Old City of Dubrovnik (1979, 1994)

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The 'Pearl of the Adriatic', situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration programme co-ordinated by UNESCO. 

Dubrovnik (in Latin Ragusa) is an old city on the Adriatic Sea coastline in the extreme south of Croatia, and is one of the most prominent tourist resorts in the country. 

Dubrovnik was founded by joining two small towns: Laus, a town on a small island off the southern Dalmatian coast, which provided shelter for the Italic refugees from the nearby city of Epidaurum (present-day's Cavtat),and Dubrava, a settlement of Slavic immigrants. 
  • Yugoslavia 1982. Aerial view of Dubrovnik. 
  • Croatia 1941. Panoramic view of Dubrovnik.

Yugoslavia 1982. Aerial view of Dubrovnik.

Yugoslavia 1981. Structure in ancient Dubrovnik.

From its establishment in the 7th century, the town was under the protection of the Byzantine Empire. After the Crusades, Ragusa/Dubrovnik came under the sovereignty of Venice (1205-1358), and by the Peace Treaty of Zadar in 1358 it became part of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom. Between the 14th century and 1808 Dubrovnik ruled itself as a free state named Respublica Ragusina (Ragusan republic), also known as Republic of Dubrovnik. The Ragusan Republic reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries, when the Dubrovnik thalassocracy rivalled the Venetian Republic and other Italian maritime republics. 
  • Yugoslavia 1981. Structure in ancient Dubrovnik. 
The Republic gradually declined after a crisis of Mediterranean shipping -- and especially a catastrophic earthquake in 1667. In 1699. it was forced to sell two patches of its territory to the Ottomans in order to protect itself from the advancing Venetian forces. 

Its final demise was caused not by Venice, but by Napoleon's forces, which conquered first the Venetian territories and then the Dubrovnik Republic in 1806. In 1808, Marshal Marmont abolished the republic and amalgamated its territory into the Illyrian provinces. In 1815, by the resolution of the Vienna Congress, Dubrovnik was annexed to Austria (from 1867 Austria-Hungary), and remained in the Kingdom of Dalmatia until 1918. During that time its official name was Ragusa. From 1929 it became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia). 

  • Croatia 2003. Minceta Fortress, Dubrovnik. 

Croatia 2003.  Minceta Fortress, Dubrovnik.

Despite the demilitarization of the old town by the Yugoslav People's Army in the 1970s, in an attempt to prevent it from becoming a casualty of war following Croatia's independence in 1991, the same army attacked and surrounded the city on October 1, 1991, and the siege lasted until May 1992. Following the end of the war, a major rebuilding project led by the Croatian authorities and UNESCO began. They rebuilt the city in the ancient style to keep its sense of beauty and history.

Yugoslavia 1959. Old Dubrovnik in the 16th century.

Coatia 1998. Dubrovnik

As well as rebuilding damaged buildings, surviving structures were strengthened against earthquakes. As of 2005, most damaged buildings in the city have been repaired.
  • Yugoslavia 1959. Old Dubrovnik in the 16th century. 
  • Croatia 1998. Ancient buildings in Dubrovnik. 

Sources and links:

Many thanks to Mr. Miomir Zivkovic (Serbia Montenegro) for all help, support and encouragement. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Croatia (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Croatia-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 18 aug 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
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