Fort Lovrijenac

Built upon a 37-meter-high sheer rock overlooking the sea, fortress Lovrijenac is one of the most impressive locations in Dubrovnik. This detached fortress was of major importance for the defense of the western part of Dubrovnik, against attacks from both land and sea. During its service, fortress was manned by the garrison of 25 and the Commander of the fortress.
Chronologists date the fortress to 1018 or 1038. However, the first records of its existence date back in 1301, when the council voted on the Commander of the fortress.
According to the legend, in the 11th century, Venice planned to entrench its troops on this rock in front of Dubrovnik and build a fortress in order to conquer the city. However, Dubrovnik learned of this plan and the citizens were mobilized to build a fortress at the very spot before the arrival of the Venetians. They succeeded in doing so, and when the Venetians came with their ships carrying troops and supplies, much to their surprise, they realized their plan has failed.
The fortress was restructured several times since its original construction, and the major alterations were made during the 15th and 16th century, when the municipal builder I. K. Zanchi of Pesaro restored its parapets. Having suffered damage in the earthquake of 1667, Lovrijenac was again restored in the 17th century.
Lovrijenac has a triangular shape, mimicking the shape of the rock it sits on. Lovrijenac faces the western suburbs with its narrowest, highest part, and its longest wall faces the Bokar Tower and the western wall, protecting the small and oldest city port– Kolorina. It has a quadrilateral court with mighty arches. As the height is uneven, it has 3 terraces with powerful parapets, the largest one facing south towards the sea.
Lovrijenac was defended with 10 large cannons, the largest being “Gušter” (the Lizard), marvelously carved and decorated. It has never fired a single shot. It was designed and cast in 1537 by the famous cannon and bell founder in bronze, Ivan Rabljanin. The Lizard is now lost at the bottom of the sea below Lovrijenac. When the fortress was being disarmed by the Austrian troops in the 19th century, a rope holding it had loosened during hoisting and transport, and the Lizard fell into the sea. It has never been recovered.
Being the main fortress, besieging Lovrijenac would threaten the defense of the entire city, careful thought has been given to its design. The thickness of the walls facing the outside reach 12 metres (39 ft), whereas the section of the walls facing the inside, the actual city, are only 60 centimetres (24 in) thick. Two drawbridges lead to the fort and above the gate there is an inscription Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro (Freedom is not to be sold for all the treasures in the world) The Republic was cautious not only of the foreign enemy, but also the possible rebellion of the Commander in charge of the fort garrison. In case of any trouble, the thin wall could never hold against the firepower of the mighty Bokar Fortress facing Lovrijenac. In addition, the Commander of the fortress had always been elected from the rank of the nobility and replaced each month.
Lovrijenac’s use as a stage was a recent addition to the history of the fortress, and the performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet has become the symbol of Dubrovnik Summer Festival. A production of Midsummer Nights’ Dream was performed here as part of Midsummer Scene in the summer of 2017.