Once your seaway takes you to the South of Adriatic, it will be a shame not to step from your luxury yacht and explore the Pearl of Adriatic –The city of Dubrovnik. What is so special about Dubrovnik? In this article I will lead you through this medieval city and its cultural attractions.
Old town is an excellent mix of old buildings, narrow streets, cafés, shops and visitors from all over the world, including many keen sailors and those seeking an exclusive yachting experience in the Adriatic. The old town’s city centre is traffic free, and is of a great size to walk through its history in just one day. First of all, there is something untouchable about Dubrovnik’s history. First known inhabitants of the Dubrovnik region were Romans, who were mainly populating the area near today’s Cavtat , which at the time was a Roman colony called Epidaurum.
City of Epidaurum was a large and prosperous Roman colony numbering approximately 40 000 people but unfortunately it was completely destroyed in the earthquake and during barbarian invasions. Refugees, who were running from barbarians, inhabited the nearby island and there they formed a new colony – Ragusium. In the 7th century Croats came to this region, during the Slav migrations and made a wooden settlement called Dubrovnik. In the 11th century the channel between two settlements was filled up with soil. This channel became the most famous street – Stradun. Because of its position on the trade crossroads, sheltered harbor, quality oak wood, the city becomes a trade center. Until 13th century Dubrovnik was growing rapidly as a major trading centre. This was mainly due to the export of silver from mines in Bosnia and permission by Bosnian King at the time for all Dubrovnik citizens, to trade freely and travel freely across his Kingdom. The document, Povelja Kulina Bana is currently kept at one of the Dubrovnik museums and is one of the oldest such documents where absolute power by a King is devolved, similar to famous Magna Carta which was written some 20 years later. Around this time, Dubrovnik was under the Venice authority for around 150 years, but the city survived the rule and slowly became the aristocratic republic – Republica Ragusiana.
This republic had only one goal – to keep their freedom. On the fort Lovrijenac there is a Latin sentence engraved that says ‘’ Liberty should not be sold for all the gold in the world’’. The Republic became very strong and powerful center of trade, art and cultural happenings until the great earthquake in 1667 turned it to dust. Because of its diplomacy the republic was rebuilt and saved but never gained its strength again. After Dubrovnik came under Austro – Hungarian empire, then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes then Yugoslavia and finally what it is today – Croatia. For all those visiting Croatia on a yacht, the number one yachting destination in the Mediterranean in recent years, it is good to know that taking a private guide to explore Dubrovnik is essential. We will start our culture tour in front of Pile gate – the main entrance to the white stone city. Pile gate are one of three entrances to the old city, other two are called Ploče gate and Buža gate.
Pile Gate is located in the western wall, built in 1537 and originally had wooden downbrigde- which was pulled up to prevent unwelcome guests into the city. Over the Renaissance arch there is a statue of saint Blaise, the cities patron saint. After passing trough the gate there are younger inner gates that continue to the main street Stradun. Stradun or Placa is the main street, running west from Pile gate to Ploče gate. The name Stradun comes from Venetian time and it’s an ironic name for a big street. Stradun is the main promenade about 300m long, a favorite gathering place and the heart of the city. At the beginning of Stradun on the right side you can see the Onofrio fountain and on the left Franciscan Monastery with the oldest pharmacy in Europe.
Stone houses along the main street are built in Baroque style and in equal height. In the end of the street is Sponza Palace which used to be the archive of the Dubrovnik Republic and on the left, Orlando statue. In the end of the street you can see Bell tower and loggia, small Onorfi Fountain, City hall and Theatre saint Vlaho church, rectors Palace and Cathedral and Treasury. As you can see Dubrovnik has lots to offer, you can wonder down the streets of the all city or visit some museums which are located in the centre. Museums are always a good idea, especially in the summer when they are a good place to hide from the sun too.
I suggest visiting city walls in the sunset, because the view is magnificent and also as during the day it can be too hot (if you are visiting Dubrovnik in summer) to walk around the walls. In 1979, the old city of Dubrovnik, which includes a substantial portion of the old walls of Dubrovnik, joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The walls were constructed mainly between 12 and 17 century, and today they are almost 2 kilometers long and 25 m height settlement that is still protecting the city. So if you are considering a luxury yacht charter in Croatia and are keen to visit Dubrovnik, remember there is nothing better than a private tour guide to explore all the best of what such a spectacular destination has to offer.