Dubrovnik, with its stone streets, opulent palaces and massive fortifications is a unique travel destination. The compact Old Town conceals within it a plethora of historical attractions that bear witness to the glorious and wealthy past of Dubrovnik.
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Here are a few top tips on sightseeing in Dubrovnik - the smart way.
Dubrovnik's unique appearance, famous the world over, has much to do with the Old city walls. These are 1940 metres in length and encompass the entire Old Town. The City walls were built in the period from the 13th to the 17th century in order to defend Dubrovnik from its enemies. They comprise a series of fortifications, bastions and towers.
One thing which shouldn't be missed while in Dubrovnik is a walk along the walls. These impressive walls can be walked in full length, but if this is too much for you, you can wall only a section (sea-side or other side facing the mountain Srdj).
The main entrance is by Onofrio's Large Fountain (at the beginning of Stradun from the west). The walk usually start from here and continue towards the sea then all around to Minceta Fortress which is the highest point of the Old Town. From this round-shaped fortress take some amazing views over the whole Old Town and the island of Lokrum.
Note that a ticket for the walls (entrance fee €35), is valid only for one entrance plus a visit to Lovrijenac Fortress, which is not a part of the walls. Also, Dubrovnik Pass includes a visit to the city walls. Find more info about walking a walls on your own in our useful guide!
At the east end of the Stradun there is a bell tower with clock, built in 1444.
It is 31 metres in height and features two bronze figures, known as the zelenci (the "Green Men"), who chime the hours.
The clock is accurate and the bells are rung every hour. There is no access to visitors, but one can go on the walls and see all of Old Town from a high point.
There are two bronze mechanical figures, which strike the bell on the hour, they are known as Maro and Baro. The current figures are replicas and have been in place since the 1929 rebuild, the originals, from 1478, are on display in the Cultural History Museum.
The bronze bell was cast in 1506.
Orlando's Column stands in front of the Church of St Blaise, a stone column featuring the likeness of mediaeval knight Orlando (Roland), with sword extended, made in the Gothic style.
It was placed there in 1418, and from it flew the flag of the Republic of Dubrovnik for a full four centuries. Nowadays, during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the column bears a flag with the legend "Libertas" (Freedom).
Onofrio's Great and Small Fountains were built by Neapolitan architect Onofrio della Cava as part of Dubrovnik’s water supply system.
Onofrio's Great Fountain is located at the very entrance to Dubrovnik (by the Pile Gates), while the Small Fountain stands at the eastern end of the city. Onofrio's Great Fountain appears as it does today as a result of the great earthquake of 1667.
The Minceta Fortress dominates the north-western part of the city with its height and impressive appearance. It was named after the Dubrovnik aristocratic Mencetic family on whose estate it was built.
It was originally built in the 14th century as a rectangular tower and only later took on its current appearance.
Lovrijenac Fortress is located next to the outer western walls of the city of Dubrovnik and rises up on a 37 m-high cliff. Its primary role was a defensive one. It is a historic symbol of resistance to the Venetian Republic.
This fortification is triangular in shape and has three terraces. The walls facing the sea are as wide as 12 m, while those facing the city are just 60 cm thick. Lovrijenac serves as a stage for performances during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
The price of the entry was included in the city walls ticket so you get both for €35.
The Revelin Fortress was built in the 15th century as a separate fortress which would additionally secure the land approach to the eastern city gates.
Because of the Venetian threat a new, more substantial fortress was later built. After construction was completed, which took 11 years, the Revelin became the city's most powerful fortification.
This fortress has an irregular four-sided shape, with one side descending to the sea and the other three land-facing sides protected by a trench. Nowadays, the terrace of the fortress is the venue for performances during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, while inside a variety of other concerts are held.
The fortress can be accessed only by climbing flights of stairs so be aware of this.
St John's Fortress is a structure on the south-eastern side of the old city harbour. This fortification watches over and protects the very entrance to the harbour.
The fortress in its current guise dates from the 16th century, with rounded, sloping walls facing the sea and sheer sides towards the harbour, displaying an array of cannon ports.
In modern times, this fortress houses the Maritime Museum and Aquarium. From the top of St John's Fortress, you can enjoy amazing views of the Old Harbour and the island of Lokrum (this is possible as a part of City walls walk!)
When in Dubrovnik be sure to take the cable car ride to the top of Mount Srdj. Once you get on the cable car upper station you can enjoy amazing views of the area from two panoramic terraces.
While enjoying the views of the Old Town have a refreshment at the restaurants and buy some great souvenirs from the shop. The embarkation station can be reached easily from the Old Town.