More than just a nightclub. What do you really know about Dubrovnik’s famous Revelin Fortress?
When at some later evening hour the modern day visitors enter the City Walls from the East, 9 out of 10 are heading for the Culture Club Revelin, the world famous night club (from which one usually exits some time at dawn). Naturally, few, if any, would stop at its foot or walk through its doors and kind-of think what this huge, stone construction was all about.
By the mid 15th century, the City Walls were smaller in range and of quite a different visual aesthetic compared to what we see today. The shape of the walls changed over the time – always in harmony with the development of new arms. For instance, the first fortifications were of a square shape, but as the arms became stronger and more efficient, a lot of money was invested into the reshaping of the old forts into oval ones – to diminish the impact and to repel any ricocheting of the exploded ammunition.
The same century was also the ‘’golden age’’ for the boosting of the Ottoman Empire. Using the proverbial diplomatic and negotiating skills for which it was famed, the government of Dubrovnik, hardly findable on the map as opposed to the huge and ever growing Ottoman empire, managed to broker out an independent, however vassal status. The contracts were renewed whenever the Sultan felt he should raise the tributes Dubrovnik had to pay in order to remain free. Despite the peace fixed on a very colourful and over-ornamented piece of paper, Dubrovnik did not feel safe. Both the eastern and western approaches to the walls were not fortified properly, the existing bastions and sheets of walls not offering enough confidence.
So on this day, May 7, 1463, the government decided a ‘’revelin’’ should be erected at both entrances to the Wall. ‘’Revelin’’ is, in fact, not a proper name, as one may think – it is a generic name for a type of fortification with a moat around it, with the purpose of protecting the entrance to a (usually walled) settlement. Unlike every other part of the City Walls which is dedicated to (usually) a saint, the Revelin in fact has remained unnamed up until this very day.
Remember this, and before you step into its vast interiors. The old giant is celebrating its 554th birthday! You better join the party.