The largest city of south Dalmatia is the world famous city of Dubrovnik. Standing proud since the ancient times, the beauty of its walls and whole old city outshines many, if not all, historical and cultural attractions of the country. Declared as one of the top 10 medieval walls in the world, according to recent discoveries it is believed that the city of Dubrovnik began its life as a Greek settlement in the period BC.
Almost 2km long, 6m thick and 25m high, Dubrovnik city walls are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the citizens of this lovely town for centuries. They have been considered to be amongst the greatest fortification systems of the Middle Ages, as they were never breached by a hostile army during the time period.
The intact city walls, constructed mainly during 12th to 17th century period, standing mostly in a double line, have long been a source of pride of Dubrovnik. The complex structure is one of the largest and most impressive in Europe and has protected the freedom and safety of a civilized and sophisticated republic that flourished in peace and prosperity for five centuries. One of the reinforcements built over the years is the the casemate Fort Bokar, the oldest preserved fort of its kind in Europe.
The old city holds many old and fascinating buildings, such as the Arboretum Trsteno, the oldest arboretum in the world, dating back to the end of 15th century. Even older, dating from 1317, the third oldest European pharmacy is located in the city, and is still contributing to the health of the citizens and visitors up to this day! Stradun, located in the very centre of the old town, is a favorite meeting place of unique atmosphere surrounded with little shops. The square hosts an impressive, world-known New Year's Eve celebration specatle as well!
Built in the 18th century to honour the Dubrovnik's patron saint, St. Blaise's church is the Dubrovnik's most beloved and attended church.
Few of Dubrovnik's Renaissance buildings survived the earthquake of 1667. Fortunately, enough survived to show a part of the city's architectural heritage. The finest Renaissance highlight is the Sponza Palace dating from the 16th century, which is currently used as the National Archives. The Renaissance period Franciscan monastery is another spectacular place to visit. Its library is in the possession of 30,000 book volumes, 216 incunabula, 1,500 valuable handwritten documents, all making it extremely valuable and highly regarded in the world.
In the bay of Dubrovnik is the mesmerizingly beautiful, wooded, island of Lokrum, where according to legend, Richard the Lionheart was cast ashore after being shipwrecked in 1192. On the island there are many sites of special interest which include a fortress, botanical garden, monastery and naturist beach.
Home to many beaches, Dubrovnik is mostly known for Banje, Dubrovnik's main public beach and a home to the Eastwest Beach Club, and the Copacabana Beach, a stony beach on the near-by Lapad peninsula, named after the popular beach in Rio de Janeiro. Elafiti, the neighbouring archipelago of an admirable beauty is a place of countless sandy beaches and lovely taverns presenting only the best of the south Dalmatian cuisine! Full of wonders and charm, Dubrovnik is world-class destinaion that had stunned everyone stepping into the city. Even George Bernard Shaw, who visited the city in 1929, said: "If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik."