute and a natural history museum within its walls. The Fort Royal, today's belvedere, was built on the top of the island during the French occupation. A special attraction of Lokrum is its small salt lake called the "dead sea" which is a children's favourite bathing-place. Today Lokrum is a protected natural park.