Dubrovnik - UNESCO heritage Croatia


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Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic, city of unique cultural and political history, was placed on UNESCO's list of world heritage sights in 1979. Dubrovnik gained its sovereignty after the 13 century when the Republic of Dubrovnik was formed, the trading power of the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik kept its freedom of trade through diplomatic routs, and also with their protective walls and fortress'.

Today the great walls are the major attraction in Dubrovnik, with a total length of 2 km, a height of 25 m along with the fortresses and towers. The walls were built and added to from the 12th to the 17th century. The eastern side of the city is protected by the fortress Revelin, while the western side by the fortress Lovrijenac.

The fortress Revelin was built according to a model of the Spanish architect Antonio Ferramolina. There are grand and spacious rooms within the fortress, which served as a city hall and the state treasury. In front of Revelin there is a terrace facing the port in the shape of a piazza where the Dubrovnik summer festival is held.

The fortress Lovrijenac is located on top of a high rock formation which is in itself about 40m high. During the past it served any purposes, and after WWII it was returned to its original state, with a sigh above the entrance "NON BENE PRO TOTO LIBERTAS VENDITUR AURO" – freedom cannot be sold for all the treasure in the world. Today it is known as the perfect location for performing Shakespeare's play Hamlet during the Dubrovnik summer festival.

The Gate of Pila is the first entrance into the city from the west. The outer door is in the shape of a renaissance arch which was built in 1537 as part of the fortress Pila that was built in 937. Above the main entrance a large statue of St. Vlaho was erected, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, this is the work of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović. Minčeta, the most northern fortress, got its name from the aristocrat family Menčetić. It is a large circular tower, where a spectacular view of the rooftops of Dubrovnik, the walls, the sea and surrounding islands can be seen from its highest point. The gate of Ploča is the main eastern entrance into the city; they are very similar to the Gate of Pila, with inner and outer doors, a stone and wooden bridge.

In the earthquake of 1667, after which followed fires, Dubrovnik was deserted. However due to restoration, the churches and convents/monasteries, palaces and fountains were preserved. In the beginning of the 90s during the aggression upon Croatia, Dubrovnik was once again in calamity. Luckily the beauty and charm of the city was returned by Croatian restorations along with help from around the world all in collaboration with UNESCO.

Other sights

The great Onforio fountain is the final point of the 12 km long city water supply system to where water was brought into the city in 1438. The fountain was named after the Italian architect Onofrio della Cava. The fountain is located at the beginning of the main street Stradun. Stradun extends in an east-west direction between the eastern and western city gates; it is a favourite promenade of the people of Dubrovnik.

Franciscan monastery was built in a Romanesque-gothic style. The oldest and most interesting part of the monastery is the cloister. The cloister was made by the sculptor Mihoje Brajkov from Bari from 1237 – 1348. In the museum of the monastery the oldest apothecary in Europe is a prominent exhibit and was founded in 1317.The monasteries library keeps printed and handwritten works, and is also well known for its historical musical scripts, of which there are over 10,000 compositions, making it one of the most important libraries in Europe.

The Dukes Court during the mandate of the Duke which lasts a month, the court served as the public office and private residence of the Duke. The Duke was the head of the executive authority (Consilium minus). Foreign affairs were dealt with by the senate (Consilium rogatorum), while the legislative power was delegated by the „Large council“(Consilium maius). The court was formed out of the fortress, while the architecture it has today is due to the architect from Naples, Onofrio de la Cava.

The Sponza Palace - was built about a hundred years after the duke’s court in a mixed late gothic-renaissance style. It served as the taxation and mint building. Today the palace is used for historical archives that keep important documents from the republic of Dubrovnik.
According to word of mouth legend, St. Vlaho saved the people of Dubrovnik in the 10th century from Venetian attacks. In his honour the people of Dubrovnik built a church where there once stood a Romanesque church. St. Vlaho church was built in 1715 in the baroque style and the interior of the church is richly decorated. On the main altar there is a statue of St. Vlaho holding a model of Dubrovnik before the earthquake of 1667; it is interesting that the statue survived undamaged while the church was destroyed.

Orlando's column – a stone column with a figure of the knight Orlando. The figure of Orlando was sculpted out of rock in 1418 by Bonino from Milan with the help of local sculptors. The legend of Orlando is that in the 8th century he was said to have helped the Dubrovnik people defend themselves from pirate attacks. The length of from the statues wrist to its elbow was the standard measurement for length during the time of the Republic of Dubrovnik.

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival have a special place in the cultural life of the city of Dubrovnik, that has been held since 1950 on open stages (in front of St. Vlaho cathedral, Fortress' Lovrijenac and Revelin and the island of Lokrum) or within authentic rooms (The Dukes Court, the atrium of the Sponza Palace, and the cathedral of St. Vlaho). The Dubrovnik International Film Festival hosts many famous directors, actors, musicians and other visitors from around the world every year.

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