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DUBROVNIK PHOTO GUIDE
Dubrovnik well deserves its title as Jewel of the Adriatic. Its medieval city centre is one of the great cities of the world. Badly damaged in the Balkans war it has been lovingly restored. The only disappointment with the city are its new pan-tiled roofs that look a bit out of place against the medieval city building. Still surrounded by a massive city wall Dubrovnik juts out into the adriatic. The large island of Lokrum protects the Dubrovnik bay and creates a natural harbor. Rising steeply from the narrow coastal plain are the Dinaric mountain range with mount Srd looking over the city.
Dubrovnik was the smallest of the Mediterranean Republics with an area of 1375 sq. KM. It natural harbor made it an important link in the chain of trading ports that criss crossed the Adriatic and Mediterranean. Dubrovnik’s creation is shrouded in legend but it was most likely founded by the fleeing inhabitants of the Roman city of Epidaurum which was sacked by the Avars and Slavs. The first cathedral in Dubrovnik dates from the 7th century and until the 12th century Dubrovnik grew as a major trading port ruled by Byzantium. It name originates from the Croatian word for holmoak tress, "dubrava". Croatian slowly settled here and there was a mixed Latin and Croatian community.
By the 12th century Dubrovnik was ruled by a Rector who was elected by the people. A class of nobleman and landowners was established as Dubrovnik grew in stature with important alliances and trading contracts with Pisa and all the important Adriatic ports. Further agreements with Bosnia and Serbia made it the central trading hub of the Balkans. In 1205 Dubrovnik came under Venetian authority and the Bishop of Venice was made Rector. Venice also nominated the council members of Dubrovnik but never really managed total supremacy in the city. Dubrovnik turned its trading away from Venice to Syria and north Africa and in 1358 the treaty of Zadar set Dubrovnik free from the Venetians.
Dubrovnik came under the rule of Hungaro-Croatian kings but the Turks were starting to become the naval and land power of the region. In 1526 the Hungaro-Croatian armies were defeated by the Turks at Mahacs and Dubrovnik stopped paying taxes to the Hungaro-Croatian kings. Instead Dubrovnik had to pay tributes to Turkey who in return left them to self rule. Typical of the Mediterranean Republics of the 15th century Dubrovnik had a closed class system. The urban society was divided into 3 classes. The Patricians, the "good Citizens" and the commoners. The patrician were the only class allowed to buy land. The richest merchants made up the "Good Citizens’ but they had no political power and obviously the biggest class was the commoners. Sailors in the republic could only come from the town so as not to deplete the yeomen and sharecroppers that were vital to keep agriculture going. By the mid 16th century there were 4000 sailors in Dubrovnik and they were forbidden to sign for foreign ships. The political structure was split into 3 councils ruled by the Rector whose term of office was only one month. All adult Patrician males sat on the Majors Council and they elected the Senate which held real power. Therefore all major positions in government and justice were held by the patricians.
In its golden age Dubrovnik flourished with the riches it earn from trading silver and lead from Bosnian and Serbian mines. In demand from Florence and Venice the merchants of Dubrovnik flourished until the Turks took Bosnia and Serbia. Dubrovnik was forced to look elsewhere for new opportunities. Boat building became more important and the republic still controlled important salt producing areas. As the Americas were discovered and new shipping routes around Africa to India were opened Dubrovnik started to decline. In a bid to halt this the Republic’s ships sailed further to open new shipping routes. Vice Bune, master mariner , entered Spanish service in the late 16th century and sailed to East India. He invested in a new port in Goa and . Even with the down turn by the end of the 18th century Dubrovnik had a fleet of 673 sailing ships, of which 255 were large long distance merchant ships.
Dubrovnik’s ambassadors had embassies in all major cities and were expert in diplomacy which made for good trading partnerships. Mastering the art of diplomacy kept Dubrovnik out of conflict with the Turks and the Venetians and they were not involved in any wars after the 15th century.
This stability made Dubrovnik the perfect centre for science and art to flourish. Poets like Karlo Pucis and Jakov Bunic thrived writing poems in latin. This led to the first Croatian poems and . Marin Drzic became foremost in Europe for his creative dramatic works. Painters workshops flourished but unfortunately most of their work was destroyed in the Great Earthquake in 1667. More than 5000 people were killed and Gothic and Romanesque Dubrovnik lay in ruins.
It was hard for the city to recover from such a great tragedy. The new buildings were built in Roman Baroque style with shops on the ground floor. The Rectors Palace was renovated in the old style and the city wall remained in tact.
Napoleon finished the Republic in 1808 and then Dubrovnik became part of the Austrian Empire. Hopes of the Republic being reinstated were dashed and Dubrovnik became a provincial town of Croatia.
In 1990 Dubrovnik became the most important city of free Croatia. In 1991 the Yugoslav People Army launched a devastating attack on Dubrovnik and it unarmed civilians. For months the town was shelled and and Dubrovnik’s cultural heritage was shattered. After a long period of restoration, Dubrovnik has now been returned to its former glory as the jewel of Europe.
DUBROVNIK CROATIA STOCK PHOTOS, STOCK PICTURES & PHOTO ART PRINTS
Dubrovnik was one of the great Republics of Medieval Europe. Sitting between Venice and Byzantium the Republic of Dubrovnik managed to keep its independence by diplomacy. the clever ambassadors of Dubrovnik negotiated trade agreements with all the super powers of the Medieval Adriatic and became a major centre of trade. The Republic of Dubrovnik did not have control of a lot of land but it became the major port of inland Dalmatia. The wealth this brought built a spectacular fortified city which still is surrounded by impressive fortifications.
Today it is one of the true jewels of the Adriatic and rightfully a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was almost destroyed though during the war of the 1970′s. Despite demilitarisation of the old town in early 1970s in an attempt to prevent it from ever becoming a casualty of war, following Croatia’s independence in 1991, Serbian-Montenegrin remains of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) attacked the city. The bombing of Dubrovnik shocked the world. TV news of its ancient walls being hit by bombs headed the news. Peace brought a devastated Dubrovnik and the reconstruction didi not finish until the end of the 1990′s. Today the only evidence of the damage are the shiny new pan tile rooves. Again it is a major tourist destination.
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