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Attractions walkthrough

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,

"Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro"
(Liberty 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.

The name 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 to protect.

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, in 1498.

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.

The Sponza 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.

The oldest 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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