Having begun as a relatively flimsy wooden structure in the 8th century, modifications saw the city almost completely enclosed by the 13th century. Construction continued and today, having endured the ages, the wall boasts a well- maintained condition. Dubrovnik, formerly the Republic of Ragusan, and protected by one of the greatest medieval fortresses of its time, remained steadfast. Nowadays, the wall’s benefit to the city is its magnetism for tourists. Ironically much of this tourism is derived from a modern appeal and due to the massively popular television series, Game of Thrones . Dubrovnik’s walls and fortresses were portrayed as ‘King’s Landing’ in the epic fantasy that captured the imaginations of a world-wide audience. Given the fable-like protection the walls o¡ered the Republic of Ragusan, it seems only proper that these ancient stones be given their own dash of sparkling movie magic. A thriving maritime civilization, the Republic of Ragusan was finally conquered by the French and annexed by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1808. Gleaming with a little more newness in certain places, the wall blends into the bustling city — a carpet of terracotta-tiled properties spread out for miles. Old Town Dubrovnik seems to curl up against the stones — life lived in the shadow of its protector. Inhabitants continue their daily business, with the vague awareness of visitors marching the battlements, as though to defend the town with their very presence. Some

Croatians are a little like goldfish in a bowl, their homes in full view of the constant barrage of people peering down on their gardens, perhaps commenting on the drying clothes flapping nonchalantly in the breeze. More than six thousand feet in length and steeped in Catholic roots, the wall boasts cherubs, saints and angels immortalized in limestone and silent witnesses to progress. Saint Blaise, the Patron of Dubrovnik, stands century over Ploce Gate. Monasteries and church spires can be viewed at di¡erent intervals as can the iconic Dubrovnik Cathedral (rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake), the Renaissance Onofrio’s Fountain, and also St. Saviour’s and St. Ignatius’s Churches. The city’s defensive system includes the vaulted chambers of the Fort Bokar casemate, Minceta Tower and St. John’s Fortress, in addition to detached fortresses, well-protected city gates, drawbridges and a moat. In the late 19th century up to 120 cannons were strategically placed along the ramparts for maximum e¡ect. It’s a matter of pride (and not all that surprising) that the fortress was never breached during the Middle Ages. In fact, the only thing that inflicted minor damage was the earthquake of 1667. Since the walls of the detached fort of St. Lawrence are up to 39-feet thick in some places, it all makes sense. And so, no longer needed to prevent sea attacks by pirates and Venetians, St. Lawrence is now put to better use as an elegant Shakespearean performance site.


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