The Dubrovnik City Walls Are A Major Tourist Attraction:
Dubrovnik was once a fortified city and its very well preserved city walls (Dubrovacke gradske zidine) used to protect its citizens from the many invasions over the centuries. These impregnable walls are now a symbol of the city and a major attraction for visitors.
Dubrovnik City Walls
Dubrovnik City Walls were built over a period of time from the 7th to 17th century. Measuring 1940 metres in length, the walls encircle most of Dubrovnik Old Town and were fortified by forts, towers and bastions. Three of the five existing forts (Minceta, Bokar and St John) were built within the city walls complex. The other two, Lovrjenac in the west and Revelin in the east, are freestanding.
There are three entrances to the walls: one next to St Saviour’s Church at the Pile Gate entrance to the Old City, one next to St Luke’s Church in the east and the third next to the Maritime Museum located at St John’s Fort. Like most people, we entered the Old Town via Pile Gate, and so got onto the walls from the entrance next to St Saviour’s Church. There are some steps to climb and you buy your entry ticket from the first window up the steps.
Dubrovnik City Wall Walk
If you are planning a wall walk, start early as it does get busy later in the day. The city walls are quite wide and can accommodate plenty of visitors, but every now and then you come across a large tour group and find yourself in a little traffic jam.
From the walls you get the most magnificent views of the town and out towards the sea. At the northern point of the wall, which also happens to be the highest point of the city wall is Fort Minceta which protected the northern corridors of Dubrovnik. You can climb to the top of the fort for an even more spectacular view of the area.
The other significant fort is St John’s Fort in the Old harbour area which is recognizable by its quadrangular pier tower. This fort protected the south-eastern entrance to the city from pirates and enemy ships. Today, St John’s Fort houses an aquarium on ground floor, and the Maritime Museum is on the first and second floors.
At the foot of St John’s Fort is a huge pier with a lighthouse – the well-known Porporela. This is a meeting place of lovers, and a favourite promenade and bathing place of locals. From Porporela you can see Fort Revelin standing just outside the city walls at the eastern entrance. Fort Revelin is now used as concert venues of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is held here.
On a fine day, you could spend hours on the walls, especially if you are keen on photography. As can be seen from the number of photos that we took, there are contrasting views of medieval roofs and newer ones, domes of churches, bell towers, interesting views down alleyways and into the gardens of people’s homes, not to mention the stretches of walls and forts along the way. Oh, when you’re walking and taking snaps, don’t forget to look back as you’ll also be able to grab shots of locations that you’ve just walked past.
Dubrovnik City Walls are one of the best preserved fortification complexes in Europe and if you are interested in the role that the city walls played in the history and defense of Dubrovnik, you can join a Dubrovnik Ancient City Walls Historical Walking Tour. Apart from discovering the sights of Dubrovnik from the walls, you will hear stories of the rivalries and conquests that Dubrovnik faced in the past and learn the secrets of how the country used defensive fortifications and diplomacy to remain an independent republic for several years.