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City Walls

Built: from 13 to 17 century

Style: most influential Gothic and Renaissance styles

Architect: Paskoje Miličević, Juraj Dalmatinac, Michelozzo of Florence, Onofrio and Simeon della Cava, etc.

Served as: fortification system for defence of the city

Marked for:

  • 1940 long
  • consist of the main city wall, sixteen towers, three forts, six bastions, two angular fortifications, with three bulwarks nizomtoreta, three bright and breakwaters and two town drawbridge

 

Like a wast stone curtain on the magnificent stage which saw so many plays of the centuries long gone, the Dubrovnik city walls equally impressive from outside and from within - with their forts, bastions, towers, guard-houses and parapets - have never lost the vital force and energy gained throughout their long and tempestuous history.

Those eternal guards radiate vitality and power which was essential for the preservation of Dubrovnik and defence of its freedom.

For many centuries, the city walls obeyed only the hands of their numerous builders, thus retaining their uniqueness where both time and construction manner are concerned.

Many famous masters including Paskoje Miličević, Juraj Dalmatinac, Michelozzo of Florence, Onofrio and Simeon della Cava, as well as many anonymous but talented and diligent builders took part in the construction of these solid monumental walls.

From 13th to 17th centuries, they were building and rebuilding in accordance with strict rules, without swaggering, conforming to all givens of time and weapons.

During the long centuries of construction, the most influential were the Gothic and Renaissance styles, the combination of which resulted in an exquisite fortification complex. For the city and its residentswalls meant security and protection, whereas the outsiders saw in them a threat and readiness to protect the City at any moment and at any cost.

The Dubrovnik city walls have fulfilled their historic task, and no one managed to conquer and subdue them until the present day.It must have been difficult for the soldiers to dwell among these cold and lonesome ramparts, and be awake and alert all the time.

Dubrovnik’s patron Saint Blaise had the exclusive right to be present in the form of stone statues in many places on the city walls facing both the sea and land. With his mysterious untouchability and spirituality, his hand outstretched to bless the well-meaning people, St Blaise is equally alive and real in the niches of forts Minčeta and Lovrjenac and on the walls facing the sea. His role there is not to celebrate but to see and listen to people’s prayers and cries. He was definitely the one the city guards could talk to during the long dark nights, when one could hear only the howl from Lokrum through the sound of waves crasing against the Dubrovnik clifs.

Nowadays, when approaching the walls from either side, one cannot help feeling the enchanting power of this architectural jewel and of the City, which make an inseparable whole. Observed from the south, the walls appear monumental and in harmony with the sea and cliffs, and viewed from landward side they look equally safe and firmly connected with the outer walls.One gets more and more excited climbing their narrow but safe steps, while continuously discovering new views. The wish to conquer the walls, to unveil the secrets of their defence and of the life which once circulated in their long corridors, secret passages and hidden openings remains unfulfilled.

The secret is entrusted to the light and warmth of the rising and setting sun, to the gloomy clouds and rain which provide the walls with a special setting and adorn them with the most unusual shapes filled with melancholy and wistfulness. It is entrusted to the stormy western winds and calm sea, who are true allies of these walls and towers, witnessing their longevity and everlasting beauty.

Author: Kate Bagoje

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