City Walls Walking Tour, Dubrovnik

City Walls Walking Tour (Self Guided), Dubrovnik

Gazing down at the fortified city, you see a treasure trove of Gothic and Renaissance churches, monasteries, Venetian palaces and ornately carved fountains. They’re all crammed together with shuttered apartments, hole-in-the-wall boutiques and outdoor restaurants and cafés.

There are three different entrances to the Dubrovnik walls. One is at Pile Gate, one is at Ploce Gate (near the Dominican Monastery) and one is close to the Maritime Museum at Fort St. John. Most visitors enter the fortified Old City through the drawbridge over the 15th-century Pile Gate (or Vrata od Pila). The Pile Gate entrance to the walls is thus a convenient one. When you’ve finished your walk, you can exit the walls and enter Dubrovnik Old Town through this same gate – so you can explore the town itself.

To walk the medieval walls of Dubrovnik, you must walk in one direction, anti-clockwise. No going against the flow!

Tickets for the Dubrovnik city walls walk are now 250 Croatian Kunas or 33.02 Euros (about $36.50 USD) per adult. You can only pay cash (in Kuna) or use a credit card. ***PH***
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City Walls Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Walls Walking Tour
Guide Location: Croatia » Dubrovnik (See other walking tours in Dubrovnik)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Author: emma
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Pile Gate
  • Fort Bokar
  • Kula Sveti Peter (Fort Saint Peter)
  • Buza Bar and Blaze Beach
  • Fort Saint Margaret
  • Fort Saint Stephen
  • St. John Fortress
  • Gate of Ploče
  • Minceta Tower
  • Large Onofrio's Fountain
Pile Gate

1) Pile Gate (must see)

"Kill them, kill them all!" King Joffrey is under attack by an angry mob when he returns to Red Keep. But wait. There is no King Joffrey and there is no Red Keep. This is actually season two, episode 6 of the TV series, "Game of Thrones." The "Red Keep" is Pile Gate, the main entrance to the old walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The name Pile is derived from the Greek word "pylaj", meaning "gate." Most walking tours of the Old City start at the 15th-century Pile Gate. It is a good starting point for a walk on the city walls as well. The gate is located on the western side of the walls. It leads directly to Stradun Street, the main promenade of Dubrovnik.

Pile Gate is actually made up of two gates. The inner gate was built in 1460. The outer gate dates from 1537. The Pile Gate complex is defended by the Cylindrical Fort Bokar and the formidable moat that ran around the outside of the inner wall. The moat today is dry. It is a ribbon of landscaped parkland between the two walls.

A stone bridge with Gothic arches at each end, designed by architect Paskoje Milicevic in 1471, connects to a wooden drawbridge inserted over the moat. At night, the drawbridge would be raised to block the gateway. A Romanesque statue of the patron Saint Blaise is above the gateway arch. He holds a model of the city in one hand.

The entire Old City is enclosed in a veritable curtain of stone. The walls are 6,373 feet long and as much as 82 feet high in some places. The landside wall is supported by 10 circular bastions and a casemate fortress. The two main entrances to the city are The Pile Gate in the west and the Polce Gate in the east.

*** Game of Thrones Tour ***
The Pile Gate has been featured in a number of episodes of Game of Thrones Seasons 2 and 3, most notably in Season 2, Episode 6 ‘The Old Gods and the New’. In a scene where King Joffrey returns to Red Keep after Marcella is sent away to Dorne, he gets attacked by the angry mob gathered at the entrance and screams ‘Kill them, kill them all’. The Gate also shows in Season 3, Episode 10 ‘Mhysa’ when Jamie Lannister returns to King’s Landing.
Fort Bokar

2) Fort Bokar

Fort Bokar, also known as Zvjezdan, was conceived as a defensive asset for the Pile Gate of Dubrovnik. Along with Minceta Tower, it is one of the main defense points of the western land approaches to the city. It was designed by Italian architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo. The fort was started in 1461 and upgraded in 1570.

It is a two-story casemate-type fort. Its shape is cylindrical and it projects its volume almost entirely from the medieval stone walls. Part of the fort stands on arched supports on the jagged, detached rock. The sea washes beneath the fort as it has for more than 500 years.

These days, the fort is open all year round. It is well known as the venue for performances of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Every year between July 10th and August 25th the Renaissance-Baroque city provides at least 70 open-air venues for programs of classical music, opera, drama, and ballet. Fort Bokar is one of these venues.

The fortress has been featured in seasons two and three of Game of Thrones. The Fortress is a half-hour walk from the Old City center. An auto ride from the same place lasts about five minutes.

