Arriving at the Port
Our cruise ship will port at the harbor. At Gruz Harbor port, many ships provide free shuttles to the old city; a 15-minute ride. We can take the taxi 40kn* (8USD) or 15-minute bus ride is 10kn* ($2USD). The bus stop is right by the main harbor called Gruz, you take the #1A or #1B, doesnt matter. Buy a ticket in Croatian money from the kiosk across the street and they can give change in Croatian money. The Kiosk is cheaper than what the bus charges. The kiosk tickets are valid for one hour. The bus (takes exact amount) has no air conditioning and it takes you to the last stop Pile (#2 in map), which is the last bus stop as well as the main entrance to the Old Town. You cant miss it - just walk in and have fun. On your way back take either one of these two buses. Get off when you see your cruise ship (it will be the same place you got on, too).
Dubrovnik, also known as "the Pearl of the Adriatic" is a city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its population was 43,770 in 2001down from 49,728 in 1991. In the 2001 census, 88.39% of its citizens declared themselves as Croats.. In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The prosperity of the city of Dubrovnik has always been based on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages, as the Republic of Dubrovnik, it became the only eastern Adriatic city-state to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries. Dubrovnik was one of the centres of the development of primarily the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable potes, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars. Historical lore indicates that Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century on a rocky island named Laus, which provided shelter for Croatian refugees from the nearby city of Cavtat. Some time later a settlement of Slavic people grew at the foot of the forested Sr? hill. This settlement gives to the city its Slavic name "Dubrovnik".
The strip of wetland between Dubrovnik and Dubrava was reclaimed in the 12th century, unifying the city around the newly-made plaza (today Placa). The plaza was paved in 1468 and reconstructed after the earthquake of 1667. The city was fortified and two harbourswere built on each side of the isthmus.
Another theory appeared recently, based on new archaeological excavations. New findings (a chapel and parts of the city walls) are dated to 5th century, and that contradicts the traditional theory. The size of the old chapel clearly indicates that there was quite large settlement at that time. There is increasing support in the scientific community for the theory that major construction of Dubrovnik took place during B.C. years. This "Greek theory" has been boosted by recent findings of numerous Greek artifacts during excavations in the Port of Dubrovnik. Also, drilling below main city road has shown that there is natural sand, which contradicts the theory of Laus (Lausa) island.
Dr. Antun Ni?eti? in his book (Povijest dubrova?ke luke - History of Port of Dubrovnik) expounds on the theory that Dubrovnik was established by Greek sailors. A key element in this theory is the fact that ships in ancient times travelled about 45-50 nautical miles per day, and required a sandy shore to pull out of water for the rest period during the night. The ideal rest site would have fresh water source in the vicinity. Dubrovnik has both, and is situated almost halfway between two known Greek settlements Budva and Kor?ula (95 NM is the distance between them).
From its establishment in the 7th century, the town was under the protection of the Byzantine Empire. After the Crusades, Dubrovnik came under the sovereignty of Venice (1205–1358), and by the Peace Treaty of Zadar in 1358, it became part of the Hungaro-Croatian reign.
Between the 14th century and 1808 Dubrovnik ruled itself as a free state. The Republic had its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries, when its thalassocracy rivaled that of the Republic of Venice and other Italian maritime republics.
The Republic of Dubrovnik received its own Statutes as early as 1272, statutes which, among other things, codified Roman practice and local customs. The Statutes included prescriptions for town planning and the regulation of quarantine (for hygienic reasons). The Republic was very inventive regarding laws and institutions that were developed very early:
? Medical service was introduced in 1301
? The first pharmacy (still working) was opened in 1317
? A refuge for old people was opened in 1347
? The first quarantine hospital (Lazarete) was opened in 1377
? Slave trading was abolished in 1418
? The orphanage was opened in 1432
? The water supply system (20 kilometers) was constructed in 1436
The city was ruled by aristocracy that formed two city councils. As usual for the time, they maintained a strict system of social classes. The republic abolished the slave trade early in the 15th century and valued liberty highly. The city successfully balanced its sovereignty between the interests of Venice and the Ottoman Empire for centuries.
The economic wealth of the Republic was partially the result of the land it developed, but especially of the seafaring trade it did. With the help of skilled diplomacy, Dubrovnik's merchants traveled lands freely, and on the sea the city had a huge fleet of merchant ships (argosy) that traveled all over the world. From these travels they founded some settlements, from India to America, and brought parts of their culture and vegetation home with them. One of the keys to success was not conquering, but trading and sailing under a white flag with the word freedom (Latin: Libertas) prominently featured on it. That flag was adopted when slave trading was abolished in 1418.
