Stradun - Dubrovnik main street
Every town in the world has a main street, but there is just one Stradun, a hearth of Dubrovnik.
When I call Stradun a hearth of Dubrovnik that is not just a poetic form, it is much more than that. The construction of Stradun approximately 1000 years ago also represents the birth of the Dubrovnik. Before its construction in a place of Dubrovnik main street was just a shallow sea channel between two settlements, Dubrava and Laus. By filling up a channel with stones, dirt and sand two settlements merged into one - and a hearth of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) started beating.
GOOD TO KNOW: The official name of Stradun is Placa, but you will never hear locals call it like that!
Stradun in History
In the middle of 13th-century citizens of Ragusa started paving Stradun with blocks of limestone. It is the same limestone that millions of tourists are walking on seven centuries later during their Dubrovnik holidays. Stradun is almost 300 meters (980 Ft) long and you can reach it from Pile, Ploce and Buza gates on foot, and also from the Old Town harbor by sea. Most of the visitors will use a western entrance, Pile Gates to enter the Dubrovnik Old Town and after passing a city bridge and two arches you will come to the beginning of the Dubrovnik main street Stradun.
INTERESTING ABOUT STRADUN: During your holiday in Dubrovnik try to find a central spot of Stradun! It is marked by a special limestone block.
The look of Dubrovnik main street was changing during history together with an architectural appearance of the Old Town. The biggest change happened after a tragic earthquake in 1667. that destroyed a huge part of the Dubrovnik. After that event, Stradun Dubrovnik Croatia was reconstructed in a much cleaner architectural form that we can witness today. 14 streets from the north and the same number from the south is connected to Stradun so you can easily reach any part of the Dubrovnik Old Town from it.
Siege of Dubrovnik
Stradun, together with a whole city of Dubrovnik suffered a great deal of damage during a Croatian war for Independence. During the siege of Dubrovnik (1991 - 1992) over 600 shells fell on the Old Town, destroying buildings and damaging many monuments. Stradun was directly hit by 45 grenades during those hard days for all citizens of Dubrovnik.
The most incredible story of those times in Dubrovnik is told by photographs of Pavo Urban. This young Croatian artist joined a defense of Dubrovnik and died on December 6, 1991. while filming shells hitting and destroying Old Town and Stradun. The last shot that he took with his camera was the explosion of the shell hitting Stradun and killing him. This powerful photo is named "Stone dust over the City". He was just 23 years old. Pavo Urban`s War Diary in a form of love/war letters sent to his girlfriend and his photographs of Dubrovnik in war represents the most emotional and truthful remembrance of those dark times. Hope one day we will have a museum of Pavo Urban in Dubrovnik.
"Stone Dust over the City"
The Last Photo of Pavo Urban
Love on Stradun
During my childhood, Stradun was a place of meeting for younger generations. We would usually sit on Stradun in front of the shop windows and watch others walking up and down Stradun. Many love stories started on Stradun Street. It would usually happen that one of the boys got the courage to ask a girl he liked to take a walk on Stradun with him. If she said yes, two of them would start their relationship by walking up and down Dubrovnik main street and holding each other hands. The times have changed and this Dubrovnik tradition is lost mostly because today boys lost their courage to ask a girl for a walk and girls rather ride in a fancy car then walk.
Stradun bars and nightlife
Stradun has a reputation of being expensive, but when compared to other main streets of famous European tourist destinations this is not true. Coffee or ice cream on Stradun will cost much less than on Piazza San Marco in Venice or Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris. There are also not too many cafe bars and restaurants on Dubrovnik man street, just 4 of them, so during the high season you may consider your self lucky to find a free table and drink your favorite drink on Stradun. The most popular Stradun bar is Cele. You will pay a 3€ for espresso in Cele, or you can choose a takeaway espresso for almost one Euro less, sit under Orlando Column or stairs of Saint Blasius church and enjoy in your time on Stradun.
As you may imagine Stradun is often used as a perfect stage for all kind of concerts, from classical music to raves. You will also find music bands playing in front of bars during night hours. It is a perfect place to spend the evening with your favorite cocktail while listening to live music from piano, guitar or sax playing on the most beautiful street in the world.
Spending your Christmas holidays in Dubrovnik is something special and a New Year Eves celebrations on Stradun are commonly placed on the "Best of" list of the world's destinations.
For all tourist that want to save some money on their drinks, we advise choosing one of the bars that are not placed on Stradun. You can find many great bars and pubs in Dubrovnik Old Towns smaller streets.
Other than bars and restaurants on Stradun you will find a few great ice cream stores, many souvenir shops, one charming little bookstore with English titles, lot of ATMs and some exchanges so you can exchange your currency in Croatian Kuna (even most of the places accept credit cards), one bakery and many more stores and shops.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you want to avoid stairs use Pile or Ploce entrance to reach Stradun.
Stradun Dubrovnik Croatia Attractions
There are several major Dubrovnik attractions on Stradun. At one side there is a big Onofrio's fountain and on the other, there is a small Onofrio's fountain. These two monuments are part of the more than 550 years old Dubrovnik aqueduct. The water from them is drinkable and often used by tourist for refreshment during hot Dubrovnik days.
The main entrance to the Walls of Dubrovnik is placed at the beginning of Stradun when you enter from a Pile gate. You can buy a ticket for Walls on Dubrovnik and start your two kilometers tour around the Old Town from here.
The Church of St Blaise (Sveti Vlaho), the patron Saint of Dubrovnik is also positioned on Stradun with Orlando Colum in front of the magnificent baroque church entrance. Once per year, at the beginning of February, the procession of St Blaise is held on Stradun. On this day Saint ' s, relics from the St Blaise Church are presented to the public together with traditional folklore uniforms and banners. This procession and the festival of St Blaise is even older that Stradun itself. The first one was held in 972. to celebrate a saving of Dubrovnik by its Saint patron St Blaise.
On Dubrovnik main street you will also find Sponza. 500 years old Palace built in a gothic-renaissance style that was used as the treasury, mint, and armory during the Dubrovnik Republic. In our times the rich archive of Dubrovnik history is placed in Sponza Palace.