Fort Lovrijenac is located in the western part of Dubrovnik. It isn’t the part of the city walls, then it was built as a stand-alone fort rising 37 meters above the sea level on a rocky cliff. This all has attributed to Lovrijenac being known as Gibraltar of Dubrovnik. The fort dominates the western approach to the city, both by the sea and the land and is one of the main reasons the city never fell. It has played a vital role in keeping guard of the oldest port in Dubrovnik – Kalarinja – along with the fort Bokar.
The story about Fort Lovrijenac construction is a fascinating one. Venice has always thrived to gain the upper hand over its rivals. The Republic of Ragusa – old name for Dubrovnik city-state – was one of its biggest rivals in the Adriatic. Venetian leaders came up with a daring plan about building a fort west of Dubrovnik that would allow them to take control over the entrance into the city, and in turn, cripple its economy by turning ships away from it. However, thanks to clever diplomacy and spying, the leaders of Ragusa found out about the daring plan and they quickly built a fort at the exact same location Venice planned to build their fort. When the ships carrying materials from Venice came to the shores of Dubrovnik they were welcomed by the sight of the newly constructed fort and were forced to turn back and return. This added fuel to the fire and made it clear that Dubrovnik was a formidable foe who shouldn’t be taken lightly. Given the fact that Dubrovnik played a role of a thorn in Venice’s side it is quite ironic that the idea by the Venetian leaders was used to strengthen their rival.
Over the years Fort Lovrijenac was more heavily fortified in order to prevent would-be invaders – most notably Venice and Ottomans – from conquering the city. The walls of the fort are extremely thick – 4 to 12 meters – facing three sides of the world – north, west, southwest -, the sides from which the invading force can come, while the eastern wall is rather narrow, being only 60 centimeters thick. The reason for this was to prevent the commander of the fort to create a mutiny and in turn take command of the city, as the cannons stationed in the city could easily penetrate the walls.
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