Rising 415 meters above the sea level and above the city of Dubrovnik is the hill named Srđ (eng. Serge). The hill got its name from the previous patron Saint of Dubrovnik called Saint Srđ (eng. Serge). Srđ is located north from Dubrovnik and because of that it provides shelter to Dubrovnik against the strong northern wind called Bora, but in addition to that, it helped protect the city against the invading forces by providing a natural barrier between them and the city. Srđ descends all the way down to the city and the sea on its southern slopes, Rijeka Dubrovačka in the northwest, Šumet in the north and Župa Dubrovačka in the east.
The peak of the Srđ (eng. Serge) is the home of the Imperial fort, a fort that dates back to the early 19th century when Dubrovnik came under French occupation thanks to trickery. The French built the fort in order to protect Dubrovnik and themselves from the Russian forces that were moving towards the city. After Napoleon was defeated, Dubrovnik along with the rest of Croatia came under Austrian rule. During that period the fort was reinforced and expanded. However, the most notable ”achievement” of the fort dates back to the recent past and the Croatian War of Independence. During that time, the fort was used by the defendants in order to fight off the Serbian and Montenegrin forces that tried to capture it and Dubrovnik. Thanks to the fort and valiant efforts by the men inside it the aggressor was fought off and never captured the Imperial fort or Dubrovnik despite taking heavy damage from artillery shelling.
The most damage was done to the cable car system that connected the top of the hill with Ploče, an eastern part of the city. The cable car was destroyed completely, but due to efforts of the citizens and city authorities it was rebuilt and it returned to action by 2010.
Today, Srđ (eng. Serge) serves multiple purposes:
- Tourist – as it offers a unique view over Dubrovnik and neighboring islands and there are plans to construct a golf course on the
- Historical – the Imperial fort has been transformed into the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence.
- Economic – the eastern slope of the hill is the biggest quarry in the
- Recreational – citizens of Dubrovnik use it as a hiking site.
As noted above, Srđ is well worth a visit if for nothing else then for the amazing views of Dubrovnik and neighboring islands, but it offers that much more. So be sure to visit it when visiting Dubrovnik, you surely won’t regret it.