Dubrovnik, a city rich in cultural and historical heritage is on the UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage List. This historical city should be definitely on your must-see list during your Croatian sojourn.
Refugees who came to the area from Epidaurum established the city in the first half of the 7th Century. They established their settlement in the island and named it Laus. Opposite to their settlement was another settlement of Slavs, which they called Dubrovnik. The name Dubrovnik is derived from the Croatian word Dubrava, which means oak woods as, in the past, oak trees surrounded Dubrovnik. The Latin name Ragusa - Rausa, in use until the 15th century, originated from the rock (lat. Lausa meaning rock) where the first settlement was established.
These two areas were separated by a channel, which was filled in 12th century and since than they have been united. Today the place is called Placa or Stradun.
As days progressed into years, walls started to come up outside these settlements to ward off enemies like Arabs, Venetian, Macedonians, and Serbs, who wanted to conquer Dubrovnik.
The Republican Constitution of the city was aristocratic and all effective power was concentrated in the hands of nobility. The population of the city was divided into three classes: nobility, citizens, and artisans or plebeians. The citizens were permitted to hold only minor offices, while plebeians had no voice in government. Marriage between different classes was forbidden.
The administrative bodies were divided into the Grand Council and Mall Council from 1238 and the Senate from 1253. The head of the state was the Duke, elected for a term of office for one month.
The Grand Council consisted of members of the aristocracy and every noble took his seat at the age of 18. The Small Council consisted first of 11 members and after 1667 it had only seven.
The Senate was added in 1235 as a consultative body. It consisted of 45 invited members, who were over 40 years of age. While the Republic was under the rule of Venice the Rector was Venetian, but after 1358 the Rector was always a Ragusan. The Rector's could only hold office for only one month and he was eligible for re-election after two years. The rector lived and worked in Rector's Palace but his family remained living in their own house. The government of the Republic was liberal in character and early showed its concern for justice and humanitarian principles. They abolished slave trade since 1418.
In 1809 Dubrovnik become part of the Ilyrian Provinces. In 1815, by the resolution of Vienna Congress, it was annexed to Austria (later Austria-Hungary), and remained with them until 1918 when it was won over by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. In 1929, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the whole area was divided into eight districts for administrative purposes. Until 1939, Dubrovnik was part of Zetska district and then was included in Banovina of Croatia. At the beginning of the World War II Dubrovnik was part of the Croatia. From April 1941 until September 1943 it was occupied by the Italians and after thereafter by Germans.
In October 1944, Partisans liberated Dubrovnik from the Germans. In 1945 Dubrovnik became part of the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1963 the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia changed its name into Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and was one of the six republics. Dubrovnik was part of the Socialistic Republic of Croatia. In 1990 the republics of the Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia got their independence. The Socialistic Republic of Croatia was renamed into Republic of Croatia.
During your stay at this historical treasure trove, do take time to walk undertake these following tours. One word of caution for travelers: Please always carry your passports.
Walking through this ancient town is like almost getting transported to the ancient times. This tour begins with a drive to the coastal highway for a view of the walls, ancient rooftops and the picturesque surroundings. For all those who have a keen interest in architecture, the city is a virtual treasure trove. Visit the Rector's Palace and the Franciscan Monastery with its 14th-century pharmacy.
The second tour is also another heritage tour through the Župa dubrovacka region to the village of Cilipi in the heart of the fertile konavle Valley. Heavily damaged in the war, Cilipi has been restored, preserving its charm and rich tradition. Check out the St.Nicholas church.
TRSTENO: RENAISSANCE GARDEN
This garden is around 150 km from Dubrovnik. Check out the exotic vegetation and plants, such as giant plane trees, palms and camphor trees. After lazing around in the midst of greenery and rejuvenating those tired muscles head for Ston, which was among the first towns in Europe to be built according to a definite urban plan. Check out the 5 km long stonewalls protecting Ston. Other attractions include the old saltwork where the salt is still produced, and the famous oyster and mussel farm.
NERETVA: WHERE HISTORY FUSES WITH NATURAL BEAUTY
The Neretva River Delta is marshland abundant in flora and fauna sheltering hundreds of species of birds. Enjoy cruises in small boats or trupice through the canals to enjoy the beauty and variety of the delta. Visit the Ornithological Collection in Metkovic that has preserved 229 exhibits of bird species. Visit the excavation of ancient Narona from 1st/2nd centuries where ramparts, temples, and a forum have been covered by the mud from the river for centuries.
THREE ISLANDS CRUISE
This full-day cruise will take you to the three largest islands: Kolocep, Šipan and Lopud.
MLJET NATIONAL PARK ISLAND
The island of Mljet is one of the loveliest and most densely wooded islands in the Adriatic. A part of the island has been declared a national park, whose main attractions are two salt-water lakes - Veliko jezero and Malo jezero (great and small lake). Join a boat trip to the islet in the Great Lake for a visit to the 12th-century Benedictine Monastery. Enjoy a stroll around the islet or swim in the lovely saltwater lake.
An hour's drive from Dubrovnik, this area is known for its incomparable natural beauties and an abundance of historical sites. Visit the Bay of Kotor along the curving roadway through the towns of Risan and Perast to Kotor.