The City of Dubrovnik is encompassed by two kilometers of fortification
walls with several towers and bastions, of which the best known is
the Lovrijenac Tower on the west of the City, with an inscription
in Latin above the entrance gate to the tower which reads,
bene pro toto libertas venditur auro"
should not be sold even at the price of gold).
The Minčeta Tower is on the north-west
side of the City, and the Revelin Tower
on its east. The walls were built from the 13th century to the 18th
century, constantly added to and strenghtened, without ever having
to be used for the purpose for which they were built, thanks to the
skillful diplomacy of Dubrovnik.
Beacause of its monumental
walls and well preserved cultural monuments, Dubrovnik has
been included in UNESCO's Register of World Architectural Heritage
more on City walls
We shall start our walk through The City by entering the Stradun from
the Pile side. The Stradun is the biggest, longest and widest street
in Dubrovnik, of which its inhabitants are proud.
Stradun is a pejorative augmentative used to name this really beautiful
street by the jealous Venetians. Its real name is Placa, and it
dates from the 13th century, but it acquired its present appearence
in the late 17th and early 18th century.
This street, 292 metres
long, is the commercial, entertainment and spiritual centre of Dubrovnik
frequently celebrated in song by its ancient and modern poets.
On the left, when one enters the Placa from the Pile Gate, there
is the beautiful Renaissance church of the Holy
Saviour (Sveti Spas),
about which it is said that the women of Dubrovnik, both plebeian
and patrician, carried the stones for its erection and strenghtened
the mortar with milk and egg whites.
In any case, this church withstood
the earthquaqe of 1667. which destroyed over three fourths of the
City, surviving it without any damage.
On the right we can see a splendid polygonal fountain, called Onofrio's
Large Fountain, after its architect. On the eastern end of the Stradun
there is a second fountain, Onofrio's Small
Fountain, carved by the
sculptor Pietro di Martino in 1422 according to designs made by the
engineer Onofrio de la Cavea of Neaples.
Next to the church of the Holy Savior there is a small and narrow
street through which one enters the Francisian
monastery which, like
the Dominican monastery, the citizens erected immediately next to
the entrances to the City for defence purposes. In case an enemy
managed to enter the City, then the monks would be first to defend
it because they were unmarried and therefore had no wives and children
The cloister and a part of the atrium of this monastery
which is called "Friars Minor", was built by
Mihoje Brajkov of Bar in the second quarter of the 14th century.
The slim double capitals in the shape of human and animal heads
are especially noteworthy.
The monastery church has an apulent
late Gothic portal with a sculpture at the Pieta, made
by local stonemasons, the brothers Leonardo and Petar Petrović,
more on Francisian monastery
On the opposite side of the City, immediately next to the north
eastern walls, there is a Dominican monastery with a church, which
was finished in the early 14th century, while the monastery was completed
in the late 15th century.
On the south side of the City, immediately
next to the north-eastern wall, there is a splendid, although,
unfortunately, damaged portal of the romanesque type with late gothic
ornaments, made by Bonino of Milan in 1419.
Adjoining the church
is the 15th century chapel of St. Sebastian. The Dominican cloister
is one of the most beautiful pre-Renaissance cloisters in Dalmatia.
The slender arcades in the gothic style were designed by the Fiorentine
artist Maso di Bartolomeo and carved by local craftsmen.
more on Dominican monastery
At the very end of Stradun, on its north-east side, the most splendid
profane builduing, the Sponza palace, was built in the period from
1516 to 1521 as the commercial centre of medieval Dubrovnik with
a mint, a Custom-House, a weights and measures office etc.
Palace was built according to the design of the best known Dubrovnik
architect, Paskoje Miličević, and the brothers Andrijić.
This gothic-Renassaince palace now houses the Historical Archives,
one of the oldest institutions of this kind in Europe.
document kept in the archives dates from 1022. and from 1301
to the end of the 19th century, books, records and documents which
reveal the socio-economic, political and cultural conditions
of the ancient Republic were stored here.
more on Sponza palace
Opposite to the Sponza palace (Divona) there is a church dedicated
to the patron saint of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise
(Sv. Vlaho). It was
erected in 1715 in the Venetian baroque style and is the work of
the well known Italian architect Gropelli.
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