Ten Curiosities about Dubrovnik - Ljetnikovac Natali
Ljetnikovac Natali
Ljetnikovac Natali

Ten Curiosities about Dubrovnik

6. April 2023.

In a history so long and enthralling like Dubrovnik’s, there are many facts and stories that are simply mind-blowing. Here are our favorite ten:

1. Dubrovnik Old Town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. But did you know that Dubrovnik has one more UNESCO treasure? The Festivity of Saint Blaise, which celebrates the city’s patron saint with a stunning procession on February 3, became UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

2. After an earthquake shook the town to its core in 1979, archaeological excavations underneath the present-day Cathedral uncovered a Byzantine basilica probably built between the 7th and 9th centuries and a defensive wall dated back to 5th/6th century. These discoveries suggest that Dubrovnik is far older than previously believed. For a long time, the origins of Ragusa were placed in the 7th century.

3. Even before becoming an independent Republic, Dubrovnik had its own book of laws, the Statute. Proclaimed in 1272 and expanded over time, it comprised eight books that dealt with everything from good governance and the judiciary system, to family, civil, and maritime law. Its regulations on maritime insurance were among the first of their kind in
the world.

4. On January 27, 1416, the Republic of Dubrovnik prohibited slave trade. It took until the end of the century to put a stop on the practice of slavery, but nonetheless, it all happened some 400 years earlier than in the USA or UK.

5. The Franciscan Monastery Pharmacy has been in continuous public operation since 1317, which makes it one of Europe’s oldest public pharmacies by continuity of work. Today, this is where you go to shop for unique cosmetics prepared according to ancient recipes.

6. The famous Jewish doctor from Portugal, Amatus Lusitanus, worked in Dubrovnik for a few years in the 16th century. During that time, he compiled a comprehensive list of heart attack symptoms as well as described the structure of the inner ear.

7. Dubrovnik Old Town had a functioning sewer system already in 1296 and running water as early as 1438.

8. In 1377, the government of Dubrovnik decided that all incoming ships, crews, and travelers had to endure trentina – a 30-day period of isolation before being granted access to the town. Later extended to forty days, this isolation became known as the quarantine, after the Italian word ‘quaranta’ (that means forty). The image shows Lazareti, a former quarantine of Dubrovnik.

9. Dubrovnik was the birthplace of many important scientists, but perhaps the most famous name remains that of the polymath Ruđer Bošković. This scientist and Jesuit priest was a physicist, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, and theologian. His contributions to astronomy were so great that a moon crater bears his name – the Bošković crater.

10. Everybody knows that Dubrovnik doubled for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, but it may come as a surprise that the first film shot here was Monna Vanna directed by Eugen Illés way back in 1916.

Dubrovnik’s history is a continuous source of inspiration to many of us. We hope it’ll inspire you too.