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Fort Bokar | Dubrovnik | How to make Your visit unforgettable

Have you ever thought about visiting Fort Bokar, right inside the famous Dubrovnik City Walls? These walls are among the most famous Dubrovnik attractions. They wrap around the Old Town like a protective embrace, showing off precious Dubrovnik landmarks. Among these, you’ll find Bokar Fortress. With its rich history and key location, this fort played a big role in keeping the city safe through the years.

In this article we’ll tell you all about its interesting past. What you can see and do there, how to get there and how to make the most of your visit. So, whether you love history or just want to see amazing views, get ready to discover the magic of the Bokar Fortress!

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View on Fort Bokar from Lovrjenac Fortress

Exploring Fort Bokar

The Dubrovnik walls are a stunning yet simple fort complex. They bring together various defense features into one cohesive unit. The city’s view is framed by four main forts at its “corners”: Minčeta, Bokar, Revelin, and St. John. There’s also a fifth fort, Lovrjenac, that rises from the sea to the west, just outside the city.

The History of Fort Bokar

The famous Bokar Fort, also known as Zvjezdan, stands guard over the city’s southwestern corner. Designed by the Florentine architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi in 1461. But it was not finished until 1570 with the fort being roofed. It is one of the oldest casemented forts in Europe. Remarkably, part of the fort perches on a sea cliff, its base touching the sea, thanks to a network of vaulted arches. As it did when the fort was first built, the sea still passes beneath it. On calm days, a small boat can easily reach and even enter it.

Back in the 15th century, builders erected Fort Bokar to beef up Dubrovnik’s already strong defense. The name “Bokar” comes from “boka,” meaning “cove” in Croatian. The fort was a key piece in a chain of defenses of the Pile Gate, bridge, and the ditch, guarding the city against attacks from both sea and land.

Throughout its history, Fort Bokar has been a pivotal defensive spot. It played a significant role in numerous conflicts, including the Siege of Dubrovnik during the Napoleonic Wars and the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s. Positioned to protect the city’s harbor, it boasted large cannons to deter enemy ships from nearing or entering. Its solid walls and bastions formed an impenetrable defense line, marking it as an essential part of Dubrovnik’s defense strategy.

The Siege of Dubrovnik

In the early 19th century, during the Napoleonic Wars, Dubrovnik faced tough times, including being occupied by French and Montenegrin forces. Fort Bokar stood out as a key player in fighting off these invasions. Thanks to its robust walls and cutting-edge cannons, the fort could hold off major enemy attacks. The courage and resolve of those defending Fort Bokar played a crucial role in eventually freeing Dubrovnik from foreign control.

After World War II, Fort Bokar’s importance as a defense point dwindled, leading to its abandonment. Yet, in the early 1990s, during the Croatian War of Independence, the fort gained significance once more as a bastion of Dubrovnik’s defense. It served as a shelter for soldiers and a storage spot for weapons, forming a critical defense line against opposing forces.

After the war concluded in 1995, Fort Bokar saw a major facelift, returning it to its former splendor. The Dubrovnik City Museum took the lead on these restoration projects. While aiming to keep the fort’s history and cultural value alive. Now, Fort Bokar shines as a symbol of the city’s spirit and commitment to safeguarding its residents and rich heritage.

Map of Dubrovnik City Walls
Map of Dubrovnik City Walls (Bokar Fortress No 4 on the Map)

Visiting Fort Bokar

Fort Bokar is open to the public and serves as a popular attraction for tourists visiting Dubrovnik but you will need a ticket to access it.

While the regular Dubrovnik City Walls walk lets you admire Bokar Fortress from near or above, entering the fort itself requires access through the Foundry Museum and the Gornji Ugao Tower (Upper Corner), located at the town’s northwest corner. Inside the Bokar Fortress, you’re greeted with displays of several cannons and a quaint collection of precious stones (lapidary).

It’s important to note that the general Dubrovnik City Walls ticket doesn’t cover entry to this spot, so head to the Foundry Museum for access.

Our visit to the Bokar fortress, bundled with the Foundry Museum ticket, was fantastic. It quickly became our favorite for its beauty both inside and out. The ticket grants you the opportunity to explore the interior and climb to the top. The vistas from above are truly unforgettable. Tickets are available at the Foundry Museum entrance, accepting both cash and credit cards, at a reasonable price of €6.50 per person – a steal for the experience.

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’s a real time-saver and makes exploring the city a breeze.

Must-see Dubrovnik attractions

Tips for Visiting Bokar Fortress

  • As for other Dubrovnik attractions, avoid purchasing tickets from third-party vendors to skip the extra fees.
  • Comfy Shoes Are Key: You’ll be walking a lot and tackling lots of steps—some slippery. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and have a good grip.
  • Sun Protection: The sun can be tough, so wear a hat, slap on some high-SPF sunscreen, and don’t forget your sunglasses.
  • Stay Hydrated: It gets hot up there, especially around midday. Bring enough water to keep hydrated. Forgot to pack some? You can buy it at the cafes, but it’ll cost more.
  • Timing Matters: Beat the crowds and the heat by starting early in the morning or going later in the afternoon. That’s when you’ll get the best light for photos and more space for yourself.
  • Fort Bokar location on Google Maps!

How to get to Dubrovnik Old Town?

To get to the Dubrovnik Old Town you have a couple of straightforward options. Firstly, if you’re arriving by air and landing at Dubrovnik Airport, you can catch a bus or take a taxi or Uber to reach the Old Town. The airport bus is a budget-friendly choice and drops you off near Pile Gate, making it super easy for you to start exploring right away. However, if you’re looking for a quicker and more direct route, a taxi will take you straight to Pile Gate but at a higher cost.

For those staying in Dubrovnik or nearby, local buses run frequently and serve as an efficient way to reach Old Town. Just hop on a bus that heads to the Old Town, and you’re set.

And lastly, if you’re up for a scenic walk, navigating your way to Old Town on foot can be a delightful experience, especially if you’re staying within it.

Discover More of Dubrovnik

For further exploration of Dubrovnik, check out Dubrovnik comprehensive travel guide, filled with itineraries, activities, and all you need to plan your visit to this historic city.

Enjoy Your Visit!

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Greetings, fellow wanderers! I am the AdriaticExplorer, born and raised amidst the stunning landscapes and rich cultural tapestry of Croatia. Nestled between the majestic mountains and the azure Adriatic Sea, I have spent a lifetime immersing myself in the beauty and wonders that Croatia has to offer. Growing up in this enchanting land, I cultivated a deep connection with its diverse regions – from the historic streets of Dubrovnik to the picturesque landscapes of Istria and the sun-kissed shores of Dalmatia. My roots run deep, and my soul is intertwined with the very essence of Croatia. As the AdriaticExplorer, I have made it my mission to know every nook and cranny of this breathtaking country. From hidden gems tucked away in ancient cities to the serene beauty of the Adriatic coastline, my journeys have taken me far and wide, uncovering the secrets that make Croatia truly special. Whether it's the vibrant festivals that echo through the cobbled streets or the tranquil walks along pristine beaches, I am your guide to the heart and soul of Croatia. Join me on this virtual walkabout through the wonders of my homeland, and let's explore the beauty, history, and culture that define Croatia together. So, lace up your virtual hiking boots and embark on a journey with me, the AdriaticExplorer, as we discover the magic of WalkaboutCroatia – your gateway to the soul-stirring experiences that Croatia has to offer. Let the adventure begin! 🇭🇷✨

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