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St. John Fortress | Dubrovnik | How to Make Your Visit Unforgettable

Are you planning to travel to Dubrovnik and visit some of its most popular tourist attractions such as St. John Fortress? Dubrovnik old town shines with history, from its ancient city walls to its charming squares. But amongst the beautiful coastline lies a treasure: St. John Fortress. Today, the Fort is in fact a vibrant cultural hub housing the Aquarium, Pulitika Studio Gallery, and the Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik.

This Dubrovnik travel guide will take you on a journey through it. We’ll tell you all about its interesting past, what you can see and do there, how to get there and also how to make the most of your visit. So, whether you love history or just want to see amazing Dubrovnik historic landmarks, get ready to discover the St. John Fortress!

St. John Fortress Dubrovnik, Fosrt Saint John, Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik attractions,

St. John Fortress: A Guardian of The Old Port

St. John’s Fortress, also known as Mulo Tower, has watched over Dubrovnik’s Old Port for centuries. This impressive complex stands on the southeastern side of Dubrovnik’s Old Town Port, guarding its entrance and keeping the city safe.

The first fort on this spot appeared in the mid-14th century, but it wasn’t enough. Over the 15th and 16th centuries, the fort was in fact modified and expanded several times to become the powerful structure we see today. Keeping pirates and enemy ships at bay was then its main purpose. Dubrovnik’s people even used heavy chains stretched between the fortress and the Kase breakwater to completely block the port entrance in times of danger.

Today, the interior of St. John’s Fortress is undoubtedly a vibrant cultural hub. Step inside and discover the fascinating Maritime Museum spread over two floors. This museum tells the story of Dubrovnik’s rich maritime history through a vast collection of artifacts.

Atelier Pulitika Studio also occupies a space within the fortress. Once the workplace of renowned artist Đuro Pulitika, it has been transformed into a gallery showcasing his work after his death in 2006.

Meanwhile, on the ground floor, the Aquarium awaits. This exciting exhibit allows you to see a variety of fascinating sea creatures from the Adriatic and beyond.

St. John’s Fortress offers a unique blend of history and present-day culture, so make it part of your exploration of Dubrovnik!

Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik – St. John’s Fortress

The Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik undoubtedly unlocks a fascinating journey through the city’s rich maritime past. Let’s explore some of the museum’s diverse collections and discover the stories they hold.

Shipyard Tools: Step back in time and explore a collection of over 450 tools used in shipbuilding. Augers, chisels, planes, and hammers – these everyday items were in fact essential for crafting the ships that carried Dubrovnik’s trade and reputation across the seas.

Ship’s Equipment: Imagine a bustling port filled with ships. The museum showcases over 200 objects used on these vessels during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Objects such as ship’s bells and lifebelts to cannons and lanterns, these items tell the story of life at sea.

Ship’s Instruments: Navigation was an art form in the days of sail. The museum displays over 160 nautical instruments used by sailors to chart their course. Dividers, sextants, compasses, and more – these tools helped captains navigate vast distances with precision.

Ship’s Objects: Beyond their practical uses, ships were also decorated and furnished to create a sense of home. Over 200 objects on display, such as figureheads, chests, and even a compact ship’s chapel, offer a glimpse into this unique world.

Documents: Dive deep into the history of Dubrovnik’s maritime trade with this collection of over 670 documents. These handwritten records and printed materials, dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, offer insights into shipping logs, ship administration, and of course, crew lists.

Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik - St. John Fortress
Weapons within Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik – St. John Fortress

The 1970s brought an amazing discovery by Šipan Island. Archaeologists found the remains of a Dubrovnik ship, the “Sv. Jerolim,” dating back to the 16th century. Exploring the wreck revealed a treasure trove of objects used by sailors, including ship equipment, instruments, and even everyday items like pottery. These finds are the oldest of their kind on the Croatian coast, offering a unique window into life at sea during Dubrovnik’s peak.

Models and Half-models: Ever wondered what a ship looked like before it was built? The museum showcases over 50 models and half-models of ships, offering a fascinating glimpse into different eras and styles of shipbuilding.

Coins: A smaller collection of around 50 coins sheds light on economic exchange in the maritime world. These copper, silver, and gold coins span the 15th to the 20th centuries.

Decorations and Ranks: A collection of over 80 objects, including medals, pocket watches, and chronometers, showcases the rewards and recognition earned by those who served at sea.

Underwater Finds: The museum’s collection boasts over 2,000 objects recovered from shipwrecks in Dubrovnik waters. These finds, dating from antiquity to the modern era, offer a glimpse into lost cargo, tools, and even weapons used by sailors hundreds of years ago.

Charts: Explore the world through the eyes of sailors with a collection of over 500 charts. Dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries, these maps undoubtedly depict the Dubrovnik Republic, the Adriatic Sea, and beyond. Showcasing the vast reach of Dubrovnik’s maritime trade routes.

Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik
Bronze Cannon – Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik – St. John’s Fort

Divers struck gold in 2006 off the coast of Mljet Island! At a depth of 40 meters, they discovered a well-preserved modern shipwreck. This exciting underwater site yielded a treasure trove of artifacts, including eight bronze cannons. Scattered around the wreckage were fragments of ceramic dishes, coins, glass, and various metal objects.

