Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Dubrovnik

 

 

 

 

Location: Dalmatia

 

 

 

 

When to come

Dubrovnik weather is fairly mild due to its position on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. However certain dates might be more suitable depending on your preferences of number of tourists, weather and etc.

 

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Dubrovnik Summer Festival is an annual summer festival that started in 1950 shortly after completion of World War II. It usually lasts from 10 July to 25 August. It consists of dozens of artists who stage open air performances of classical music, theatre, opera, dance, circus and etc. In addition to native residents Dubrovnik also hosts guests from all over Europe and beyond.

 

Description of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik or Ragusa is a coastal city located in the Dalmatian region of the Republic of Croatia, near the national border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has a population of 42,615 inhabitants (2011 census) and is one of the most important tourist centers of the Adriatic Sea. It is known as "the pearl of the Adriatic", "the Dalmatian Athens", since its ancient inhabitants distinguished it as unique, where great exponents of humanity, arts and sciences proliferated. Capital of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Dubrovnik is a city surrounded by walls and fortifications, at the foot of the mountain of San Sergio, which falls to peak over the waters of the Adriatic Sea. In 1979, the ancient city of Ragusa (the walled enclosure) was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco; the declaration was expanded in 1994.

 

Dubrovnik Destinations

Dubrovnik Fortress

 

 

Tower Minčeta (Dubrovnik)

Pile Gate (Vrata od Pila) (Dubrovnik)

 

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Dubrovnik)

Stradun Street (Dubrovnik)

Church of Saint Blaise (Dubrovnik)

Home of the poet and play writer Marina Drzicha (Dom Marina Drzica) (Dubrovnik)

Dubrovnik City Museum (Dubrovnik)

Ethnographic Museum or the Museum of Rupe (Dubrovnik)

Rector's Palace or Prince's Palace (Dubrovnik)

Sponza Palace (Dubrovnik)

Dominican Convent (Dominikanski samostan i crkva sv. Dominika) (Dubrovnik)

Saint Savior Church (Dubrovnik)

Onuphrius' or Onofrio's Fountain (Dubrovnik)

Franciscan Monastery (Dubrovnik)

 

History of Dubrovnik

In the first half of the seventh century, before the invasions of Slavs and Avars that ravaged the Balkan peninsula, Romanized inhabitants of the city of Epidaurus (now known as Cavtat or Ragusavecchia) sought refuge in a nearby settlement called Rausium, located on the island of Laus (which in Greek means "rock"), facing the Adriatic coast. An anonymous Byzantine geographer of Ravenna, in the year 667, marks the date of this event as the year 614. This is the first written mention made of the city of Ragusa of the Romanized Dalmatians, according to a famous passage by Constantine Porphyrogenite:

 

"In the language of the Romans, the city was not called Ragusa, there was mention of what was located on top of the hills, in the Roman language it is called Lau, "La roca", so that the inhabitants are called "Lausaioi", which means "those who live on the rock, that name is corrupted until it reaches "Rausaioi".

 

But the vulgar appellative and, with time, the name of the city was written in several ways, all derived from this root: Lausa, Labusa, Raugia, Rausa, Rachusa and finally Ragusa. The Slavic name Dubrovnik appeared during the Middle Ages and comes from the Slavic word Dubrava, "oak forest", with which it was called a village outside the Ragusa of the Dalmatians: in fact, these trees covered the mountains of St. Sergius (in Slavic Brgat).

It is said that Roland himself, the famous knight, came to the aid of the besieged city and freed it from the invader. In the ninth century, Ragusa was already the most important city of southern Dalmatia and formed a small Ragusina Community under the protection of Byzantium, then under the dominion of the Republic of Venice until 1358, when with the Treaty of Zara (Zadar) gave it its independence. It became known as the Republic of Ragusa, that paid an annual tribute to the King of Hungary and then to the Doges of Venice. The city and its municipal contour occupied barely an area of ​​approximately 1 km², but its ships during the beginning of the Italian Renaissance were sailing all the seas from the Adriatic to the Bosphorus. Some Italian academics have come to consider the Republic of Ragusa as the Fifth Marine Republic of Italy, along with Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi, for being originally of neo-Latin speanking. Indeed, the Dalmatian language (very similar to Venetian) was the native language of Ragusa before the year 1000.

