About St John Fort Dubrovnik
The St John Fort (Sveti Ivan) in Dubrovnik is one of this city’s impressive medieval defences. The towers date back to the 14th century and the main structure is from the 16h century.
Today, the St John Fort contains a maritime museum, an aquarium and the Pulitika studio.
St John Fort history
The St John Fort, sometimes called Mulo Tower stands guard to the entrance of Dubrovnik’s Old Harbour. An integral part of Dubrovnik’s famous city walls, St John Fort was once the city harbour’s main defensive bastion, designed to prevent enemy ships from accessing the city.
Construction began around 1346 and lasted for several years. The fort was modified on several occasions during the 15th and 16th centuries.
In 1552, St John Fort was merged with the nearly Fort Gundulic in a grand upgrade of the whole fortification complex. The designs for this project were drawn up by master architect Paskoje Miličević and the merger was completed in 1557.
St John Fort today
Today the fort houses a maritime museum, the Pulitika studio and an aquarium.
Inside the vaulted chambers of St John Fort, this maritime museum traces the history of navigation in Dubrovnik displaying ship models, maritime objects and paintings.
The former studio of painter Duro Pulitika can be found in a small cavelike room within the fort. Pulitika’s work is presented here and the larger front room often hosts exhibitions by local artists.
The modest aquarium showcases flora and fauna of the Adriatic Sea. The aquarium is run by the University of Dubrovnik’s Institute for Marine and Coastal Research and also serves as a rehabilitation centre for injured turtles.
Getting to St John Fort
St John Fort is located on the south-eastern side of the old city port. Next to the fort is Proporela pier and a breakwater that was built in the 19th century. If visitors choose to drive, parking just outside Old Town is very expensive. Dubrovnik City Parking is in walking distance and offers a lower price. The area is easily accessible by bus and visitors could also choose to ride the cable car to view the city walls from above.