Many Conversos (Marranos) — Jews from Spain and Portugal — were attracted to the city. In May, 1544, a ship landed there filled exclusively with Portuguese refugees, as Balthasar de Faria reported to King John. During this time there worked in the city one of the most famous cannon and bell founders of his time: Ivan Rabljanin (Magister Johannes Baptista Arbensis de la Tolle).
The Republic gradually declined after a crisis of Mediterranean shipping — and especially a catastrophic earthquake in 1667 that killed over 5000 citizens, including the Rector, leveling most of the public buildings — ruined the well-being of the Republic. In 1699 the Republic sold two patches of its territory to the Ottomans in order to avoid terrestrial borderline, with advancing Venetian forces. Today this strip of land belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina and is its only direct access to the Adriatic.
In 1806 the city surrendered to French forces, as that was the only way to cut a month's long siege by the Russian-Montenegrin fleets (during which 3000 cannonballs fell on the city). At first Napoleon demanded only free passage for his troops, promising not to occupy the territory and stressing that the French were friends of the Ragusans. Later, however, French forces blockaded the harbours, forcing the government to give in and let French troops enter the city. On this day, all flags and coats of arms above the city walls were painted black as a sign of grief. In 1808, Marshal Marmont abolished the republic and integrated its territory into the Illyrian provinces.
Austrian rule - When the Habsburg Empire gained these provinces after the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the new imperial authorities installed a bureaucratic administration, which retained the essential framework of the Italian-speaking system. It introduced a series of modifications intended to centralize, albeit slowly, the bureaucratic, tax, religious, educational, and trade structures. Unfortunately for the local residents, these centralization strategies, which were intended to stimulate the economy, largely failed. And once the personal, political and economic trauma of the Napoleonic Wars had been overcome, new movements began to form in the region, calling for a political reorganization of the Adriatic along national lines.
The combination of these two forces—a flawed Habsburg administrative system and new national movements claiming ethnicity as the founding block towards a community—created a particularly perplexing problem; for Dalmatia was a province ruled by the German-speaking, centralizing Habsburg monarchy, with Italian-speaking elites that dominated a general population consisting of a Croatian, Catholic Slav majority and strong Serb Orthodox minority.
In 1815, the former Ragusan Government, i.e. its noble assembly, met for the last time in the ljetnikovac in Mokošica. Once again heavy efforts were undertaken to reestablish the Republic however this time it was all in vain. After fall of the Republic most of the aristocracy died out or emigrated overseas. Others were recognized by Austrian Empire.
In 1832, Baron Sigismondo Ghetaldi-Gondola (*1795 1860) was elected podestá of Ragusa, he served for 13 years, the Austrian government granted with the title of "Baron".
Count Raphael Pozza (Rafo Pucic) (*1828 1890), Dr. Jur., was elected for first time Podestŕ of Ragusa in the year 1869 after this was reelected in 1872, 1875, 1882, 1884) and elected two times into the Dalmatian Council, 1870, 1876. The victory of the Nationalist in Split (Spalato) in 1882 had a strong echo in the areas of Korkula and Dubrovnik. It was greeted by the mayor (podestá) of Dubrovnik Raphael Pozza, the National Reading Club of Dubrovnik, the Workers Association of Dubrovnik and the review "Slovinac"; by the communities of Kuna and Orebici, the latter one getting the nationalist govermment even before Split (Spalato).
In 1848, Croatian Assembly (Sabor) published People's Requests in which they requested among other things abolition of serfdom and the unification of Dalmatia with rest of Croatian lands (primarily with Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Croatia). Dubrovnik municipality was the most outspoken of all Dalmatian communes in its support for unification with Croatia. A letter was sent to Zagreb with pledges to work on this idea. In 1849, Dubrovnik continued to lead Dalmatian cities in the struggle for unification. A large-scale campaign was launched in the local paper L'Avvenire (The Future) based on a clearly formulated programme: the federal system for Habsburg territories, inclusion of Dalmatia into united Croatia and Slavic brotherhood.
In the same year, first issue of the Dubrovnik almanac appeared, Flower of the National Literature (Dubrovnik, cvijet narodnog knjizevstva), in which Petar Preradovi? published his noted poem "To Dubrovnik". The Emperor Franz Joseph brought the so-called Imposed Constitution which prohibited unification of Dalmatia and Croatia and also any further political activity with this end in view. The political struggle of Dubrovnik to be united with Croatia, which was intense throughout 1848 and 1849, did not succeed at that time.
In 1861, the Dalmatian Assembly met for the first time, with representatives from Ragusa. Representatives of Cattaro (now Kotor) came to join the struggle for unification with Croatia. The citizens of Ragusa gave them a festive welcome, flying Croatian flags from ramparts, and exhibiting slogan: Ragusa with Cattaro. The people of Cattaro elected a delegation to go to Vienna; Ragusa nominated Niko Puci? (National Party). Niko Puci? went to Vienna to demand not only the unification of Dalmatia with Croatia, but also the unification of all Croatian territories under one common Assembly.