*** Game of Thrones Tour ***
Fort Bokar frequently appears throughout all seasons of Game of Thrones when they show people walk past the city walls of King's Landing. One of the most memorable scenes is in Season 2, Episode 8, where Tyrion and Lord Varys are looking out at sea discussing the defense strategies for King's Landing with the Red Keep visible in the background.
Kula Sveti Peter (Fort Saint Peter)

3) Kula Sveti Peter (Fort Saint Peter)

Fort Saint Peter is a remarkable section of the city's historic defensive walls. Positioned to face the sea, this part of the wall provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Adriatic coastline. It is a place of serene beauty, where you can take a moment to enjoy a refreshing beverage at a nearby café.

The café at Fort St. Peter offers a small selection of drinks and provides a perfect spot to take a break during your exploration of the ancient city walls. As you relax and savor your drink, you'll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas that showcase the natural and architectural splendor of Dubrovnik.

Fort St. Peter served as a crucial component of the city's defense system. Its strategic location made it instrumental in safeguarding the nearby Lovrijenac fortress from maritime threats. Additionally, it functioned as a vigilant lookout point, enabling early detection of ships approaching the west harbor.
Buza Bar and Blaze Beach

4) Buza Bar and Blaze Beach

Buza Bar, found in about 20 minutes into the walk along the wall, offers visitors a unique coastal experience like no other. Perched atop the cliffs, this café provides patrons with awe-inspiring views of the endless expanse of the Adriatic Ocean. With tables and chairs arranged to maximize your enjoyment of the scenery, Buza Bar is the perfect spot to relax and savor a beverage while soaking in the natural beauty that surrounds you.

What sets Buza Bar apart is the small area where adventurous souls can take a short walk down to the cliff's edge and, if they dare, leap into the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic. It's an exhilarating experience that many tourists can't resist.

The nearby rocky area known as Blaze Beach is a popular destination for visitors. Here, you can sunbathe, take a refreshing swim, or explore the underwater wonders by snorkeling. Whether you're looking for a leisurely lunch, a refreshing drink, a quick dip, or a snorkeling adventure, Buza Bar and Blaze Beach offer the ideal setting to enjoy the Adriatic Sea.
Fort Saint Margaret

5) Fort Saint Margaret

Located at the southernmost point of the formidable Dubrovnik city walls, Fort Saint Margaret extends boldly into the sea, offering visitors an unparalleled vantage point to witness the ebb and flow of boats entering and leaving the bustling port of Dubrovnik. Perched above the guard tower on the fort, you can also spot the Statue of St. Blaise, a beloved symbol of the city's patron saint.

Constructed during the Renaissance in the 16th century, Fort Saint Margaret showcases exquisite architectural design, making it an excellent subject for photographers and a place to capture panoramic views of the historic Old Town. As you gaze from this fortress, you'll also be treated to captivating vistas of Lokrum Island, a destination with its own rich history.

Fort Saint Margaret provides a unique opportunity to pause and absorb the breathtaking scenery during your walk along the city walls. While the rest of the wall might encourage a brisk pace, this location beckons you to linger and appreciate the beauty of Dubrovnik from this remarkable vantage point.
Fort Saint Stephen

6) Fort Saint Stephen

Fort Saint Stephen, though one of the most recent additions to the city's impressive fortifications, still stands as a testament to Dubrovnik's long history of building and maintaining protective walls. Construction of the city walls began all the way back in the 7th century, and this ambitious endeavor continued for almost five centuries.

This 17th-century fortification is a relatively young addition to Dubrovnik's fortifications. While the city's walls have evolved and expanded over centuries, each new addition has been a nod to the importance of safeguarding Dubrovnik from potential threats.

Fort Saint Stephen's more recent construction serves as a reminder of Dubrovnik's enduring dedication to fortifying its walls and protecting its heritage. It is a compelling piece of the city's history and a significant part of its ongoing legacy.
St. John Fortress

7) St. John Fortress

The St. John Fortress (Croatian: Sveti Ivan), often called Mulo Tower, is a complex monumental building on the southeastern side of the old city port, controlling and protecting its entrance. The first fort was built in the mid 14th century, but it was modified on several occasions in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, which can be seen in the triptych made by the painter Nikola Božidarević in the Dominican monastery. The painting shows Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik.

Dominant in the port ambiance, the St. John Fortress prevented access of pirates and other enemy ships. Always cautious at the first sign of danger, the inhabitants of Dubrovnik used to close the entry into the port with heavy chains stretched between the St. John Fortress and the Kase jetty, and they also used to wall up all the port entries to the Great Arsenal.

