The City Walls
For decades, Dubrovnik has attracted many visitors, who are delighted by its unique and authentic beauty. One of Dubrovnik’s greatest attractions are the city walls, which stretch over 1940 metres, in the shape of an irregular polygon. The structure consists of the main city wall, 16 towers, three fortresses, six bastions, two corner fortifications, three fore-walls, three moats, two outer walls with breakwaters, and two drawbridges at the Pile and Ploce gates, which were raised each night to seal the entrance to the town. The thickness of the walls varies from 4 to 6 metres on the seaward side and 1,5 to 3 metres on the landward side.
The city walls of Dubrovnik took centuries to build. Construction began in the 8th century, while the current form dates from the 13th century with systematic modernizations until 1660, when the last fortress, St. Stephen, was built. One of the most beautiful fortresses is Minceta, 80 metres high, dominating the city walls from the highest point at the north-western corner. Although separate from the city walls themselves, the fortresses of Revelin and Lovrijenac, perched on a cliff 37 metres above the sea. Above the entrance to this fortress is carved a Latin inscription, ‘Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro’ (‘Freedom is worth more than all the gold in the world.)
Many well-known architects of that time participated in the construction of the Dubrovnik city walls throughout the centuries, creating what is today one of the most beautiful monuments in Europe. Among the names remembered by history are Paskoje Miličević, Juraj Dalmatinac, Michelozzo Michelozzi of Florence, Onofrio and Simeon della Cava, Antonio Ferramolino of Bergamo and others.
The city walls were once a symbol of a powerful defence system, while today they stand as a unique cultural and historical heritage of the city of Dubrovnik.