Yes, we know that you’ve already heard that Dubrovnik’s second name is Pearl of the Mediterranean. It’s been attracting numerous tourist for a very long period of time with its clear blue sea, architectural beauty, rich history and culture, amazing food and other countless things it has to offer.
This beautiful city is well known and well studied in many tourist brochures, travel books and articles. Thanks to Game of Thrones it’s also known as King’s Landing.
Every stone embedded in it tells a story, every street has its history and every legend has at least five versions (just ask the locals:).
But there are some facts that are not even familiar to its residents… Take a look!
- In 15. century, Dubrovnik had a lack of stone for famous Kula Minčeta construction, so the city made a regulation that, everyone coming to town, has to bring a stone if they wanted to enter the city. Huh, can you imagine if this was still a law today?
- Dubrovnik was a town with the first quarantine in the World.
- Dubrovnik had one of the first sewer systems in the World.
- Dubrovnik had one of the first pharmacies in Europe.
- Having the one of the first pharmacies in Europe maybe provoked the use of poisons in the Republic of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik’s authorities started poisoning as the mean of resolving state affairs when its diplomacy had no other solutions. The archives reveal many poisoning cases among it’s citizens over the centuries. Dubrovnik’s poisoners had the knowledge of artful methods and toxins due to advanced scientific and technological achievements. The scariest part was probably that anyone could purchase it freely. And you thought Game of thrones was brutal? Think again.
- Lokrum is cursed. That one, right opposite Dubrovnik. Yep, it’s cursed. If you talk to locals, they will tell you all about it. A legend has it that, long time ago, Benedictine monks were banished from the island by a French captain. Before they left, they damned anyone who planned to live permanently on the island. And it seems that it worked. All the previous owners died in suspicious circumstances. You should definitely visit it; its monastery, secret beaches and botanical garden are breathtaking, but watch out! There is one more rule – you must leave by sunset. Don’t say we didn’t warn you !
- In need some good luck? It’s yours if you touch the heads of the figures on the ancient Onofrio’s Fountain. Oh, and if you are looking for the coolest water in Dubrovnik -it’s right here. Fill up your water bottles.
- Dubrovnik did not participate in slavery and, in 1416, abolished participation in the slave trade by law – whether you were a business person, owned ships or wanted slave help. Dubrovnik had a large fleet of ships and was very much involved in global trade, but they refused to traffic in slaves. Why? The business of slave trafficking in humans was so abhorrent to the people of Dubrovnik; the law was created to send a clear message to the world that the people of this city-state valued human life. That’s something to be proud of!
9. Inhabitants of Dubrovnik traded mines, agricultural and livestock products, manufacture goods, salt, etc. In the 16th century, Dubrovnik had a strong navy (180 ships), the third largest in the world by intensity. Dubrovnik ships transported goods to foreign traders, sailed for the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and came to England – there is evidence that the Dubrovnik boat reached the coast of North America, where the sailors mix with the locals (Indians). Dubrovnik colony in Goa Gvendolin in India is also known, where there is still the statue of St. Blaise, patron of Dubrovnik, and some descendants of merchants from Dubrovnik.
10. St. Blaise protects the city. He’s everywhere, guarding the Old Town Gates, perched on churches, multiple paintings… And if you look closely at his statue, you’ll see he holds the city in the palm of his hand. St Blasie is Dubrovnik’s main saint and if you find yourself in Dubrovnik during its celebration on February 3, you should know about The blessing of throats; a priest uses candles crossed in a special candelabrum to bless the throats. This should protect your throat. St. Blaise was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.
Story by: Lena Šutić
Photo by: Antonio Bokšić