Dubrovnik (Italian: Ragusa) is a city located in the southern tip of Croatia, in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It is one of the most significant tourist destinations on the Adriatic coast and a nationally important seaport. In 2011, the city's population was 42,641. Dubrovnik's Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city was born in the 6th century, when the Roman Epidaurum (now Cavtat) was attacked by Slavs and Avars. The people of Epidaurum were looking for a safer place to live, which was found on a rock island located on the site of the present-day old town of Dubrovnik, which was named Laus (Latin for rock). In the same place on the continent, the Croat settlement Dubrava was born. Croat and Roman settlements merged around the 12th century. The narrow strait that separated the cities was filled in, and it became the central street of the city known today as Placa and Stradu. The first known written document that mentions the name Dubrovnik is from 1189.
From a Roman city to the Republic of Ragusa
For centuries, the name Ragusa was used for the city. It was fortified and harbors were built on both sides of the isthmus. After the fall of Rome, Ragusa became part of the Byzantine Empire and grew strongly from the 9th century to the 13th century. The city became a powerful center of sea trade. In the Middle Ages, Ragusa was the only city-state in the eastern Adriatic that could compete with the Republic of Venice. Venice conquered Ragusa in 1205 and the city was in Venice's possession until 1358.
The old town of Dubrovnik was built in the 13th century. After the Venetian rule, Ragusa formally became part of Hungary. The city also paid protection money to the Ottoman Empire from time to time. In practice, however, thanks to its skillful diplomacy, Ragusa managed to remain relatively independent and became prosperous. Ragusa had its own merchant fleet and trade flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1667, the city was hit by an earthquake, which destroyed almost the entire city, except for a few palaces and church buildings in the old town. However, the area was quickly rebuilt.
From Austria to the present day
Napoleon conquered Dubrovnik, weakened by an earthquake, in 1806. When Napoleon fell in 1815, the city became part of Austria and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the Congress of Vienna. During Yugoslavia, the city became an important tourist destination. During the war in Croatia, which was part of the breakup war of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was besieged from October 1991 to May 1992. The valuable old town in particular suffered great damage. According to estimates, 82–88 civilians died in the siege. Today, the area has been restored to its original state.
Geography and Climate
Dubrovnik is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The city and its surroundings are an exclave separated from the rest of Croatia, surrounded by Bosnia-Herzegovina on the mainland. The strip between the exclave and the rest of Croatia is only 20 kilometers wide. The warmest time of the year is July-August, when the average daily maximum temperature is above 28 degrees. The coolest is January-February, when the average lowest temperature is six degrees. It rains more in winter than in summer. The driest month is July, when it rains about 24 millimeters. The rainiest month is November, when it rains about 110 millimeters. The annual precipitation is about 1,040 millimeters. There are about 110 rainy days a year.
Dubrovnik traditions and tourism
Dubrovnik residents like to proudly quote Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who visited the city in 1929 and wrote: "If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik." The city's patron saint is Saint Blasius (Sveti Vlaho), whose statues can be seen all over the city. His meaning is similar to St. Mark's -evan