The fort is particularly impressive when lit up at night.
An integral part of Dubrovnik’s world-famous city walls, Fort St. John was the city harbour’s main defensive bastion. It is located on the western side of the port, and was designed to prevent enemy ships from accessing the city. The first fort was built here in the 1300s, but it was only in the 15th and 16th centuries that Fort St. John took on the dramatic semicircular proportions we can see today. Though its military days are long behind it, it still stands as an impressive monument to Dubrovnik’s turbulent history, and few who visit it come away unimpressed by its mighty stone battlements.
Defence in Chains
Today, Fort St. John is a perfect spot to take a break on your tour of the city walls. Leaning on the parapet in the sun, you get a fantastic panorama of the jetties over to your left and Lokrum island to your right. Directly across the harbour, nestled between a mass of red-roofed houses, is the 13th century St. Luke’s Tower, one of the city’s oldest preserved towers. In the days of naval defence, heavy boom chains were hung between St. Luke’s and Fort St. John to prevent enemy ships from entering the harbour.
On the fort’s ground floor, you will find an aquarium dedicated to the sealife of the Adriatic, while on the upper levels there is a well-curated maritime museum covering Dubrovnik’s naval period from the republican era to the Second World War.
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