22 Apr, 2009

Dubrovnik, The Pearl of the Adriatic


The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,’ Dubrovnik lies on the Adriatic Sea at the southern most part of Croatia on the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. A popular tourist site, and seaport, its population is approximately 44,000. Founded early in the seventh century, it became a settlement for Slavic people of Srd Hill. The city owes is Slavic name to this.

IN the past, as today, shipping and other maritime industries were important to the economy. In 1468, the main plaza and two harbors were constructed to facilitate shipping. Recent archeological findings seem to point to an even earlier origin of the city, with the discovery of the remains of a fifth century chapel as well as what appears to be early city walls. An earthquake in 1667 destroyed much of the city, forcing its inhabitants to rebuild it. Originally under the protection of the Byzantine Empire, throughout its history it has been a part of the sovereignty of Venice and the Hungaro-Crotian Reign. For brief periods of time, Dubrovnik was a free state and under its own leadership. In 1885, it became a part of Austria, and today, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, it is part of Croatia.

While the city itself is a tourist attraction, many of its buildings were destroyed in the 1667 earthquake; however, several remain today. The Sponza Place, built in the sixteenth century now houses the National Archives. A museum is located in the Rectors Palace, an excellent example of Gothic-Renaissance architecture. Its most famous church, St. Blaise honors the city’s patron saint and dates from the eighteenth century. A baroque cathedral dating from the same period houses many Saint Blaise relics. Another impressive historical treasure is the city walls themselves.

Visitors to Dubrovnik today can enjoy its many historical monuments as well as its rich maritime history. With an economy still centered on shipping and the seas, this city is treasure to visit for anyone interested in Croatian history.



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