City and port in the far south of Croatia on the Adriatic coast; population (2001) 31,800. It manufactures cheese, liqueurs, silk, and leather.
A Roman station since the 6th century, Dubrovnik received its charter in 1272. The geographic location of the city led to its development as an important centre of maritime and merchant activity and it was protected by outlying islands. Intensive traffic between east and west at the time of, and after, the Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries helped the city's economic development. It was for a long time an independent republic after gaining independence from Venice in 1358 and it expanded its territory through a system of land purchases. However, after setting itself up as the Dubrovnik Republic in the 16th century, it lost its independence in 1808, and was declared part of Croatia and Dalmatia under the Congress of Vienna under Austrian rule in 1815. It became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later called Yugoslavia) in 1920.
During the 1991 civil war, Dubrovnik was placed under siege by Yugoslav federal forces (as part of its blockade of the Croatian coast) and subjected to frequent artillery barrages and naval shelling. The plight of the city and its residents attracted international concern during the siege; many medieval buildings and works of art were damaged.
Features include a 12th-century cathedral, 13th-century arsenal, 17th-century city gates, and the Fortress of St John (1464). The city also contains a Dominican monastery dating from the 13th century and a Franciscan monastery dating from the 14th century. The Dominican monastery also contains a pharmacy, which has operated for centuries, and there is also a pharmacy museum within the grounds. The city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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