Let’s start with the Napoleonic general Alexandre Lauriston who occupied Ragusa (Dubrovnik) with his troops in 1806 and who said: “This little land, which has been so ineffably blessed, whose inhabitants are gentle, hard-working and intelligent, an oasis of civilisation in the midst of barbarism…”
Despite its turbulent history, Dubrovnik has always been exquisitely beautiful, tranquil and peace loving.
And it is probably best described by Bernard Shaw who said: “Those who seek Paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik”.
Interesting facts about Dubrovnik Republic
- The people of old Dubrovnik avoided making any important decision when the south wind was blowing
- On 27th January 1416, Dubrovnik Republic was the first one in Europe to abolish slavery (England did it in 1569, USA in 1865 and Brazil in 1888 so 472 years after Dubrovnik)
- Republic of Ragusa had one of the 1st sewage systems in Europe (1296) that is still in function
- Medical service in Dubrovnik was introduced in 1301
- The nursing home was founded in 1347
- Founded in 1317, it is the oldest continuously functioning pharmacy in Europe. Originally it was used exclusively by the monks, but as the city grew, the pressures of urban living made some sort of public hearth facility essential and donations were made with the aim of turning the pharmacy into a public institution. While the old pharmacy can be seen in the monastery museum, the present-day pharmacy in the cloister still functions and sells little pots of creams and lotion dated 1317 and apparently made to original recipes.
- Plague first swept Dubrovnik in 1348, thought to have been spread by the Mongols as they skirmished their way across Europe. The outbreak lasted six months, during which an average of 120 people are reported to have died every day. Other outbreaks followed, and in 1377 Ragusa introduced quarantine requirements for ships, passengers and cargo
- The Dubrovnik Republic had exceptionally organised naval offices and statutory regulations. The oldest preserved contract on maritime insurance dates back to 1395; while the oldest in the world was found in 1568
- The Republic of Ragusa was one of the first foreign countries de iure to recognise the independence of the United States. Sources differ on when the recognition took place: some travel guides and tourist portals claim that Ragusa was the very first country to recognise the United States as early as 1776, a document whose copy was presented to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in 2006 reportedly puts the date at 1783, while the Council of American Ambassadors claims that the recognition was extended during the term of the second President of the United States, John Adams, thus between 1797 and 1801
- “Obliti privatorum publica curate” meaning “Forget private concerns, think of the public good” – Exhortation to the governors of Dubrovnik carved over the entrance to the former Great Council chambers in the Rector’s Palace which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters. It stands in Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik, over the entrance to the hall of the Major Council.
Visible Cities, Dubrovnik – A city guide by Annabel Barber