The first time you visit Dubrovnik, you'll be astounded by one of the most recognized medieval city walls in the world – the Dubrovnik City Walls. This magnificent majesty retains some of the finest architectural heritage that reflects the city's glow and ambience across its centuries-old history.
One of the most emblematic icons of the Old City are two bronze statues of mysterious soldiers on the Dubrovnik Bell Tower (Gradski zvonik), locally known as Maro & Baro. Located at the end of the Stradun, the 31-metre bell tower was originally built in 1444. Luka Mihočin, the local master and son of the admiral, made a metal plate of the clock with a moon-phase indicator and wooden figures. In 1478 the wooden figures were replaced with mechanised bronze figures, today widely known as Zelenci (the Greenies) due to the bronze patina acquired over time. A few years later, in 1506, master Ivan Rabljanin added a big bell.
The Dubrovnik Bell Tower has to date defied a variety of losses and threats. The crushing earthquake of 1667 destroyed much of the city and the bell tower was in danger of collapse. A new city bell tower was rebuilt in 1929, only to be destroyed again in the 1979 Montenegro earthquake, and reconstructed in 1988 in line with the old designs of 1929. During the Homeland War of the 1990s, the bell tower was destroyed many times. After a grenade had perforated it on both ends, Stradun could be seen through it. Since then, the Bell Tower has become an emblem of confidence, bravery and resistance.
The story behind the Jacquemarts (Jaques with a Hammer) goes back to centuries and similar figures can be found in churches and bell towers throughout Europe. Dubrovnik's bell strikers are one of the finest pieces of Renaissance art and the only bronze sculptures of that time in Croatia.
Since the 15th century to this day, legendary green warriors, Maro & Baro, have stricken the bell over 25 million times! The reason behind their endurance and energetic melody is their opposite position - the left figure has its right leg slightly forward and raises its right arm, holding the hammer and vice versa. The original figures are today kept in the Cultural History Museum in the Rector's Palace.
The best time to admire at their harmonious, renowned melody is at noon. Take a stroll through Stradun, make your way to the Dubrovnik Bell Tower and enjoy the bronze duo concert.