Austrian rule and Austro-Hungarian rule which followed lasted for more than a century and were typified by the motto of the world powers of that time: Divide et impera (Divide and rule). Austrian policy of denationalizing the Dalmatian coasts and favoring the immigrant Italian minority left its mark in the political division of the population as best expressed in the political parties: the Croatian People's Party and the Autonomous Party.
In 1889, Serbian Catholics political circle in Dubrovnik supported Baron Francesco Ghetaldi-Gondola, candidate of Autonomous Party, vs the candidate of Popular Party Vlaho de Giulli, in 1890 election to Dalmatian Diet. Following year during the local government election, Autonomous Party with Serbian Party obtain the municipal reelection with Frano Gondola, who died in charge 1899, the aliance won again the election 27 May 1894. Francesco Ghetaldi-Gondola was founded the Societa Philately in 4 December 1890.
In 1893, the minister of the city, Baron Francesco Ghetaldi-Gondola, opened the monument for Ivan Gunduli? in Piazza Gunduli? (Gondola).
1921–1991: With fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the city was incorporated into the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). The name of the city was officially changed from Ragusa to Dubrovnik.
In 1921 Pero Cingrija died (born 1837), politician and one of the leaders of the People's Party in Dalmatia. It was thanks to his efforts that the People's Party and the Party of Right were fused into one Croatian Party in 1905
In World War II, Dubrovnik became part of the Nazi puppet Independent State of Croatia, occupied by an Italian army first, and by a German army after September 1943. In October 1944 Tito's partisans entered Dubrovnik, that became consequently part of Communist Yugoslavia. Soon after their arrival into the city, Partisans sentenced approximately 78 citizens to death without trial, including a Catholic priest.
Break-up of Yugoslavia: In 1991 Croatia and Slovenia, which at that time were republics within Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, declared their independence. At that event, Socialist Republic of Croatia was renamed Republic of Croatia.
Despite demilitarization of the old town in early 1970s in an attempt to prevent it from ever becoming a casualty of war, following Croatia's independence in 1991, Serbian-Montenegrin remains of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) attacked the city. The regime in Montenegro led by Momir Bulatovi?, which was installed by and loyal to the Serbian government led by Slobodan Miloševi?, declared that Dubrovnik would not be permitted to remain in Croatia because they claimed it was historically part of Montenegro. This was in spite of the large Croat majority in the city and that very few Montenegrins resided there, though Serbs accounted for six percent of the population. Many consider the claims by the Bulatovi? government, as being part of Serbian President Miloševi?'s plan to deliver his nationalist supporters theGreater Serbia they desired as Yugoslavia collapsed.
On October 1, 1991 Dubrovnik was attacked by JNA with a siege of Dubrovnik that lasted for seven months. Heaviest artillery attack happened on December 6 with 19 people killed and 60 wounded. Total casualties in the conflict according to Croatian Red Cross were 114 killed civilians, among them celebrated poet Milan Milisi?. In May 1992 the Croatian Army liberated Dubrovnik and its surroundings, but the danger of sudden attacks by the JNA lasted for another three years.
Following the end of the war, damage caused by the shelling of the Old Town was repaired. Adhering to UNESCO guidelines, repairs were performed in the original style. As of 2005, most damage had been repaired. The inflicted damage can be seen on a chart near the city gate, showing all artillery hits during the siege. ICTY indictments were issued for JNA generals and officers involved in the bombing.
General Pavle Strugar, who was coordinating the attack on the city, was sentenced to an eight year prison term by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for his role in the attack of the city.
The 1996 Croatia USAF CT-43 crash killed everyone on a United States Air Force jet with VIP passengers.
Today: The annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival is a cultural event when keys of the city are given to artists who entertain Dubrovnik's population and their guests for entire month with live plays, concerts, and games.
Ivan Gunduli?, a 17th century Croatian writer, predicted the downfall of the great Turkish Empire in his great poem Osman.
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival has been awarded its first Gold International Trophy for Quality (2007) by the Editorial Office in collaboration with the Trade Leaders Club.
February 3 is the feast of Sveti Vlaho (Saint Blaise), who is the city's patron saint. Every year the city of Dubrovnik celebrates the holiday with Mass, parades, and festivities that last for several days.
Dubrovnik and its surroundings with numerous islands have a lot to offer in touristic activities for younger generations. Also popular are climbing on steep hills, hiking through the Mediterranean nature, and swimming in the clean, transparent sea.