Venice in the north and Dubrovnik in the south – these are undoubtedly the two most famous places in the Adriatic. Just like Venice, Dubrovnik was an independent republic at one point and blossomed in the two ‘golden’ centuries of its existence, which lasted from 1453 (the year of the Ottoman occupation of Constantinople) until 1667 (the year of the catastrophic earthquake that destroyed Dubrovnik).
The city is surrounded by walls in the shape of an irregular parallelogram, dominated by four large towers. The walls surround a clever network of streets which reflect the meticulously developed system, codes, provisions, orders, as well as rules that this city state was based on. Its existence was entered into the statute that was strictly applied to the area of the City (the City has always denoted Dubrovnik), as well as the entire administrative area of the Dubrovnik Republic, which stretches from Pelješac in the north-west to Boka Kotorska in the south-east, as well as the islands of Korčula, Lastovo, Mljet and all the Elaphiti islands near the city. This system created harmonious architecture (especially sacral architecture), fostered all types of art and science as well as trade and diplomatic ties with representatives of all the significant European capitals. The City gave birth to a multitude of scientists who became renowned across Europe in addition to poets, playwrights and seamen, many of who were constantly connected to leading global trends, and were even their creators. The patron of Dubrovnik is St Blaise. His image is carved into the City walls and can be seen from the sea when entering the port, as well as from many locations in the City. Many find the cathedral at the end of Stradun (the main City Street) to be the most beautiful and it is also dedicated to St Blaise. The walls surround many other churches, the largest of which are the cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, and the Franciscan monastery with the Little Brothers Church (the monastery houses the third oldest pharmacy in Europe). The Duke’s Palace, the Sponza Palace, tens of palaces once owned by Dubrovnik nobility, Orlando’s Pillar, the Big and Small Onofrio Fountain, the City Bell Tower, the granary and the quarantine hospitals are just some of the landmarks symbolizing the great history of the city which lost its independence during Napoleon’s conquests in 1808, when the Republic ceased to exist.