Follow us!

Dubrovnik City Walls

Dubrovnik City Walls - Built and Preserved to Fulfil Your Mediterranean Fantasy - A place where imagination meets reality

Dubrovnik City Walls and its secrets await for you to unlock them…and we can help you with it.

“Hmm… The seafront is clear. No battle fleets on the horizon. No sails, nor the dragons. The Iron Throne is safe…”

Dubrovnik City Walls
Dubrovnik City Walls

These must be the thoughts of every proper Game of Thrones fan that climbs up the 25 meters high Dubrovnik City Walls.

The rest of us are free to admire its glory.

Dubrovnik City Walls: The Mediterranean Fantasy Coming to Life

Imagine a perfect Mediterranean landscape. The endless blue of the-sky-meets-the-sea in the distance, the seagulls playing hunter games in the blinding sunlight, the waves hitting the white rocks, the sails cutting through the wind, the stone houses with terracotta roofs, the crickets, the palms… everything.

Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

Dubrovnik City
Dubrovnik City

Now, for the premium extravaganza, add ancient stone walls and towers and fortresses, built on limestone cliffs confronting the wild ocean, and you’ve got Dubrovnik, UNESCO cultural heritage site from 1979

The tour of The Dubrovnik City Walls is probably the most popular in Dubrovnik. The walls welcome hundreds of visitors every day and there is a stronger reason for it than the fact the same walls are defending The King’s Landing, too.

Or to say so – “were defending it” – until Daenerys Targaryen and her “cutish” dragon-pet Dracarys decided to tear them down in a fire and terror, within only a couple of minutes. And then the entire city, within the next couple of public-broadcasting minutes that followed. So, in a single episode, Dubrovnik was ruined.
Completely.

Sunset in Dubrovnik
Sunset in Dubrovnik

Fortunately, the TV show doesn’t refer to reality at any point. The city and its walls managed to survive almost untouched for centuries and centuries in real life.

And that’s a fact, not a fantasy.

Dubrovnik City Walls: The Jewel of Medieval Architecture

The Dubrovnik City Walls are among the finest preserved wall monuments in Europe. Its bulk was mostly constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, and continually extended and strengthened up until the 17th century, to defend the city and the free Republic of Dubrovnik from both the sea and the land.

The Gates of Ploče
The Gates of Ploče

As it turned up, this complex fortification system was mostly just the insurance, because the walls themselves were never been breached by a hostile army, thanks to the smart diplomacy of the Republic.

They’ve built the walls to protect themselves, but did everything in their political power to prevent the very need to be protected at all. So, in the ironic game of history, the walls stayed mostly untouched giving us all a chance to enjoy The Jewel of Adriatic in its undisputed beauty. The Jewel of Adriatic is actually The Jewel of Medieval Architecture in general.

The Story of Dubrovnik City Walls, Or How a Small Coastal Town Became a Crucial Player in Global Power Games

The written history of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) starts in 866 and a 15-months-lasting Saracens’ siege. Dubrovnik was then saved by the Byzantine navy, but the fact that the city resisted siege for 15 months serves to prove that it was already well fortified.

After the city took its definite shape in the 11th century, merging from the island Lausa to the mainland (fun fact – the channel separating Lausa from the mainland was in a place of today’s Stradun Street, the main street and a focal socializing point in the old town), a single limestone wall was soon built around it.

St. Lawrence Fortress

In the following centuries, most notably from 14th to the latter part of 16th, the walls were constantly modified to respond to ever-changing political maps of the then-known world.

For the greatest part of its history, and encouraged by its geographical position in the Adriatic, Dubrovnik was leading an intriguing role of gently maneuvering between the East and the West. It was importing the goods from the east and exporting the crafts from the west.

Playing smart and clever as the republic of free and equal (fun fact: Dubrovnik was among the first countries to abolish slavery) it convinced everyone a crucial party in their interest.

