Dubrovnik (/dǔbroːʋniːk/), or Ragusa from the Italian Ragusa (official name until 1918), is a town and municipality in Croatia, capital of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It was once the capital of a maritime republic known as the Republic of Ragusa. Its inhabitants, just like what relates to it, are still called Ragusains.
As of the 2015 census, the municipality has 42,615 inhabitants of which 88.39% are Croats, 3.26% Serbs and 3.17% Bosniaks and the city alone had 30,436 inhabitants.
Its motto is: "Freedom is not sold even for all the gold in the world".
Located south of the Dalmatian coast, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, the fortified town of Dubrovnik is an important tourist destination in Croatia.
La Placa (or Stradun) is a wide paved avenue drawn in the middle of the city, on the old swamp that separated Latin Ragusa from the rock of Dubrava on the mainland. When the city grew during the Middle Ages, it dried up this marsh and turned it into an artery.
The climate of the city is marked by hot and humid summers as well as by cold winters, but tempered by the maritime proximity. Its characteristics are similar to those of the Po plain in Italy, north of the opposite Adriatic coast.
The Croatian names Dubrovnik and Italian Ragusa have coexisted for several centuries. Ragusa, recorded in various forms since at least the 10th century, remained the official name of the Republic of Ragusa until 1808, and of the city in the Kingdom of Dalmatia until 1918, while Dubrovnik, recorded for the first times at the end of the 12th century, was already widely used at the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century.
The name Dubrovnik for the city is first attested in the charter of Kulin in 1189. It is thought to derive from either dubron, a Celtic name for water (which can be compared with Gaulish dubron, Irish dobar, Welsh dŵr, dwfr, Cornish dofer), similar to toponyms Dover, Dover, and Tauber; or from a Proto-Slavic word dǫbъ meaning oak. The term dubrovnik means “oak”, to be compared with the other Slavic languages where the words dub, dàb, dubrava and dąbrowa designate oak.
The historical name Ragusa, from which comes the French form Raguse, is attested in the Greek form Ῥαούσιν (Rhaousin, Latinized Ragusium) in the 10th century. It is then encountered in various forms in medieval times: Rausia, Lavusa, Labusa, Raugia, Rachusa. Various attempts have been made to determine its etymology. Suggestions include derivation from the Greek ῥάξ, ῥαγός ("grape"); from the Greek ῥώξ, ῥωγός (“narrow passage”); from the Greek ῥωγάς (“ragged”), in reference to the rocky relief; or again from the Greek ῥαγή, ῥαγάς (“crack”). But it could also be a derivative of the name of the Epirote tribe of the Rhogoi, coming from an unidentified Illyrian substratum. A link with the name of Sicilian Ragusa has also been proposed. Putanec, in 1993, reviews the etymological suggestions and favors as an explanation that of a pre-Greek, Pelasgian name, a root cognate to the Greek ῥαγή ("crack"), with the suffix -ousa also found in the name Greek from Brač, Elaphousa.
The classic explanation of the name is due to Constantine VII in De Administrando Imperio (10th century). According to this account, Ragusa (Ῥαούσιν) was founded by refugees from Epidaurum (Old Ragusa), a Greek city 15 km south of Ragusa, when that city was destroyed during the Slavic incursions of the 7th century. The name is explained as a corruption of Lausa, the name of the rocky island on which the city is built, related by Constantine to the Greek λᾶας ("stone").