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Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Author László Szalai. No Copyright
Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Author László Szalai

Dubrovnik: the beautiful Ragusa of Dalmatia

Along the coast of Dalmatia, in its southern part, near the border with Montenegro, is the jewel of Croatia, the city of Ragusa of Dalmatia, called Dubrovnik in the Croatian language.

The city is characterized by a beautiful old town remained virtually unchanged over the centuries and which is completely surrounded by beautiful medieval town walls. The whole old town of Dubrovnik, since 1979, is part of the World Heritage Site List of UNESCO.

Ragusa originated after the fall of the Roman Empire, when in the seventh century – to protect themselves from the barbarians – the inhabitants of the Roman city of Epidaurum, today’s Cavtat (Ragusavecchia), took refuge on a small island located a few meters from the shore and began to build the houses and fences of defense.

From this small settlement, which initially was put under the protection of Byzantium, was developed in the following centuries an important maritime republic on the model of other Italian maritime republics (Pisa, Venice, Genoa and Amalfi).

Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Author gari.baldi. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Author gari.baldi

After the Fourth Crusade (1204), Ragusa was controlled by Venice and it remained a Venetian possession until 1358, when as a result of the Peace of Zadar, the city managed to escape the Venetian control and become de facto independent.

The ancient maritime republic of Ragusa, was the rival of Venice in trade between East and West, becoming the main commercial port in the southern Adriatic, during this period of the history of the city were built strong walls, that in the twelfth century had already the looks that still remain.

The Republic of Ragusa in the heyday (the 15th and 16th century) controlled the Dalmatian coast from the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and up to Ston (Stagno), over the entire peninsula of Peljesac (Sabbioncello) and Elaphiti (Elafiti), Mljet (Meleda) and Lastov (Lagosta) Islands. Ragusa traded with Egypt, Asia Minor, the Black Sea, Greece, Sicily, Tuscany, Provence. The Republic of Dubrovnik was abolished in 1808 during the Napoleonic occupation.

Latin and Italian were the official and spoken languages of the Ragusa Republic since its founding. The current Croatian name of Dubrovnik supplanted the Italian name of Ragusa di Dalmazia only in 1919 when the city was annexed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.


Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Author László Szalai. No Copyright.

Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Author László Szalai

Ragusa (Dubrovnik) is undoubtedly the most beautiful city in Croatia, known by the nickname “Pearl of the Adriatic” is famous for its medieval walls that still surround it completely for almost 2 km.

Its walls are among the most beautiful and best preserved examples of medieval fortification of the coasts of the Mediterranean. There are castles, towers, bastions that form a powerful defense system that completely surrounds the historic center of the city.

The town is well worth a very thorough visit: passed the Pile Gate, is the large Onofrio Fountain of the fifteenth century and the monastery of the Franciscans, from here, unless you want to go up immediately on the city walls, you should continue along the main street, the Stradun, which runs through the city to the Loggia Square (Luza).

In the Loggia Square overlooking the most important buildings of the city, the Sponza Palace, the Loggia, the Gran Guardia Palace and the church of St. Blaise (San Biagio/Sv Vlaho).

Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Autore László Szalai. No Copyright..

Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Croatia. Autore László Szalai

From here you reach the Rector’s Palace, seat of the Ragusa Republic, which now houses an interesting museum dedicated to the history of the city. Nearby is the baroque Cathedral of the Assumption (Velika Gospa) of the seventeenth century.

Continuing from Piazza della Loggia to the other monumental gate of the city, the Ploce Gate, we arrive at the Monastery of the Dominicans built in the fourteenth century, it still has a beautiful Gothic cloister and an interesting art museum. Also interesting are the views of the old harbor, the building of the Rupe, an old barn, the baroque church of St. Ignatius, and the Maritime Museum and Aquarium, the latter located within the Fort St. John (San Giovanni).

The walk along the walls of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) is one of the things not to miss during a visit to the city, from the walls you can admire the fantastic  and full views of the architectural wonders of the medieval center, and the incomparable scenery of the harbor and coast.

Along the seaward side the thickness of the wall varies on average between 3 meters and 2 meters, while on the land side it varies between 4 and 6 meters, also on the land side Ragusa is protected by a double wall, which in some places exceeds 25 meters in height, this makes an idea from where came problems for the city.

Along the perimeter are 15 defensive towers, the walls are also protected by three forts, the fort of St. John (San Giovanni/Sveti Ivan) overlooking the harbor, the Revelin which defends the Ploce Gate, and the fort of St. Lawrence (San Lorenzo/Lovrijenac) which controls the western part.

The climate of Dubrovnik (Ragusa of Dalmatia).

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