Paintings: Step into the artist’s studio and see how ships were captured on canvas. The museum houses over 250 paintings depicting portraits of sailors, shipbuilders, and detailed representations of different types of ships.

Photographs and Postcards: Travel through time with a collection of over 1,800 photographs and postcards. These images offer a visual record of ships, harbors, captains, and the ever-changing city of Dubrovnik itself.

Flags: Over 120 flags, some depicting Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, tell the story of maritime communication and identification.

Ship’s Medical and Hygienic Objects: Life at sea required special medical attention. The museum displays over 80 objects used on ships during the 18th and 19th centuries, including a well-preserved ship’s medical chest from the 18th century.

The Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of maritime history. Explore these collections and discover the stories of the ships, sailors, and the vibrant port city of Dubrovnik.

Good to Know Before You Go

AttractionMaritime Museum in Dubrovnik
Opening Hours (Nov 3 – Mar 21)9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Opening Hours (Mar 22 – Nov 2)9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Admission Fee (Adults)10€
Admission Fee (Schoolchildren & Students)7€
Admission Fee (Family Ticket)25€ (valid for up to 2 adults with children under 14)
Distance from Pile Gate700 meters / 2296 feet
Walking Time from Pile Gate9 minutes
Distance from Ploče Gate450 meters / 1476 feet
Walking Time from Ploče Gate6 minutes
Included in Dubrovnik PassYes
Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik – St. John Fortress Information

Attractions around St. John Fortress: Guardians of Dubrovnik’s Past

The Old Port: Gateway to the Adriatic


The Old Port, shielded by St. John’s Fortress, was the lifeline of Dubrovnik, bustling with merchants from around the globe. Today, it’s a serene spot where you can witness traditional boats bobbing gently in the water while offering a glimpse into the city’s vibrant past. In fact, it’s also the starting point for boat tours to Lokrum Island and beyond, connecting the city’s history with its natural surroundings.

Minčeta Fortress: The Crown of Dubrovnik

Perched atop the city walls, Minčeta Fortress offers indeed the highest vantage point in Dubrovnik, providing breathtaking views of the Adriatic and the Old Town. Symbolizing the city’s resistance and strength, this fortress is a must-visit for anyone exploring Dubrovnik’s defensive architecture.

Revelin Fortress: Guardian of the East

Standing guard at the eastern entrance to the Old Town, Revelin Fortress was in fact built to protect Dubrovnik from invasions and attacks from the land. Today, it’s a vibrant venue for concerts and events, blending historical fortification with contemporary entertainment.

Must-see Dubrovnik Attractions

How to Reach St. John Fortess

First Things First: Tickets

It’s important to mention that St. John Fortress serves also as one of the entrances to Dubrovnik City Walls walk.

But, before you can step onto the City Walls and make your way to St. John Fortress, you’ll need a ticket. You can, in fact, buy these tickets at several points around the city. Now, if you’re savvy and have the Dubrovnik Pass, you’re in luck! This pass gets you straight onto the walls without the need to buy a separate ticket. It also grants you free entry to the Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik and Pulitka Studio. It’s a real time-saver and makes exploring the city a breeze.

Finding Your Way: Three Main Entrances

Dubrovnik’s City Walls have, in fact, three main entrances, making it easy to start your adventure from different points of the Old Town. Here they are:

  1. Pile Gate Entrance: This is probably the most popular starting point. It’s easy to find, right by the main entrance to the Old Town. From here, you’ll wind your way up to the walls and set off towards St. John Fortress.
  2. Ploče Gate Entrance: On the eastern side of the city, the Ploče Gate offers another access point. It’s less crowded, so if you’re looking to avoid the biggest bunch of tourists, this might be your best bet.
  3. Maritime Museum Entrance: This entrance is in fact, in the St. John Fortress. by the old harbor. It’s a good choice if you’re coming from the port area or if you’ve just visited the museum and decided to hop on the walls next.
Not interested in the City Walls Walk? No problem!

You can also buy separate e-tickets to visit Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik – St. John Fortress at Dubrovnik’s Museums official website.

Love history and want to see more? The Maritime Museum is just one of Dubrovnik’s many fascinating museums. If you’re a history buff and want to explore further, consider getting a Combo Ticket. These tickets come in two options: Individual or Family, and they grant you access to a whopping 10 Dubrovnik museums! This is a great way to delve deeper into the city’s rich history.

By Foot:

Starting from Pile Gate, the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, Fort St. John is just a short, scenic walk away. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Enter Pile Gate: Once you’re in walk till the end of Stradun Street.
  2. At Luža Square turn right and walk to Dubrovnik’s Cathedral. You’ll see you can turn left behind it and follow the street towards the Sea. The walk is relatively easy and takes about 10 minutes. As you walk, take a moment to enjoy the breathtaking views, especially of the city and the sea.
  3. Arrival: After that, the street will lead you directly to the entrance of Fort St. John.

By Public Transport:

Currently, there’s no direct public transport to Fort St. John. However, you can take any bus heading to Pile Gate and follow the walking directions from there.

Tips for Your Visit:

  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds and enjoy the best light for photographs.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: The walk involves some steps and uneven surfaces.
  • Bring Water: Especially during the summer months, staying hydrated is key.
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