Stradun or Placa is the main street in the old town center of Dubrovnik and it is the most famous one as well. Its name originates from the Venetian term that served as a mocking name for the main street, and the name Placa originates from the latin term ”plateau” which means street. Stradun is located on once swamp terrain that divided Ragusa and Dubrava in the past. In the 9th century, the citizens of the two settlements filled the swamp in order to connect the two and unite them into one.
Stradun stretches from West to East, and it is located between the two main city gates, the Pile Gates and Ploče Gates. The two gates make for an impressive entrance into the street as you walk over a bridge that is raised above a moat that served to protect the city during the war years. The two ends of the street also have two monumental fountains, the Big and Little Onofrio’s Fountains that are a large part of the city itself, and two bell towers. One of the bell towers is City bell tower and the other is the bell tower of the Franciscan Church and Monastery. A lot of the street and the buildings were destroyed during the catastrophic earthquake of 1667. The old images of Stradun show buildings that didn’t have the same look as the houses that are located on Stradun today. Most of them had rich arcades and many fine details on their facades.
After the earthquake, the city fathers made proclamations and guidelines that strictly regulated the way buildings were being built in the city of Dubrovnik. The ground level was dedicated to stores, the first floor of the residential buildings was dedicated to housing and living quarters, while the attic was designated for kitchens. The reason for kitchens being located in the attic was the big fire that destroyed a lot of buildings after the earthquake, and the placement of kitchens was designated to help combat potential fires.
In addition to aforementioned attractions, Stradun has much more to offer. If you take a walk through it, you are guaranteed to see most of the city’s landmarks, including the Monastery of the Sisters of Poor Clares, that serves as a summer cinema today – along with various other purposes. Then there’s Sponza Palace, a gothic-renaissance palace built in the 16th century that served as a treasury, bank, and mint during the days of the Republic of Dubrovnik. The Orlando pillar is the oldest preserved public sculpture in all of Dubrovnik, which is dedicated to the hero Roland that helped the city during the battle against the Saracens in the 8th century. The pillar is one of the most notable landmarks of Dubrovnik. The final and most notable landmark at Stradun is the Chruch of Saint Blaise, the protector of Dubrovnik. The baroque church was built in 1715 and since then it remains the focal point of Stradun.
The unique Stradun appearance attracted Star Wars producers and some of the scenes have been filmed there.
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