Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik, Croatia (with Map & Photos)

Like an extension of the famous Dubrovnik walls, Fort Lovrijenac (the St. Lawrence Fortress), is located a few kilometers northwest of the city, on a 37-meter high cliff. This fortification, also known as "the Gibraltar of Dubrovnik" is located at a strategic point that once controlled access to the city both by land and by sea. It is also one of the most important icons of Ragusa's resistance to the rule of Venice.

Fort Lovrijenac
Fort Lovrijenac

History


Anticipating the intentions of the Republic of Venice, the inhabitants of Ragusa toiled in the early 11th century to build a fortification to protect the city. In three months its thick walls were already standing, and when the Venetian ships loaded with materials and workers arrived, they were faced with an unexpected setback. The work of the spies and the rapidity of the reaction had thwarted the Venetian plans. This is how Lovrijenac was born.
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His appearance in any case was not then what we can admire today. The primitive tower was reinforced with the passage of time, mainly during the 15th and 16th centuries, being endowed with more solid and massive walls that came to form an impregnable complex.

Fort Lovrijenac
Fort Lovrijenac

The importance of this bastion was vital for the defense of the city of Dubrovnik. So much so that, to ensure the loyalty of the garrison that protected it, it was relieved every 30 days. And to ensure that she was not tempted to take over the plaza, she only received food rations for those 30 days of guard duty.

Rebuilt almost completely after the devastating earthquake of 1667, over the centuries Lovrijenac became a semi-abandoned and poorly maintained fortress. Only three decades ago, and after a series of important restoration works, it could be recovered again and today, in addition to an interesting monument, it is the luxurious setting for various cultural events in Dubrovnik.

Building


Fort Lovrijenac has, as we have said, triangular in shape and is structured in three levels. The walls facing the sea are the highest and thickest (up to 12 meters!), While those facing the city and the bay are barely 60 cm thick. Why this difference? Again, it is a security measure like the relief of the guard: if for some reason the commander of the Lovrijenac garrison were to rebel, the cannons stationed on the walls of Dubrovnik could easily break down these thinner walls and assault the fortress, ending the uprising.
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The Fort is actually isolated and can only be accessed via two bridges. One of the bridges leads directly to the main gate of the fortress. Above it is a Latin inscription carved into the stone where the following reads: No. Bene Pro Toto Venditur Auro Libertas, which means: "Freedom is not sold for all the treasures of the world. " A phrase that reflects the strong will of the inhabitants of ancient Ragusa, today Dubrovnik, to preserve their freedom and independence from foreign powers, at that time the powerful Republic of Venice.

Fort Lovrijenac
Fort Lovrijenac

On the highest terraces of the walls, the old cannons continue pointing to the horizon, where the enemy ships arrived. The largest and most famous of these cannons is the iconic Guster (Croatian for "lizard"), the main guardian of Lovrijenac since 1537 and a masterpiece of the national cannon foundry, Ivan Rabljanin. The views of the city and the Bay of Pile from this privileged viewpoint are truly fantastic.

Lovrijenac and Literature


For some years now, the Fort of San Lorenzo has become one of the most prominent symbols and settings of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, as William Shakespeare's Hamlet is represented there with a cast of prominent actors and actresses. It is one of the great moments of the summer in the city, and it is that there could not have been a more appropriate and evocative setting than this for the masterpiece of the immortal English playwright.
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However, this is not Lovrijenac's only link with the world of literature. Already in 1933, at the foot of its walls, the prestigious PEN Club International congress was held for the first time, in which the most famous writers in the world participated, who discovered the city of Dubrovnik as a tourist destination to the world.

Fort Lovrijenac
Fort Lovrijenac

Also, more recently, Fort Lovrijenac has served as a setting for the filming of some chapters of the successful television series "Game of Thrones", representing the iconic Red Fortress.

Practical Information for the Visit


  • Location: on the west side of Pile Bay.
  • How to get there: on foot from the Puerta de Pile, following the signs. You have to go through a small pine forest.
  • Hours: open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Price: You can access the fort with the same ticket that allows us to visit the rest of the city walls and fortifications, the price of which is 100 HRK (about € 13).

Fort Lovrijenac Map