Dubrovnik - an introduction to its history and culture
The very favourable geographical position of Dubrovnik made its development based on maritime and merchant activities very successful through its history. From the entrance to the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is the first port protected by islands on the maritime route to the West, and by way of the Neretva Valley, it has the fastest connection with its hinterland. New archaelogical excavations in the foundations of the present City prove that a settlement existed in the 6th century or even earlier. It was enlarged by the arrival of the Croats after the destruction of the ancient Epidaurum (present Cavtat) in the 7th century.
The intensified traffic between the East and the West during and after the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries heralded the prosperity of maritime and merchant centres in the Mediterranean and Adriatic of which Dubrovnik was one. Liberation from the Venetian influence which Dubrovnik achieved by the Zadar Treaty in 1358, was crucial for its later successful development. The other Dalmatian towns did not succeed and they finally came under the rule of the Venetian state in 1420. During the 14th and in the 15th centuryies, Dubrovnik, along with Venice and Ancona, became the most significant seafaring and merchant centre at the Adriatic. By agreements and land-purchasing Dubrovnik enlarged its territory from Klek in the north and to Sutorina at the entrance of the Bay of Boka including the islands Mljet, Lastovo, Elaphites and Lokrum.
The Rector was elected for a period of a month only as a nominal symbol of power.
A general crisis in maritime affairs at the Mediterranean in the 17th century struck the Dubrovnik mercantile trade as well. The disastrous earthquake in 1667 forced the Dubrovnik Republic to fight for its exsistence and the protection of its political sovereignty. In the 18th century Dubrovnik found an opportunity for economic revival in the seaborne trade under a neutral flag until the arrival of Napoleon and the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic in 1808.
Following the declaration of the independence of the Republic of Croatia and the subsequent aggression of Serbia against Croatia, Dubrovnik was attacked in October 1991 with extreme force by the Serbs and Montenegrans who intended to burn and destroy the whole territory completely. The Dubrovnik region was occupied and devastated and the City itself was totally encircled for eight months, bombarded many times and brutally destroyed particularly on the 6th of December 1991.
Today the cultural and historic heritage of Dubrovnik has been restored. Reconstructed hotels, and the valuable assets of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival as well as the other cultural events are essential elements for the development of modern tourism. (source: "Sam svoj vodic"; Dubrovnik, 1998. god.) - Read more about History of Dubrovnik..
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