The city of Dubrovnik is a living monument with rich tangible and intangible heritage. It is the economic, cultural and educational centre of southern Dalmatia and the seat of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
The historical centre of Dubrovnik, with its city ramparts, fortifications and the moat, was registered in 1966 as a cultural good in Croatia, and as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, with its 18.8 hectares of land under protection.
According to the legend, the origin of Dubrovnik is tied to the ruin ofEpidaurus, a Roman city located in the area of today’s Cavtat, whose refugees settled on the cliff called Lave, Laus or Raus and so established Dubrovnik. The archaeological discoveries of numismatic material from the 4th – 3th century B.C. within the historical perimeter of Dubrovnik testifies to the existence of a settlement in the area as early as the Hellenistic period.
The Latin name of Dubrovnik – Ragusium – comes from the Greek word ragousa, meaning a rugged island covered with cracks. “Dubrovnik”, its Slavic name, comes from “dubrava” = “forest”, as it covered the slopes of Mount Srđ.
The original settlement was formed on the highest part of the peninsula in todays area known as St Mary’s, which was connected to the land at its western part and sheltered in a deep cove appropriate for anchoring. The location – defined from the sea side by steep cliffs, up to 35 metres high, and from the north by a large and sufficiently steep natural slope – offered relative security to the settlement.
Dubrovnik’s current form was shaped in the 13th century. The walls were systematically modernised right up to 1660, when the last bastion was finished. The walls have been its conditio sine qua non, uttered, eternalised and celebrated to this day with the famous inscription carved in the lintel at the gate of Fort Lawrence: Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro – Freedom should not be sold for any gold.
The walls consist of the city walls proper, sixteen towers, three fortresses, six bastions, two corner fortifications, three bulwarks with rows of turrets, three moats, two flank fortresses, one breakwater, and two drawbridges. At some points up to 25 metres high, the main wall is 4 –6 m thick on the land side and 1,5– 3 m on the sea side. (Mislim da je obratno!)
The 300m (1000 ft) long Placa (or Stradun as it is called colloquially by the inhabitants of Dubrovnik) is the main open urban area of Dubrovnik. It is the venue of all public feasts and processions, but also the main commercial street of the City.
DUBROVNIK SUMMER FESTIVAL (Dubrovačke ljetne igre)
Dubrovnik Summer Festival, founded at the beginning of the 1950s, is held every summer between 10 July and 25 August on more than 70 oper-air venues of the city. Rich programme includes classical music, theatre, opera and dance. Many famous artists and orchestras performed at the festival, contributing to its prestige worldwide.
The principal distinguishing feature of the festival is the importance of ambience. Hamlet at the Fort Lovrijenac, soon became an ideal world known setting for this drama. Equally attractive were the performances of Goldonis Fishermens Quarrels in the old city harbour, renaissance comedies and mystery plays taking place in the city squares and so on.