Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Dalmatian coast, affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ for its beautiful architecture and picturesque setting on the coastline.
While many historical sources date its establishment to the 7th or even 5th century, it is known that Dubrovnik and its ‘old city’ became a powerful merchant town in the 13th century and operated as a free state until the 18th.
Considered to be the cultural centre of Croatia, many of its stunning medieval buildings survive despite a host of challenging events throughout its history. These include in 1667 when the city suffered a devastating earthquake, several attacks including being invaded by the Nazis, and a 7-month siege by the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1991.
Amongst its many draws are its churches, such as the beautiful Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary with its impressive organ, the Church of St. Ignatius, the Church of St Blaise (patron saint of Dubrovnik) and the Franciscan Monastery which houses the third oldest pharmacy in the world. Many of Dubrovnik’s churches are built in a classic Baroque style.
Dubrovnik’s main street is Stradun, where the Large Onofrio Fountain can be found and in nearby Luza Square one can see the city’s symbol of peace, Orlando Column. Also within the vicinity of the buzzing Luza Square are the 15th-century buildings of Sponza Palace and Ducal Palace, both of which have served important secular roles in Dubrovnik’s history.
Other gems include the Zelenci statues (or at least the new replicas of the originals), located at the top of the Bell Tower near the Polce entrance to Dubrovnik, where a giant bell tolls on the hour.
Fans of Game of Thrones will also be able to trace the steps of some of their favourite characters from the show, as much of Westeros’ infamous capital city of King’s Landing was filmed there!
Getting to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is located in southern Croatia, and is accessible from most places via the country’s substantial highway and road network. The closest airport is Tivat in Montenegro, with daily international flights also coming into Zagreb. Many buses connect Dubrovnik to other cities in Croatia, as well as its multiple sea links.