The 'Pearl of the Adriatic', on the Dalmatian coast, was an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains.

    Dubrovnik was founded in the first half of the 7th century by a group of refugees from Epidaurum, who established their settlement at the island and named it Laus. The Latin name Ragusa (Rausa), in use until the 15th century, originated from the rock (Lat. lausa = rock). Opposite that location, at the foot of Srđ Mountain, the Slavs developed their own settlement under the name of Dubrovnik, derived from the Croatian word dubrava, which means oak woods. When the channel that separated these two settlements was filled in the 12th century, they were united. From the time of its establishment, the town was under the protection of the Byzantine Empire; after the Fourth Crusade the city came under the sovereignty of Venice (1205-1358), and by the Treaty of Zadar in 1358, it became part of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom, when it was effectively a republican free state that reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries. An economic crisis in Mediterranean shipping and, more particularly, a catastrophic earthquake on April 1667 that leveled most of the public buildings, destroyed the well-being of the Republic. This powerful earthquake came as a turning point in the city's development.

    Dubrovnik is a remarkably well-preserved example of a late-medieval walled city, with a regular street layout. Among the outstanding medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque monuments within the magnificent fortifications and the monumental gates to the city are the Town Hall (now the Rector's Palace), dating from the 11th century; the Franciscan Monastery (completed in the 14th century, but now largely Baroque in appearance) with its imposing church; the extensive Dominican Monastery; the cathedral (rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake); the customs house (Sponza), the eclectic appearance of which reveals the fact that it is the work of several hands over many years; and a number of other Baroque churches, such as that of St Blaise (patron saint of the city).

The spindles along the stairwell had to be filled in with cement on the bottom half, because NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO SEE THE ANKLES OF THE NUNS as they would walk up the stairs.

Shops occupy former houses, in which the owners would sell from their front windows which were right next to the front door.

There were four floors to a building for specific reasons.  First floor was the store, second floor was the living area.  Third floor was the kitchen (fires burn UP), and the top floor was the toilet facilities (need I explain?)

Above, birds cling to the narrow ledge above the arches, since the spikes on the square tops of the columns (below) prevent them from landing on the columns.

To get inside and out of the rain, we had to buy a little snack .... to the tune of @$20 for a Coke, a hot chocolate, and a scoop of ice cream.