Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik
Fascinating things about Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, though prominent in the Middle Ages as the Republic of Ragusa, has found a new lease on life in recent years and is increasingly appearing on the lists of travelers as a must place to visit, thanks in no small part to Game of Thrones. Think you know a thing or two about the city? Think again!
It once saved an English King’s life
The city’s most notable place of worship, the Dubrovnik Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was built with the help of a large donation for Richard the Lionheart. In 1192 the English king was returning home from the Third Crusades when he was caught in a storm off the Croatian coast. Legend has it that the monarch promised to God to build a cathedral wherever he reached land alive. That land happened to be the small island of Lokrum, opposite Dubrovnik. Hearing of the king’s arrival, locals sought out the monarch and convinced him not to build the cathedral on the island but instead in the city where it stands today.
It’s good friends with the US
Dubrovnik made a name for itself through both trade and diplomacy. One of its diplomatic highlights was the key role it played in the blooming independence of the United States. The young US did a deal with Ragusa (Croatia), and hides arrived from Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia. Some claim Dubrovnik was the first state in the world to recognize the United States of America in 1783.
It’s a regular on the silver screen
For many visitors, Dubrovnik is King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros. And its starring role in the series has prompted filmmakers to move in. It hosted the filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII and Robin Hood: Origins produced by Leonard DiCaprio and starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Jamie Foxx as Little John. It’s likely that this will not be just one film but a trilogy.
It’s cut off from the rest of Croatia
Just north of Dubrovnik, there is a 12-mile wide strip of Bosnia and Herzegovina that cuts Croatia in two. This corridor of land provides sea access to Croatia’s otherwise-landlocked neighbor and is a product of a slump in the finances of the Republic of Dubrovnik in the 17th century. It was forced to sell two patches of land to the Ottomans, the Bosnian corridor being one of them, in order to raise money and halt the Venetian forces advancing from the north. Today anyone driving to the city from the north must go through border control on either side of the territory.
Home to the world’s oldest pharmacy
Europe’s longest operating pharmacy and one of the oldest in the world is located inside Dubrovnik’s Franciscan Monastery, founded in 1317. The monks began making medicines, which they sold to local citizens, mostly herb-based cures for everyday ailments such as headaches, indigestion, and insomnia.
It has many firsts
Due to its age and civilized start to life, Dubrovnik lays claim to a number of world firsts (in addition to 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. The orphanage set up in 1432 as part of the Monastery of St. Clare was one of the first such institutions in the world.