Dear traveller, welcome to Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic! Dubrovnik is one of the first associations that comes to one΄s mind when thinking about Croatia and is one of the most visited spots on the Croatian coastline.
Between 1358 and 1808 Dubrovnik was a small city republic called Ragusa, existing among its strong rivalling neighbours – the Venetian republic that controlled the Croatian coast and islands at that time, and the extremely powerful Ottoman Empire from the continent. The small city state Ragusa developed into a powerful maritime state, basing its wealth and prosperity on shipbuilding and trade. Its merchant fleet Argosy was so famous that even Shakespeare wrote about it in “The Taming of the Shrew“ and “The Merchant from Venice“.
Ragusans΄ diplomats obtained permission from the Vatikan to become the only Christian republic of the medieval Europe allowed to do business with the “non-believers“, the Turks. It is this same diplomacy that helped them preserve their independence and liberty for 450 years, making Dubrovnik today the only Croatian coastal city where you cannot find a single Venetian lion as a symbol of Venetian presence. It took no one lesser than Napoleon to end this glorious era of Dubrovnik history when he tricked Ragusa΄s nobles into letting his troops enter the City.
Ragusa had public welfare as its main objective, which is visible even today from the inscription in Rector΄s palace – “Obliti privatorum publica curate“ (Forget private affairs, and take care of the public ones). Ragusa abolished slave trade as early as 1418, built the first quarantine in Europe in 1377 and took care of the poor. No wonder that in such an environment art, music, literature and science began playing an important role in everyday life. Some of the most influential personalities in Croatian cultural history, such as Marin Držić, Ivan Gundulić and Ruđer Bošković come from Dubrovnik.
Walking the streets of the Old Town today, protected by the UNESCO as World΄s Cultural Heritage since 1979, you will feel that every corner, every building and every stone is telling a little piece of this amazing story, creating such a unique ambiance that will put this city among your favourite ones. Dear traveller, enjoy your stay in Dubrovnik, or as G.B. Shaw puts it, in „paradise on earth“.