The Story Behind Dubrovnik’s Rooftops

Total Croatia News


One thing that immediately catches the eye when you visit the City walls are the distinctive red roof tiles of the Old Town. As you have a tour of this impressive series of defensive stone walls that consists of forts, bastions, casemates, towers and detached forts, you keep being impressed by the terra cotta color of the rooftops of this medieval city that was almost completely destroyed in the Great Earthquake in 1667. Known as “Velika trešnja”, this devastating earthquake left more than 5000 people killed, among them the city’s rector Simone Ghetaldi and half of the members of the Great Council. Revelin fortress, Sponza palace, and Lazareti were few buildings that remained intact, as well as City walls.

The city and its rooftops were damaged again in 1990s during a siege of Dubrovnik executed by the Yugoslav People’s Army during the Croatian War of Independence that provoked strong international condemnation. After the armed conflict, city of Dubrovnik has been the focus of a major restoration programme coordinated by UNESCO that recognized its remarkably well-preserved cultural heritage and added it to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Series in 1979.
It is said that more than 70% of terra cotta roof tiles were destroyed during this war and during the restoration process finding a similar color of the famed red rooftops was a difficult task. However, there is a place in the world where the similar ones are being made – Toulouse, France. The reconstruction process backed by UNESCO started in 1993 with a reconstruction of the rooftops of the bombarded and burned city. It was impossible for one factory to produce this amount of tiles so the companies in Toulouse joined their forces to provide the rooftop tiles, a project that has cost more than $ 9 million. The reconstruction program to restore the famous Pearl of Adriatic took several years where more than 200 000 tiles were made and shipped from Toulouse to Dubrovnik.










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