For five centuries the free Republic of Dubrovnik (1358 – 1808) balanced between Venetians and Ottoman Empire due to its strategic diplomacy, constantly upgrading their defence fortification system. For the enemies of Dubrovnik, the walls proved harder to conquer than what it took on their behalf to maintain a productive relationship. So, they all cooperated.

And the walls stayed intact to present-day for you to enjoy the master-work.

The Numbers

To supplement your idea to visit the walls, we suggest you empower yourself with some numbers. Here is a quick overview of crucial numbers:
  • The Dubrovnik City Walls encircle the old town in an uninterrupted course of 940 meters.
  • The maximum height of the walls is 25 meters.
  • The land walls are 4 -6 meters wide, while the sea walls are thinner (1,5 – 3 meters) because of the natural defence provided by the sea-cliffs.
  • The walls shape the irregular parallelogram consisting of the main city wall, 16 towers, 3 fortresses, 6 bastions, 2 corner fortifications (canonates), 3 precincts with a series of torrets, 3 ditches, 2 pre-fortresses and 2 city bridges on the sides of Pile and Ploče.
St. John Fortress
St. John Fortress

The Highlights

Every stone inside the city walls has a story or two to take your breath away. Here are just some of the highlights to help you organize your impressions:

  • Minčeta Tower

The circular tower at the highest, northern part of the city walls was built to defend the city from the land.

The need for it came under a Turkish war threat, after the fall of Constantinople in 1463, and the fall of Bosnia in the following year, so it had to be built fast.

The problem occurred when intensive construction faced a lack of stone material. Therefore, the new rule was constituted – no one could enter the city unless they brought the stones with them, equal to their physical constitution.

It’s hard to imagine what would be the results of that rule today when thousands of guests visit the city every day.

  • Lawrence Fortress

The quadrilateral fortress built outside the western city walls, 37 meters above the sea. It could defend the city from the sea. Interestingly, its sea-fronting walls are much wider than the walls on the back end, the one facing Dubrovnik. If the fort falls, it could easily be bombed from the city.

Today, Lovrijenac, which is its local name, serves as an ideal stage for the greatest renaissance drama, like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, played and performed as a part of the famous Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

  • John Fortress

The monumental fortress at the old city port. It consists of two older forts and it was used to protect the city entrance from pirates and enemy armies. If any ship tried to enter uninvited, the underwater chain that was stretched between two forts would demolish the ship from down under. No fighting, no shooting, only the effective logistical defence.

  • The Gates

Although there are five gates to enter the old city, only two of them are considered the main historic gates: The Gates of Pile and The Gates of Ploče.

The Pile Gates, protected by the Fort Bokar, is the main city entrance in the western part of the city walls. It consists of two bridges – the stone bridge and the wooden bridge. The wooden bridge was hoisted every night and the keys of the city were delivered to the city rector. The Ploče Gates, protected by the Revelin Fort, is the second major entrance to the city, built at the eastern part of the city walls.

……………………

There are other walls and fortified towns in the world, of course. The walls of York, Jerusalem or Avila…

The Walls of Dubrovnik definitely deserve such glorious company, but its unique glory goes not only to its architectural magnificence, so solid to easily outlive even the natural disasters like the catastrophic earthquake that hit the city in 1667, but it goes also to the people of Dubrovnik who cherished their love for freedom so much they never allowed anyone to take it away from them.

The words inscripted above the gate of St. Lawrence Fortress sum it up the best:

Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro

Freedom is not to be sold for all the treasures in the world.

 

Your CTC Team, S.J.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter    

MAGICAL CROATIA:
Explore the Wonders

Please, enter where to send the e-book

GREAT THINGS

come to those who subscribe

Find out the latest information, interesting articles and much more…

Come to Croatia website uses cookies to ensure the best possible user experience. Click on the “Close Cookie Consent” button to agree with cookie policy. You can read all information about cookies at Information about cookies.