Like a pearl of set in the turquoise of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is a favourite place for writers, artists and travellers. It is an eternal inspiration because of its fine architecture, its rich history and magnificent views. The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph has published a list of ‘10 fascinating things you probably didn’t know about Dubrovnik’. Take a look at this list of interesting facts, and test your knowledge of Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik Croatia

It once saved an English king’s life

Richard the Lionheart, returning from the Third Crusade in 1192, was caught in a storm off the Croatian coast and legend says he promised to God that if he survived he would build a cathedral wherever he reached land again. In the event it was the island of Lokrum where he finally landed, but apparently he was pursuaded to build the cathedral in the Old City. The resulting basilica was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1667 and rebuilt in 1713. 

legends Kiss Trail Love Lokrum Island Dubrovnik

It’s best mates with the USA

Dubrovnik had a key role in the blossoming independence of the United States. The newly-born US, eager for trade agreements with Europe, did a deal with Ragusa and a shipment of hides arrived from Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia. It is also said that Dubrovnik was the first state in the world to recognise the United States of America back in 1783.

Its thicker-than-thick city walls have never been breached

The City Walls are truly a wonder of Dubrovnik. The walls seen today were constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries, encircling the old city. They are in places up to six metres thick and have never been breached by a hostile army. During the construction of the Minčeta Tower, one of the focal points of the city’s defences, in 1464, a shortage of local building materials prompted the authorities to order anyone arriving at the city from the direction of Gruž Harbour or Ploče Gate to bring a stone with them.

City walls Dubrovnik GoDubrovnik

It was involved in Europe’s most recent war

Dubrovnik was badly affected by the Croatian War of Independence, or the Homeland War, in 1991 and 1992 – 88 civilians and 194 military personnel died and there was a severe damage to many of  the buildings. Today most of the damage has been repaired by restoration work. There is a war museum in the old Napoleonic Fort on top of Mt.Srđ that can be reached by cable car from above the town.

dubrovnik from srdj

It’s a regular on the silver screen

To many people Dubrovnik is familiar as a location for Game of Thrones, Star Wars Episode Vlll –  and next year Robin Hood will be here, with director Leonardo DiCaprio. 

It’s cut off from the rest of Croatia

A strip of land 12 miles wide, including the city of Neum, is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and cuts Dubrovnik off from the rest of Croatia. In the 17th century the Republic of Dubrovnik was forced it to sell two patches of land to the Ottomans, and the Bosnian corridor was one of them, all in order to raise a bit of cash and halt the Venetian forces advancing from the north. 

Dubrovnik Old Town

It’s home to the world’s oldest pharmacy

Europe’s longest operating pharmacy, and one of the oldest in the world, is located inside Dubrovnik’s Franciscan Monastery, founded in 1317. Here the monks would make herbal remedies for local people. Today it  functions as a modern pharmacy, but a selection of face creams and herbal teas, made to traditional recipes, is also available.

Pharmacy Franciscan Monistery

It has some famous fans

Lord Byron called it the ‘Pearl of Adriatic’ and George Bernard Shaw said: ”Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik”.

It’s always been against slaver

600 years ago, in1416, slavery was banned in the Republic of Dubrovnik, condemned as being “shameful, wrong and disgusting, and against all humanity”. Just to compare: the slave trade was not banned in Britain until 1833, and in the US not until 1865.

Guard Dubrovnik History

It shows its age

Due to its age and civilised start to life, Dubrovnik lays claim to a number of world firsts (not just the pharmacy). It has one of the earliest medieval sewage systems, installed in 1296, and still used today, as well as one of the first quarantine facilities, established in 1377. Likewise, the orphanage set up in 1432 as part of the Monastery of St Clare was one of the first such institutions in the world.

Dubrovnik Old Town Harbour

For more details visit the original article in the Telegraph.

News source: CroatiaWeek