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History of the City walls

The City Walls are the main attraction of Old Town Dubrovnik with the complex system of forts, casemates, bastions, towers, and detached forts.

dubrovnik sunset view

The walls are the main reason why Dubrovnik is well known as the Pearl of the Adriatic.  The City of Dubrovnik is completely surrounded with defensive walls and forts, including the Old Port.  The walls run uninterrupted for 1940 meters (6365 feet) in length, encircling most of the City, and reach a maximum height of about 25 meters (83 feet). Like Rome is well known by Rome Colosseum, Walls of Dubrovnik are pretty much the same for Dubrovnik.   They were built through the history in times when there was a danger of foreign attacks over the City and the Dubrovnik Republic. The history goes back to the Middle Ages. In the 9th century, Saracens besieged the city for 15 months. The earliest settlement upon the islet of Laus was protected by walls. The City first spread over the uninhabited eastern part of the Laus islet. During the 9th and the 10th century, the eastern section was included within the defense walls.

The City was separated from the mainland by the sea channel which was filled with earth in the 11th century. In the 13th century, the whole city was enclosed with the walls. Dominican monastery became a part of the City wall complex in the 14th century. In the same time, there were built 15 square forts to increase the strength.

The design derives from the 14th century. The definitive shape was fixed in time between the fall of Constantinople in 1453. and the earthquake in 1667. That period is called the Golden Age of Dubrovnik.

The walls are protected at four points by strong forts, also by 2 round towers, 12 quadrilateral forts, 5 bastions, and 2 corner towers, while the scarp wall is flanked by one large and 9 small semicircular bastions. It has an irregular quadrilateral form. The Tower Minčeta is on the north, in the east the port is protected by the Fortress Revelin and there is a Fortress of Saint John in the southwest. The western entrance to the city is protected by Fortress Bokar. The western end of the city is protected by Fortress Lovrijenac

Dubrovnik’s City Walls have been well preserved and that is one of the reasons why Dubrovnik has been included in the World Heritage List from UNESCO since 1979.

city walls bokar

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History of the City gates

Walls of Dubrovnik were built in the 13th century. During the 15th century 15 towers were built as a part of the city walls, and some of them are preserved until today. There used to be four gates leading into The City of Dubrovnik: the Pile Gate, The Ploce Gate, the Peskarija Gate and the Ponta Gate. Buža Gate was opened in the northern part of the Walls in 1908 during the Austrian rule.

Ploče Gate

Ploče Gate is the main entrance to the Old Town from the eastern side which also has a bridge like Pile Gate. This gate (also known as Vrata od Ploca) was built in the 14th century.

The bridge was built according to the prototype of Pile Gate’s bridge by Ivan of Siena, but later it was demolished and after reparation, the wooden drawbridge had been inserted. Crossing this bridge you can come to the Revelin fortress and in the continuation, there is the main street of Dubrovnik City- Stradun. Ploce Gates has also Inner and Outer Gates.

The Inner Ploce Gate was built in Romanesque style and are really small. Above the gate stands a stone statue of the patron of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise, also in a Romanesque style. During the period of Austrian occupation at the end of the 19th century, the new, larger gates were opened next to these.

The Outer Ploce gate was built in 1450 by Simeone della Cava. In the 19th century, the gate was widened.

FUN FACT: Today, this is a gateway to the beaches and hotels at Ploce.

ploce gate
ponta gate

Ponta Gate

Ponta Gate (means “pier” in Croatian ) was designed by Juraj Dalmatinac and built by Paskoje Milicevic during the 15th century. This Gate leads to the Old Port of Dubrovnik Old Town. When you exit the Old Town by this gate, you will see the circular St. John Fort on the right side.

Buza Gate

If you go from Prijeko to Ruđer Bošković Street, you will come to Buza Gate. This street was named after the native house of Ruder Boskovic (Croatian astronomer, poet, and scientist from the 18th century). Buza Gate was opened in the city walls in 1908.

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