The Walls of Dubrovnik are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the citizens of the afterward proclaimed maritime city-state of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), situated in southern Croatia, since the city's founding prior to the 7th century as a Byzantium castrum on a rocky island named Laus (Ragusia or Lave). With numerous additions and modifications throughout their history, they have been considered to be amongst the great fortification systems of the Middle Ages, as they were never breached by a hostile army during this time period. In 1979, the old city of Dubrovnik, which includes a substantial portion of the old walls of Dubrovnik, joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The oldest systems of fortifications around the town were likely wooden palisades. Today's intact city walls, constructed mainly during the 12th–17th centuries, mostly a double line, have long been a source of pride for Dubrovnik. The walls run an uninterrupted course of approximately 1,940 metres (6,360 ft) in length, encircling most of the old city, and reach a maximum height of about 25 metres (82 ft). The bulk of the existing walls and fortifications were constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, but were continually extended and strengthened up until the 17th century.
This complex structure, amongst the largest and most complete in Europe, protected the freedom and safety of a "civilised" and "sophisticated" republic that flourished in peace and prosperity for five centuries. The walls were reinforced by three circular and 14 quadrangular towers, five bastions (bulwarks), two angular fortifications and the large St. John's Fortress. Land Walls were additionally reinforced by one larger bastion and nine smaller semicircular ones, like the casemate Fort Bokar, the oldest preserved fort of that kind in Europe. The moat that ran around the outside section of the city walls which were armed by more than 120 cannons, made superb city defense.
The main wall on the landside is 4 metres (13 ft) to 6 metres (20 ft) thick, and, at certain locations, the walls reach up to 25 meters (80 feet) in height. The land walls stretch from Fort Bokar in the west to the detached Revelin Fortress in the east. On the landside, the wall is protected with an additional range of slanted supporting walls as defense against artillery fire, especially against possible Ottoman attacks.
The main wall on the sea-facing side of Dubrovnik, stretches from Fort Bokar in the west to St. John Fortress in the south, and to the Revelin Frotress on the land-side. These walls are 1.5 to 5 meters (5–16 feet) thick, depending on their location and its strategic importance. The purpose of these walls were to help defend the city from sea-based attacks, particularly from the Republic of Venice, which was often considered a threat to Dubrovnik's safety.
View More »