Dubrovnik Interesting Facts
Dubrovnik, Croatia’s most fascinating tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site, centers on the grandiose Old Town area, contained within massive medieval defensive walls.
Each first-time sightseeing tour of the city should start with a walk around these sturdy ancient ramparts (the complete circuit measures almost 1.5 Miles), which incorporate fortresses, towers, and cannons along the way.
You’ll also most probably enter the Old Town through the legendary Pile Gate, built-in 1537, and one of the city’s most monumental structures.
Once you get high up on the walls, you can enjoy marvelous views over the Old Town rooftops and out across the gleaming Adriatic Sea (make sure to wear appropriate walking shoes and bring along bottled water-and a selfie stick will come handy).
Other fun things to do include delving into the Stradun, a broad, almost 1000-feet-long pedestrian thoroughfare lined with boutiques, cafés, and restaurants that’s famous for its white limestone cobblestones.
Other must-see attractions here include the alluring cathedral and the marvelous artifacts in its treasury; the spectacular Square of the Loggia, a historic gathering place famous for its lovely old buildings and monuments; and Fort Lovrijenac, one of the country’s most famous fortresses.
The old city walls of Dubrovnik are one of its best-known features, now more than ever thanks to being featured in the hit TV series, Game of Thrones.
Built-in the 10th century and modified in the 13th and 14th centuries, these formidable walls—as high as six meters in places, and up to six meters thick—provided a solid defense against invaders.
Totaling nearly two kilometers in length, Dubrovnik’s city walls make an excellent spot for a casual stroll and offer many magnificent views over the Adriatic and inwards over the old city center.
The spectacular Stradun
Also known in Dubrovnik as Placa—is a place where locals and visitors alike gather day and night to watch the world drift by.
Without a doubt, one of Europe’s most picturesque pedestrian thoroughfares, the Stradun boasts many cafés and restaurants and is an excellent spot to get in some shopping or to rest weary feet after a day touring Dubrovnik.
Measuring 300 meters in length and famous for its white limestone paving, the street dates back to 1468. However, many of the surrounding buildings were built in the 17th century after the devastating earthquake of 1667 when most of Dubrovnik was heavily damaged.
The Stradun’s unique homes are designed to enable residential living upstairs, and business activities on the main level, and are notable for having their main doors and windows under the same arch.
Just a few steps away from the Stradun on one of the side streets, War Photo Limited, is a fascinating photography museum displaying images from the countless armed conflicts humanity has found itself caught up in
Dubrovnik Cathedral and Treasury
Standing on the site of an older cathedral dating from the 6th century that was destroyed by earthquakes, beautiful Dubrovnik Cathedral—also referred to as the Assumption Cathedral (its full name is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, or Katedrala Velike Gospe in Croatian)—was designed in Baroque style by Andrea Buffalini of Rome.
Notable for its three aisles, three apses, and splendid interior décor, the cathedral includes highlights such as paintings by Italian and Dalmatian artists from the 16th to 18th centuries, including the Virgin of the Chair by Raphael from the early 1600s.
A must-see is the Cathedral Treasury (Riznica Katedrale) with its many valuable relics, the most famous being a portion of the cross that Jesus is thought to have been crucified upon.
Other famous relics include the head, leg, and arm of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint, dating from the 13th century, as well as a splendid display of 138 gold and silver reliquaries from around the world.
The City Gates
For centuries, Dubrovnik’s famous Pile Gate has served as the main entrance and is still the most exciting access point to this fabulous old city.
Formerly surrounded by a moat complete with a drawbridge built in 1537, the pedestrian-only Pile Gate—one of two entrances to the Lapad area—also boasts a pleasant garden in the old moat.
Other highlights include a statue of St. Blaise located in a niche in the arch and carved by famous Croatian artist Ivan Meštrovic, and, within the ramparts, a door dating back to 1460.
Another gate worth seeing is the 14th-century Ploce Gate, just behind the Asimov Tower. Designed as a “double defense” system, it proved useful in times of trouble. Also imposing and located just across the moat from the Ploce Gate is the Revelin Fortress, built-in 1580.
Loggia Square in Dubrovnik has long been a central gathering point for citizens and visitors.
Featuring some of Dubrovnik’s most famous buildings and public monuments, this former market square is found in the northeast section of the old city center.
Highlights include Orlando’s Column (Orlandov stup), built and designed by sculptor Antonio Ragusino, as well as the famous Loggia of the Bells, dating from 1480 and used as an early warning system by residents in times of unrest.
It’s here you’ll also find the Church of St. Blaise, of interest for its Baroque façade and priceless collection of works of art.
Also of interest on the square are a clock tower from the 15th century; the main guardhouse; the small fountain of Onofrio; and Sponza Palace, now home to the city’s archives.
Dubbed “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar” for its location on a rocky promontory just outside the city’s western wall, Fort Lovrijenac—also known as St. Lawrence Fortress—has long been one of Croatia’s most famous fortresses.
Rising an impressive 37 meters above the Adriatic, this stunning fortification proved impregnable during the many sieges undertaken by the Venetians from its completion in the 11th century onwards.
Legend has it that the Venetians themselves planned to build a fort here but were beaten to it by industrious city folk.
Also notable for its unusual triangular layout with its three terraces, Fort Lovrijenac is accessed via two drawbridges and a gateway through its impressive walls, in places as thick as 12 meters.
In addition to serving as a tourist attraction, the fort is also used as a venue and backdrop for Dubrovnik’s famous Summer Festival and its many theatrical and musical performances.
The Large Fountain of Onofrio and St. Saviour Church
Built between 1438 and 1444, Dubrovnik’s famous Large Fountain of Onofrio is probably the best known of the city’s many historical monuments.
A stroll from the Pile Gate, this landmark structure is somewhat smaller today than the original due to damage caused by the earthquake of 1667.
The fountain was an essential part of the city’s original water supply system (also designed by Onofrio de la Cava) that carried water from the Dubrovacka river.
The fountain stands immediately in front of the equally attractive St. Saviour Church (Crkva Sv Spasa). Built in the early 16th century in thanks for what city elders believed was divine intervention after the city was spared during an earthquake a few years earlier, it is one of only a few buildings to have survived the devastating earthquake of 1667 intact.
Today, this small place of worship is well worth visiting for its beautiful Gothic and Renaissance features.
There are numerous attractions to be seen, too many to write about here.
So, visit Croatia and Dubrovnik and see for yourself.