About Pile Gate
With Dubrovnik’s patron saint St Blaise looking out from its imposing stonework, Pile Gate is the grandest entrance in the city walls. Built in 1537, Pile Gate’s drawbridge, inner and outer sections, is the western entrance to the city and a good starting point for exploring the medieval walls.
History of Pile Gate
Visiting the city of Dubrovnik wouldn’t be complete without seeing its famous Pile Gate. Built in 1537, visitors can can cross the grand drawbridge and imagine the throngs of people who have gone before them in the 500 years of its existence.
The gate is the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s medieval Old Town. Originally, the drawbridge was wooden and used to be pulled up at night to deter unwanted visitors from the walled city. Since replaced by stone, a figure of Dubrovnik’s patron saint St. Blaise, which was built by leading Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic (1883-1962), looks down at those who pass beneath the archway.
Mechanical counter weights used to raise and lower the drawbridge are still visible on the left and right of the gate, as are imposing cannons above on the city walls.
Pile Gate Today
The days of ceremoniously pulling up the drawbridge at night are now gone, and the gate is always open and free for visitors to enjoy.
Pedestrians who cross the drawbridge today will see the grassy former moat beneath them before passing through the first door. Immediately through the first door of the gate is a plaque that describes all of the damage done to the city during the recent Homeland War, which was fought between 1991-1995.
After walking down a short flight of steps, visitors will find themselves on Dubrovnik’s most famous street, Stradun or Placa, which is the town’s beautiful main promenade.
From here, there is the option to turn left and enjoy a city wall walk or the small Saint Blaise church, or right, where Onophrian’s Fountain proudly stands. Eagle-eyed visitors will spot a small indentation in the street, which is purported to bring bad romantic luck upon those who walk in it.
The Gate is a popular filming location, with many recognising it from HBO’s internationally famous TV series Game of Thrones.
From Pile Gate you can also enjoy views over a nearby small fishing harbour, and two further forts Bokar and Lovrijenac.
Getting to Pile Gate
Pile Gate is a half an hour walk from the historic centre of Dubrovnik. Equally, visitors can reach it within 5 minutes by car from the same place.
It is advised to visit the gate very early in the morning during the height of summer, as thousands of cruise ship passengers descend upon it later in the day.
There is disabled access through the gate.
Discover the best Historic Sites in Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Stradun and more, includes an interactive map of Croatian cultural places and landmarks.