Dubrovnik is a city in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast. More than 500 years ago it was called "Ragusa". The Italian name of the city is still "Ragusa"; this sometimes leads to confusion because there is already a city named Ragusa on Sicily. It is on the Adriatic Sea. About 50,000 people lived there in 2001. Because of its age and unique buildings, the old city of Dubrovnik has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The old city of Ragusa was started by Greeks who left Illirya after their home was invaded in the sixth century. They had been part of the Holy Roman Empire. Ragusa in Dalmatia grew to be an important country on the sea, called the Republic of Ragusa. This republic lasted until Napoleonic times.
Ragusa was once the only city in Dalmatia with Roman influence not to be controlled by the Republic of Venice. After the Middle Ages more and more Croats and Serbs from inland areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina moved to the area. They had started the neighbouring town of Dubrovnik, which eventually joined Ragusa. The original population (the Dalmatian Italians) was reduced to the few people of the ruling class: in the 19th century nearly all the people living in Ragusa were Slavs (Croats and Serbs). Ragusa officially changed its name to "Dubrovnik" (a Croatian name) after 1918, when the city became part of the newly-created country of Yugoslavia.
Today Dubrovnik is one of the main tourist sites in Croatia. Dubrovnik is famous for its Old Town - this is an ancient fortress with large stone walls, which helped Dubrovnik keep its freedom for many centuries. There was a major earthquake in 1667 that destroyed many buildings, but the people living there were able to rebuild the town.
- Old City of Dubrovnik - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- Flags of Ragusa
- Storia e monetazione di Ragusa, oggi Dubrovnik (in Italian)
- Dalmatia and Montenegro by John Gardner Wilkinson, on Google Books