Today, the fortress houses an aquarium on the ground floor, stocked with fish from various parts of the Adriatic Sea. On the upper floors there is an ethnographic and a maritime museum devoted to the Republic Maritime Period, the Age of Steam, the Second World War, and the section of techniques of sailing and navigation. There are also some great exhibits on shipbuilding there.

The Pelješac Peninsula has been well known for its maritime industry for centuries, going back to the time of the Roman Empire. The Maritime Museum does a good job of documenting that history in a way that is interesting and informative.
Gate of Ploče

8) Gate of Ploče

The Gate of Ploče, positioned on the eastern side of Dubrovnik's land walls, is one of the city's significant entrances. This Romanesque-style gate consists of an inner and outer section and is safeguarded by the freestanding Revelin Fortress. The two are connected by a wooden drawbridge and a twin-spanned stone bridge that stretches across a protective ditch.

The construction of the Outer Gate of Ploče was overseen by architect Mihajlo Hranjac in 1628. The two bridges leading to the Revelin Fortress were built in the 15th century by Paskoje Miličević, who also designed the bridges at the Pile Gate. The similarities in design between these bridges are a testament to Miličević's skill and craftsmanship.

Just as it is at the Gate of Pile, a statue of Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, presides over the Gate of Ploče. This adds a touch of historical and cultural significance to the entrance.

*** Game of Thrones Tour ***
The Gate of Ploče has also gained fame among fans of the popular television series Game of Thrones. It made appearances in Season 2, Episode 5 ('The Ghost of Harrenhal') and Season 5, Episode 10 ('Mother's Mercy'). Notably, it is where Cersei Lannister enters the Red Keep through the Ploče Gate in Season 5 after her Walk of Shame, marking a dramatic moment in the series.
Minceta Tower

9) Minceta Tower (must see)

Constructed in 1463, the Minčeta Tower was built during a time when the threat of a Turkish invasion loomed large. Designed by local architect Nicifor Ranjina, with the assistance of Italian engineers sent by Pope Pius II, it initially served as a formidable four-sided fortress. This architectural gem earned its name from the Menčetić family, the original landowners on which the tower was erected.

The tower is not only historically significant but also an architectural marvel. It stands tall as the most prominent point in Dubrovnik's defense system from the land. In the mid-15th century, it underwent renovations by Italian architect and sculptor Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi. He transformed it into a new round tower, incorporating cutting-edge warfare techniques and connecting it to a modern system of low scarp walls. The tower's full six-meter thick walls boasted protected gun ports, and further enhancements were made by Giorgio da Sebenico of Zadar. The result was the iconic high narrow round tower that we see today, complete with battlements.

Minčeta Tower stands as a symbol of the city's indomitable spirit and was completed in 1464. It continues to be a symbol of Dubrovnik's resilience and strength. In modern times, the tower serves as a museum, allowing visitors to explore its historical and architectural significance. Beneath it, in Gornji ugao (Upper Tower), a 16th-century cannon foundry was discovered after extensive excavation.

From its vantage point atop the city walls, Minčeta Tower provides visitors with breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Dubrovnik. It's a place where history comes alive and where one can stand in awe of both the city's past and its present.

*** Game of Thrones Tour ***
The Minčeta Tower found its way into popular culture through the television series Game of Thrones. In Season 2, Episode 10, the tower was featured as the House of the Undying in Qarth, where Daenerys Targaryen had her dragons stolen. The tower's unique architecture and seemingly doorless exterior made it an ideal location for the show's magical and enigmatic scenes.
Large Onofrio's Fountain

10) Large Onofrio's Fountain

Enter the Old Town through the Pile Gate to Stradun Street. On the right-hand side is a sixteen-sided cylindrical-like stone structure with sixteen water taps. The polygonal stone tank is capped with a reddish brick cupola. This is the terminus of the town aqueduct system known as the Large Onofrio's Fountain.

The fountain was designed in 1438 by the Neapolitan architect Onofrio di Giordano della Cava. He planned the town's waterworks and fountains. He built the Large Fountain by Pile Gate and the smaller one in Luza Square. He also constructed a 7.5-mile-long supply system from Knezica Spring directly to the Old Town.

The Large Onofrio's Fountain has one stone-carved mask ("maskeron") in each of the 16 large panels. A statue of a dog named "Kuchak," meaning "fountain dog," adorns the top of the fountain walls. Kuchak is a replica of the original, badly damaged in the earthquake of 1667. The fountain was another location used in TV's Game of Thrones.

The town fountains were the main source of potable water until the end of the 19th century. They still provide clean, drinkable water today. The Large Onofrio's Fountain location by the Church of Saint Saviour is also a popular meeting place for visitors and locals.

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