This is one of the major filming locations for the HBO series Game of Thrones – if you’re a fan, you won’t have to look too hard to find something you recognise.
Dubrovnik’s monumental city walls may be the most impressive in Europe. One of the largest and most complete sets of fortifications anywhere in the world, they run for a continuous 1940m around the Old Town and positively bristle with towers, bastions, crenellations and a formidable moat. As you walk along their massive bulk, you will not be surprised to learn that in over 800 years as a medieval city, Dubrovnik’s walls were not once breached by a hostile army.
Dubrovnik has had defensive fortifications of one sort or another since it was founded in the 7th century. These early walls would most likely have been simple wooden palisades, but as the centuries wore on and the defensive needs of the burgeoning city-state grew, more and more features were added. Even as early as 866, Dubrovnik was sufficiently well fortified to withstand a 15-month Saracen siege. At the height of its defensive capabilities, the city walls featured 17 towers, five bastions, several fortresses and no less than 120 cannons.
These days, a stroll on top of the battlements offers some of the best panoramas over the Old Town and beyond. Visit the mighty St. John’s fortress, designed to prevent enemy ships from entering the harbour with its imposing bulk, heavy boom chains and large complement of cannons. Further along is the quintessentially “castle-ish” Minceta Tower, which became a symbol of the unconquerable Dubrovnik in the 15th century. Perhaps the most impressive fortification in terms of sheer weight is the St. Lawrence Fortress, known as Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar. It was defended by ten of the city’s largest cannons, including the famous “Lizard”, and featured 12m-thick walls.
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