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Old City of Dubrovnik (Croatia)

'Pearl of the Adriatic'



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Attack on Dubrovnik

Bosnia Civil War - 1991

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Dubrovnik's History

The 'Pearl of the Adriatic' on the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik was an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards.  As the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, a maritime republic, the city achieved a high level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries.  Dubrovnik became notable for its wealth and skilled diplomacy until severely damaged by a major earthquake in 1667.


In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.


Despite demilitarization 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, Yugoslavia's Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) attacked the Croatian military in the city on October 1, 1991, under the distorted claim that Dubrovnik had never historically been part of Croatia. 


The siege of Dubrovnik lasted for seven months. The heaviest artillery attack was on December 6 with 19 people killed and 60 wounded. Total casualties in the conflict according to Croatian Red Cross were 114 killed civilians.  The artillery attacks on Dubrovnik damaged 56% of its buildings to some degree as the historic walled city sustained 650 hits by artillery rounds.  The Croatian Army lifted the siege in May 1992 and liberated Dubrovnik's surroundings by the end of October, but the danger of sudden attacks by the JNA lasted for another three years. 


Artillery hits during the siege are clearly visible from high points around the city in the form of the more brightly colored new roofs.  International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indictments were issued for JNA generals and officers involved in the siege   General Pavle Strugar, who coordinated the attack on the city, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term for his role in the attack.


Today, Dubrovnik is considered to be among the 10 best and most remarkably well-preserved examples of a late-medieval walled city in the world.  As such, it is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean with its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces, fountains and massive fortress walls.  

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   Adriatic Sea

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