The fortified walls of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is an ancient city on the Adriatic coast of Croatia.  Nicknamed `the Pearl of the Adriatic’ it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it is considered to be one of the prettiest towns in the Mediterranean.  As a major port for many centuries, Dubrovnik has had to endure many invasions.  As a result, this timeless city is well fortified against attack.

The Dubrovnik city walls are the major attraction for visitors and one of the best preserved fortification complexes in Europe.  The 1940-metre long walls encompass five forts and sixteen towers and bastions. The walls are open for visitors all the year round.

The three entrances to the walls include those next to St Luke’s Church in the east, next to St Saviour’s Church at the Pile entrance to the Old City and next to the Maritime Museum located at St John’s Fort. Taking a walk along the Dubrovnik city walls you will see some of the striking forts used for the defence of the Dubrovnik Republic. Of the five existing forts, Minčeta, Bokar and St John were built within the city walls complex, whereas the two freestanding ones include Lovrjenac in the west and Revelin in the east. Located at the highest point of the city Fort Minčeta protected Dubrovnik from the north.

The fort is the symbol of Dubrovnik’s defence. In the southwest Fort Bokar, also called Zvjezdan, stands at the corner of the city walls facing Lovrjenac. It was constructed in the 15th century for the purpose of protecting the small western City harbour, the moat and the Pile Bridge. Today it houses a collection of stone fragments from the Dubrovnik area.

St John’s Fort is the first quadrangular pier tower built in 1346 in order to protect the city harbour from the southeast. A long time ago the city chain was pulled by means of a winch from the fort. An aquarium is situated in the fort’s ground floor, whereas the first and the second floor house the Maritime Museum. At the foot of St John’s Fort is a huge pier with a lighthouse – the Porporela, which is a meeting place of lovers, and a promenade and bathing place of residents of the Old City.

From Porporela one can see Fort Revelin standing outside the city walls at the eastern entrance to the city. The stone and wooden draw bridge connects the imposing fort with the land side, and another stone bridge connects it with the city. Surrounded with a moat on three sides and the sea on the fourth, the fort was a part of the city which was quite difficult to take over. Although constructed in an earlier period, Revelin acquired its present day dimensions and size in the 16th century. Today, the interior of the fort is out to more artistic use as within its terraces are held concert of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and is the venue for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

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