Dubrovnik is one of Croatiaís best known and most historic cities, making it an outstanding place to explore if you enjoy cramming plenty of culture into your holidays. What makes Dubrovnik such a fascinating place to visit is its past, which is great fun to discover during a stay here.
Having stood on the edge of the Adriatic Sea for centuries and been ruled over by various civilisations - including the Greeks, Romans, Slavs, Venetians and Hungarians - as well as operating as an independent city-state for many years, itís certainly got a vibrant past.
The city centre is medieval in origin, although as you can imagine, many additions and alterations have been made to Dubrovnik since its humble beginnings. Its most prosperous period was during the 15th and 16th centuries, when its importance as a trading port was at its height.
However, an earthquake in the 17th century was the beginning of a period of decline for the city and it wasnít until the 19th century that Dubrovnik once again came into its own - and this time started attracting tourists.
So, now that youíve had a brief history of Dubrovnik, letís take a look at some of the sites that can introduce you to its illustrious past firsthand.
You canít really miss the imposing city walls that encircle the old part of Dubrovnik and one of the best ways to fully appreciate their scale is to walk along the top of the ramparts. The wall stretches unbroken for some 2 km and in some places is up to 25 m high.
Although the defences were started as far back as the 10th century, much of what youíll see today was constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries, when the city was fearful of Ottoman expansion into this part of the world. There are various towers dotted along the structure that only add to its impressive appearance.
There are many important religious sites within Dubrovnik - and we canít mention all of them - but one worth seeking out is the Dominican Monastery. This was constructed in the early 14th century and is considered to be one of the cityís most impressive religious buildings, in part thanks to the stunning artwork it contains (more on that in a moment).
As you wander around the complex you can take in the incredible architecture, enjoy the tranquillity of the cloister and admire the pieces on display in the museum - these include three religious canvases by Nikola Bozidarevic and a polyptych by Lovro Dobricevic Marinov.
The Rectorís Palace is worth visiting for two reasons - firstly, the building itself is one of the most important from Dubrovnikís past, having been the administrative centre for the city when it operated as an independent state, and secondly because it now houses a museum showcasing pieces from the period of the Dubrovnik Republic.
Furniture, paintings and old coins are all on show within the museum, providing a fascinating and unrivalled insight into Dubrovnik and its prosperity when it thrived as a trading port.
If this has piqued your interest in the Croatian city, consider looking at the deals available with companies like†Cosmos
, as you may discover you can arrange a holiday to Dubrovnik for a truly bargain price. Itís great for a weekend or longer break, so even if you canít take a lot of time off work, Dubrovnik should still be on your list of places to visit.