Fort St John

A key part of the city's old port defence system, this fort now hosts an Adriatic aquarium and maritime museum.

TravelCurious Tip

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.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik Cathedral
This Baroque Roman Catholic cathedral was rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake on a site of worship that dates back to the 7th century.
Walls of Dubrovnik
The imposing defensive walls of Dubrovnik guarded the freedom of a sophisticated republic for five centuries.
Rector's Palace
This secular palace is a harmonious combination of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
Dubrovnik Cruise Port
A port renowned for its fascinating history, crystal clear water and astounding superyachts.
Orlando Column
A 600-year-old column carved in honour of the legendary knight Orlando, who saved Dubrovnik from a siege by Arab pirates in the 8th century.
City Bell Tower
A beautiful landmark of the Old Town, with a bell struck by two bronze men.

Related Tours

The Walls of Dubrovnik Live Virtual Tour
Dubrovnik, also known as "The Pearl of the Adriatic", is a perfectly preserved medieval city with huge sturdy stone walls built between the 11th and 17th centuries that surround the Old Town.

On this live virtual tour, you will take a stroll down the 2.000 meters long walls of Dubrovnik and you'll get to see its 6 Fortresses Lovrijenac, Revelin, Minčeta, Bokar, St John and St Lucas.

You will virtually: 

  • Enter St. Luke’s entrance 
  • Go up to the northern wall stopping above a Dominican monastery to have amazing views of the roofs of Dubrovnik
  • Climb to the terrace of Minčta fortress, the highest point with breathtaking views
  • Go down the western side and walk past St’ Francis tower, an Upper corner tower with 15th-century Foundry
  • Stop above the Pile gate for a lovely view of the main street
  • Continue to the Monastery of St. Claire meant for second-born daughters of noble families
  • Admire the Bokar Fortress 
  • Stop at the terrace by the old Benedictine nunnery to enjoy an amazing view of Pile bay and St. Laurence’s fortress
  • Enjoy Lokrum Island view from the southern wall
  • See St. John’s fortress and maritime museum from the outside
  • Take a look at the eastern wall above the old harbour.


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