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The town of Dubrovnik dates back to the 7th century but it was not until the 12th century that it amalgamated with Croatia and Hungary. Since then, it has endured many political and economic upheavals and a disastrous earthquake. The Dominican Monastery, the Franciscan Monastery and the Rector’s Palace are all well-preserved examples of European architectural styles which went in and out of fashion during the town’s history.
The Old Town can be observed in detail from its raised perimeter and the orange roofs of the houses contrast beautifully with the Adriatic Sea in the distance. There is a flight of stairs looming above Gundulic Square which are similar to Rome’s Spanish Steps. The palaces, fortresses and cathedrals of the Baroque and medieval eras all echo the fine architecture found elsewhere in Europe.
An interesting feature of Dubrovnik is the Pile suburb. This area was developed outside the city walls to be devoted to such activities as soap making and leather tanning which could not be conducted near residents’ homes. This suburb dates back to the 15th century and includes the homes of workers and a church built for the local residents.
The Old Town sports helpful features of the 21st century such as multi-lingual menus in German, Italian and English displayed outside ancient taverns. The shops in the old cobbled lanes sell everything from designer label fashions to mouse pads celebrating Dubrovnik’s Old Town, alongside examples of local traditional crafts. UNESCO is co-ordinating the restoration of Dubrovnik following the damage inflicted by fighting during the 1990s.