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DUBROVNIK   (map)

Those who wish to see heaven on earth should come to Dubrovnik - George Bernard Shaw 1929

You can’t be disappointed with the ancient city of Dubrovnik. Lying on the southern coast of Croatia, it ranks among the sunniest towns in southern Europe and is easily one of the most beautiful towns in the world.

Surrounded by a 25 m high wall stretching 2 km in length, the Old Town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We recommend viewing it first from the top of these ancient walls, then meandering through the narrow alleys and spacious squares. Relax with a coffee or better yet, some local wine and contemplate the history before you.

Dubrovnik once commanded the greatest merchant fleet in the Mediterranean during the 15th and 16th centuries. Indeed, an institute for marine insurance has existed here since the second half of 14th century! Up to the 19th century, Dubrovnik served as the chief cultural center of the southern Slavs, thus leaving a legacy of culturally and historically important buildings. Zudioska is the second oldest synagogue in Europe dating from the 15th century and lying in what used to be the Jewish Ghetto, established in 1352. The Franciscan Monastery housed Europe’s oldest pharmacy and now serves as a museum showcasing this special history. There are numerous other churches, palaces, museums, piers, marinas and promenades waiting to be discovered in this city, blessed with a Mediterranean climate and surrounded by subtropical and luxuriant vegetation.

For Croatians, Dubrovnik serves as a symbol of the people’s freedom. Established in the 7th century, it was ruled first by Byzantium. However, it has been an independent city state since 1272. Throughout the ages Dubrovnik has withstood surrounding rule by Venice, by Hungary, and by Ottomans. Not until 1808 was this city state abolished, by Napoleon. Dubrovnik, together with Croatia, was annexed to the Austrian State by the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Following WWI it was incorporated into the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia).

As an independent city-state, Dubrovnik flourished. It was both sophisticated and progressive, developing its own codified town planning laws, hygienic regulations, medical services (1301) and a pharmacy (1317). Homes for the elderly were established in 1347 and a Supreme Medical Counsel in 1424. 1432 saw the arrival of an orphanage and town waterworks were established in 1436.

In 1991, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Serb militias responded by laying siege to the town, bombarding it with artillery. A thriving tourism industry stopped in its tracks. But the fighting stopped over a decade ago, and tourism has been undergoing a revival since the mid >90's. Today Dubrovnik, with a population of about 50,000, is alive and well. Tourists are returning by boat, by car, by plane. Summer in particular boasts numerous cultural festivals, with concerts and performances occurring in the streets and inside the city’s famous buildings.

It’s an exciting time to witness Dubrovnik as it experiences its next revival, and you will need more than one day to experience it!!!