Dubrovnik Interesting Facts
According to The Telegraph, 15th February, 2017,
Dubrovnik Old Town, has over the recent years become one of the must see places to visit, here are a few facts you might not be aware of.
Also known as the island of Kings , originally inhabited by Benedictine monks (1023) although carvings in a few of the stones set into the walls of the Monastery testify that the island has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The Benedictian monks were apparently exiled from the island on the orders of a French general and subsequently laid a curse on the island , that whoever bought it for their own personal pleasure would be cursed – the local noblemen who evicted the monks all died, subsequent owners had terrible accidents – became bankrupt overnight or drowned getting there! However in 1192 it saved the life of Richard the Lionheart when he was shipwrecked off the coast in a storm – his subsequent grateful donation to the local citizens paid for the Dubrovnik Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary ( the locals having convinced him not to build the cathedral on the island but in the city ).
Dubrovnik was also well known worldwide for its grasp on diplomacy. Threatened by the ever growing Ottoman empire not only did they broker a deal whereas they could ‘pay tribute ‘ to the Ottomans but they also cleverly negotiated a pardon for any Dubrovnik merchants trading with the Ottomans from the Catholic church. Therefore being the only trading power able to deal with both sides. Another diplomatic highlight was with the newly blossoming independence of the United States. The US was really anxious to agree trade agreements with the European countries and did a deal with Ragusa, ( Some claim Dubrovnik was the first state in the world to recognise the United States of America, in 1783 ).
They also banned slavery as early as 1416 centuries before anyone else did – Anyone who was caught breaking the law was sentenced to a heavy fine & six months imprisonment.
The city’s most famous feature is its famous stone boundary. Constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries and encircling the old city. Apparently in some places they can be up to 6 metres thick and have never been breached by a hostile army.
Dubrovnik was badly affected during the Homeland War. The city was under siege for nearly eight months by the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1991 and 1992 – many people were killed as the Yugoslav army rained shells down on the old city from the hilltops above. Nearly 11,500 buildings sustained damage from the attacks, but the wonderful restoration work since has restored and hidden the worst of the damage. As you enter the city walls there is a map to show which buildings were hit and how much damage was inflicted .
FAMOUS FILM LOCATION
Dubrovnik is King’s Landing, capital of Westeros ( since season 2 ) if your not a Game of Thrones enthusiast , then perhaps your a Star Wars fan – filming has been constant in Dubrovnik since 2016 and this spring saw Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern in town, for the filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII. And in early 2017, Dubrovnik’s cobbled alleys will once again be packed for the shooting of Robin Hood: Origins, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Jamie Foxx as Little John which sounds amazing. The other film of course is the new James Bond movie due to start filming around May.
Europe’s longest & oldest operating pharmacy in the world is located inside Dubrovnik’s Franciscan Monastery, founded in 1317. The monks made herb based cures/medicines which they sold to local people,and although today its a proper chemists they still sell a few of the monks original recipies – mostly face creams and herbal teas . Dubrovnik lays claim to a number of world firsts (not just the pharmacy). It has one of the earliest medieval sewage systems, installed in 1296, and still used today, as well as one of the first quarantine facilities, established in 1377. Likewise, the orphanage set up in 1432 as part of the Monastery of St Clare was one of the first such institutions in the world.
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