Founded 1300 years ago by the Romans, medieval Dubrovnik (Ragusa) was the most important independent city state on the Adriatic after Venice. Once a historic and picturesque town on the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik was also a major tourist resort on the Adriatic Sea until much of the town was destroyed during the 1991 war between the republics of Croatia and Serbia. The town faces the sea at the foot of rugged limestone mountains and is well known for its medieval double walls and fortifications. Stari Grad, the perfectly preserved old town, is unique for its marble-paved squares, steep cobbled streets, tall houses, convents, churches, palaces, fountains, museums, all cut from the same light coloured stone. Historic buildings included a rector's palace, two monasteries, a mint, and an ancient customs house. From here you can visit Cavtat, Ston and Trsteno.
The town was founded in the 7th century BC on a site called Ragusium by the Romans. It was under the protection of the Byzantine Empire between 867 and 1205, of Venice until 1358, of Hungary until 1526, and of the Ottoman Empire until 1806, but remained largely self-governing as an independent republic. Napoleon abolished the city-republic of Dubrovnik in 1808, and the Congress of Vienna ceded the town to Austria in 1815. By the terms of the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) following World War I, the town became part of the newly created Yugoslavia. During World War II Dubrovnik was occupied by Italian and German forces. In 1991, when Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, Serbian forces laid siege to and bombarded the town, destroying many sites of historical importance. Much of the population was forced to flee.
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