Culture and history info
The annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival is a 45-day-long cultural event with live plays, concerts, and games. It has been awarded a Gold International Trophy for
Quality (2007) by the Editorial Office in collaboration with the Trade Leaders Club.
The patron saint of the city is Sveti Vlaho (Saint Blaise), whose statues are seen around the city. He has an importance similar to that of St. Mark the Evangelist
to Venice. One of the larger churches in city is named after Saint Blaise. 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.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 50 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2002.
The city boasts of many old buildings, such as the Arboretum Trsteno, the oldest arboretum in the world, dating back to before 1492. Also, the third oldest European
pharmacy is located in the city, which dates back to 1317 (and is the only one still in operation today). It is located at Little Brothers monastery in Dubrovnik.
In history, many Conversos (Marranos) were attracted to Dubrovnik, formerly a considerable seaport. In May 1544, a ship landed there filled exclusively with
Portuguese refugees, as Balthasar de Faria reported to King John. Another admirer of Dubrovnik, George Bernard Shaw, visited the city in 1929 and said:
"If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik."
In the bay of Dubrovnik is the 72-hectare wooded island of Lokrum, where according to legend, Richard the Lionheart was cast ashore after being shipwrecked
in 1192. The island includes a fortress, botanical garden, monastery and naturist beach.
Among the many tourist destinations are a few beaches. Banje, Dubrovnik's main public beach, is home to the Eastwest Beach Club. There is also Copacabana
Beach, a stony beach on the Lapad peninsula, named after the popular beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Dubrovnik has also been mentioned in popular film and theatre. In the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Michael Caine, one of the characters said to
have been dreaming of fairy from Dubrovnik (motive known from local legends and literature).
Few of Dubrovnik's Renaissance buildings survived the earthquake of 1667 but fortunately enough remained to give an idea of the city's architectural heritage.
The finest Renaissance highlight is the Sponza Palace which dates from the 16th century and is currently used to house the National Archives.
The Rector's Palace is a Gothic-Renaissance structure that displays finely carved capitals and an ornate staircase. It now houses a museum. Its façade
is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 50 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2002. The St. Saviour Church is another remnant of the Renaissance period,
next to the much-visited Franciscan Church and Monastery. The Franciscan monastery's library possesses 30,000 volumes, 216 incunabula, 1,500 valuable
handwritten documents. Exhibits include a 15th-century silver-gilt cross and silver thurible, and an 18th-century crucifix from Jerusalem, a martyrology (1541) by
Bemardin Gucetic and illuminated psalters.
Dubrovnik's most beloved church is St Blaise's church, built in the 18th century in honour of Dubrovnik's patron saint. Dubrovnik's Baroque Cathedral was
built in the 18th century and houses an impressive Treasury with relics of Saint Blaise. The city's Dominican Monastery resembles a fortress on the outside but the
interior contains an art museum and a Gothic-Romanesque church. A special treasure of the Dominican monastery is its library with 216 incunabula, numerous
illustrated manuscripts, a rich archive with precious manuscripts and documents and an extensive art collection.
The Neapolitan architect and engineer Onofrio della Cava completed the aqueduct with two public fountains, both built in 1438. Close to the Pile Gate stands the
Big Onofrio's Fountain in the middle of a small square. It may have been inspired by the former Romanesque baptistry of the former cathedral in Bunić Square.
The sculptural elements were lost in the earthquake of 1667. Water jets gush out of the mouth of the sixteen mascarons. The Little Onofrio's Fountain stands at the
eastern side of the Placa, supplying water the market place in the Luža Square. The sculptures ware made by the Milanese artist Pietro di Martino
(who also sculpted the ornaments in the Rector's Palace and made a statue – now lost – for the Franciscan church).
The 31-metre-high (102 ft) bell tower, built in 1444, is one of the symbols of the free city state of Ragusa. It was built by the local architects Grubačević,
Utišenović and Radončić. It was rebuilt in 1929 as it had lost its stability through an earthquake and was in danger of falling. The brass face of the clock
shows the phases of the moon. Two human figures strike the bell every hour. The tower stands next to the House of the Main Guard, also built in Gothic style.
It was the residence of the admiral, commander-in-chief of the army. The Baroque portal was built between 1706 and 1708 by the Venetian architect Marino Gropelli
(who also built St Blaise's church).
The Republic of Ragusa, as Dubrovnik was then named, erected in 1418 the statue of Roland (Ital. Orlando) as a symbol of loyalty to Sigismund of Luxembourg
(1368–1437), King of Hungary and Croatia (as of 1387), Prince-Elector of Brandenburg (between 1378 and 1388 and again between 1411 and 1415), German King
(as of 1411), King of Bohemia (as of 1419) and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (as of 1433), who helped by a successful war alliance against Venice to retain
Ragusa's independence. It stands in the middle of Luža Square. Roland statues were typical symbols of city autonomy or independence, often erected under
Sigismund in his Electorate of Brandenburg. In 1419 the sculptor Bonino of Milano, with the help of local craftsmen, replaced the first Roland with the present
Gothic statue. Its forearm was for a long time the unit of measure in Dubrovnik: one ell of Dubrovnik is equal to 51.2 cm (20.2 in).
Walls of Dubrovnik
A feature of Dubrovnik is its walls (1.1 million visitors in 2016) that run almost 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) around the city. The walls run from 4 to 6 metres
(13–20 feet) thick on the landward side but are much thinner on the seaward side. The system of turrets and towers were intended to protect the vulnerable city.
The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popular filming location for the fictional city of King's Landing in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones.