Dubrovnik is a port city on the southernmost part of Republic of Croatia. Once an important trade port, Dubrovnik today is mostly a cruise vessel destination port and a well known tourist destination.
The reason that Dubrovnik is so well known and visited is not because of its clear, clean sea, abundant with sea food delicacies, beach resorts indented in the sea nor the wonderful lush green islands that inhabit the horizon.
It is the fortifications, ramparts and towers of Dubrovnik and the rich history behind it that makes Dubrovnik so compelling to the outside visitors.
The mighty walls of Dubrovnik were built, reinforced and reconstructed mainly in the period from the 12th to the second half of the 17th century.
A great number of constructors were involved in designs of Dubrovnik defensive walls. These walls once defended Dubrovnik from the hostile neighbors and now serve mainly to indulge the curiosity of beauty seeking travelers.
Nicifor Ranjina in 1319 designed the quadrilateral Minceta tower.
Michelozzo di Bartholomeo Michelozzi in 1461-1464 expanded and modernized the defensive walls of Dubrovnik and converted Minceta tower to a large cylindrical fort.
Juraj Dalmatinac or George the Dalmatian in 1465-1466 added a Gothic crown to the Minceta tower, adding to its beauty.
Paskoje Milicevic worked on Dubrovnik walls 1466-1516; Antonio Ferramolino in 1538; Mihajlo Hranjac in 1617, etc..
Today, main Dubrovnik defensive wall is 1,940 m long (following the ring-corridor), 4-6 m wide on the mainland side and 1.5-5 m wide on the sea side, and up to 25 m high. The walls are reinforced by three circular and 14 quadrangular towers, five bastions (bulwarks), two angular fortifications and a large fortress called Sveti Ivan (St. John).
Among the towers, the most monumental is the circular tower of Minceta, on the north-western corner of the ramparts. The reinforcement, along the main wall on the mainland side, includes one larger and nine smaller semicircular bastions, and the casemate fortress Bokar, the oldest preserved fortress of that kind in Europe.
Dubrovnik is also defended from two independent fortresses: Revelin, on the eastern side, built in the period 1539-1551, and Lovrijenac, on the western side, situated at a 46-m high cliff above the sea,
The founding of Dubrovnik takes us to the beginning of the common era and the destruction of old Epidaurus by the Avar tribes. After Epidaurus has been destroyed the refugees found shelter within the small fortifications of a small town on a rock island nearby. The town name was Laus - the rock. Later on in the 7th century with the Slav migration came the Croatians and formed a settlement on the shores opposite the island. The shore slopes were wooded with oak trees and the corresponding Slav word was Dubrava. The two settlements traded and grew until, with time, the two settlements became one. The name Lausa was derrived through time and became Rausa, and later on Ragusa - the name of ancient Dubrovnik.
Throughout time Dubrovnik grew to become a powerful merchant republic that rivaled Venice on the Mediterannean and whose trade influence reached out all the way west to England, and east to India.
In 1812, the Republic of Dubrovnik was abolished by Napoleon and there started the modern history of Dubrovnik which closely followed the fate of Croatia. First part of Austro-Hungarian kingdom, then The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and then a a part of Yugoslavia and finally in 1991, a sovereign part of Republic of Croatia.
Today Dubrovnik lives with its past as many native words in use today have mixed descent, Roman or Slav. Beyond the words history dwells on every step and in every stone as endless stories are etched in each and every little stone embedded in this architectural wonder that is Dubrovnik.