Like Venice, it had its own war fleet to defend itself, but it was not enough to prevent the Normans from taking over the city in 1081. In the 12th century, walls were erected around the new city to protect themselves from the invasions that came from both the East and the West. At the end of that century, Ragusa was one of the Republics that chose its ruler democratically. The thriving Republic of Venice, whose ships made stops on the Dalmatian coast, longed to annex this strategic port for its commercial purposes. The Venetian army was set in motion in 1205 and conquered the city, conserving it until 1358.

Ragusa was officially called Ragusa, but by the Slavic inhabitants who resided outside the city it was called by the name of Dubrovnik (from the Illyrian term dubrava, forest of oaks). After the absorption of the Slavic suburbs, Ragusa obtained a special status where the descendants of the Romanized Dalmatians constituted the local aristocracy and the Italian language was considered the official language. After accepting the appointment of a bishop, the ragusais retained commercial and political control of their city. By sharing the powers, they managed to maintain their main prerogatives in citizen affairs. When Venice withdrew from Ragusa, the Turks appeared in the east.

 

 

The Dalmatian Athens

In 1364, that is to say, 24 years before the famous battle of Kosovo, Ragusa signed with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire a treaty of alliance and protection, the first such document established between a Muslim country and a Christian State. Thanks to this agreement, Dubrovnik was respected by the Ottoman invasion that happened very close without paying attention to it. It is worth highlighting an interesting question. The historical limit of the Turkish expansion corresponds exactly to the current border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Turks stopped at the top of the mountain that dominates the city like a natural wall, but they did not descend. In exchange for protection, Dubrovnik had to pay a tribute to the Sultan. A delegation went every year to Constantinople to fulfill the formality. Members of the delegation had to stay a year in the place, serving in this way as a hostage until the next tribute arrived. From 1421, the shipowners of the city obtained the privilege of trading with Asia and Africa. With the monopoly of maritime trade in the Greco-Slavic provinces, Ragusa rivaled Pisa and Venice in wealth and Florence in culture. In addition, Ragusa arrived to have consulate in Seville and sent two sailors to the caravels of Columbus on his first trip to Americas.

The city deserved the nickname of "Dalmatian Athens". Dubrovnik is home to Baglivi , the astronomer Roger Joseph Boscovich and the Benedictine sage Banduri, who was secretary of the Duke of Orleans (1724). Thanks to this, the city managed to maintain its independence for close to a thousand years. Even occupied, the Republic of Ragusa retained a remarkable autonomy thanks to the ability of its diplomacy.

 

 

A free city in the Adriatic

The entire economy of Ragusa was based on navigation and maritime trade, that is, on ships. Sailing was so important that each man had to plant a hundred cypress trees throughout his life. After fifty years, that wood would serve for the construction of boats. To do this, they submerged the wood in sea water and then put it to dry. The salt blocked the holes and hardened it. This custom explains the abundance of cypresses in the hills surrounding the city. At the time of its maximum splendor (sixteenth century), Ragusa's fleet consisted of two hundred ships. The expansion continued until April 1, 1667, when a major earthquake almost completely destroyed the city, killing about 5,000 people (or 40% of the population). In that earthquake the majority of the aristocracy of Ragusa perished, that was formed by descendants of romanized Dalmatians: the city was repopulated mainly by Slavs of the interior and since then it lost its neo-Latin characteristics.

 

 

Abolition of the Republic of Ragusa by Napoleon

After obtaining decisive victories over Austria, Napoleon seized territories located south of the Alps, on the Adriatic coast, between Trieste and Montenegro and rushed upon them. On January 31, 1808, a Napoleonic decree put an end to the Republic of Ragusa, which was incorporated into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. But already in 1809 Ragusa was added to the Illyrian Provinces with the capital Ljubljana. Marshal Auguste Marmont, Duke of Ragusa, became the governor of the Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813) dominated by France. The French did not stay long, but they left their imprint on the collective memory.

Humiliated by an army of foreign conquerors, the nobles of "Dalmatian-Italian" origin were forced to abandon power and their privileges. Despite this, they continued to maintain their veiled control and respect for the inhabitants of the city throughout the Austrian occupation. But the nobles did not appreciate the reforms of the French. In effect, the French carried out different works: they built a fortification on the top of the mountain that still survives and a very long road, still in use that went from the Italian border near Trieste to the Ragusa region. In addition, they advantageously reorganized the school system using the Italian language and granted the Jews of the city a status of equality with other citizens. In 1815, the Napoleonic Empire was abolished at the Congress of Vienna.

 

 

 

 

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