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Dubrovnik Overview

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik is the city located at the south end of Croatia. It has it’s own airport as well as ferry terminal so it can be reached by air from vast range of European cities as well as by various ferries from Croatian cities, towns and islands as well as from Italy. Dubrovnik is city rich with culture and history so it is listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.
Dubrovnik old town was built in the 13th century and remains almost untouched to the present day. Tall walls surround Dubrovnik Old Town.
There are two main portals to the old town, Pile and Ploce, both leading to the Stradun, the Dubrovnik’s main boulevard.
Dubrovnik has a rich cultural life that includes Dubrovnik theatre, several cinemas as well as Dubrovnik Film Festival and Dubrovnik Summer Festival, held every year in July and August.
The very favourable geographical position of Dubrovnik made its development based on maritime and merchant activities very successful through its History. From the entrance to the Adriatic Sea,
Dubrovnik is the first port protected by islands on the maritime route to the West, and by way of the Neretva Valley, it has the fastest connection with its hinterland. New archaeological excavations in
the foundations of the present City prove that a settlement existed in the 6th century or even earlier. It was enlarged by the arrival of the Croats after the destruction of the ancient Epidaurum (present Cavtat) in the 7th century.
The intensified traffic between the East and the West during and after the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries heralded the prosperity of maritime and merchant centers in the Mediterranean and Adriatic of which Dubrovnik was one.
Liberation from the Venetian influence which Dubrovnik achieved by the Zadar Treaty in 1358, was crucial for its later successful development. The other Dalmatian towns did not succeed and they finally came under the rule of the Venetian state in 1420.
During the 14th and in the 15th centuries, Dubrovnik, along with Venice and Ancona, became the most significant seafaring and merchant center at the Adriatic. By agreements and land-purchasing Dubrovnik enlarged its territory from Klek in the north and to Sutorina at the entrance of the Bay of Boka including the islands Mljet, Lastovo, Elaphites and Lokrum.
In the 16th century the legal status of the Dubrovnik Republic was completely established which meant the independent election of the rector and councillors,its own currency and the flag with its patron
St.Blasius, the independent legislature and the right to establish consulates abroad. On the basis of the aristocratic social order the permanent supreme power was vested in the Great Council, which consisted of members of aristocratic families. It elected members of the Senate and of the Small Council which was the executive body of the Great Council.The Rector was elected for a period of a month only as a nominal symbol of power.
As early as in the 15th century the Dubrovnik authorities had a very successfully organized transit trade with the Balkans hinterland. Under pressure from the aggressive expansionism of the Turks in the Balkans the Dubrovnik Republic accepted Turkish patronage on payment of an annual tribute in 1525 but, in return it obtained a license for free trade throughout the entire Turkish Empire with payment of only 2% customs. The small state,deprived of its army, brought its defensive system to perfection by skillful diplomacy and wide consular activities. Non-interference in international conflicts and the patronage of great states, particularly of Spain and the Vatican, enabled the Republic to uphold its sovereignty. The only permanent rival and enemy of the state was the Venetian Republic.
A general crisis in maritime affairs at the Mediterranean in the 17th century struck the Dubrovnik mercantile trade as well. The disastrous earthquake in 1667 forced the Dubrovnik Republic to fight for its existence and the protection of its political sovereignty. In the 18th century Dubrovnik found an opportunity for economic revival in the seaborne trade under a neutral flag until the arrival of Napoleon and the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic in 1808.
At the Congress in Vienna in 1815 Dubrovnik region became a part of Dalmatia and Croatia and it shares the same political destiny with them ever since.
Following the declaration of the independence of the Republic of Croatia and the subsequent aggression of Serbia against Croatia, Dubrovnik was attacked in October 1991 with extreme force by the Serbs and Montenegrins who intended to burn and destroy the whole territory completely. The Dubrovnik region was occupied and devastated and the City itself was totally encircled for eight months, bombarded many times and brutally destroyed particularly on the 6th of December 1991.
Today the cultural and historic heritage of Dubrovnik has been restored. Reconstructed hotels, and the valuable assets of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival as well as the other cultural events are essential elements for the development of modern tourism.