CATASTROPHE Hardest Hit On Dubrovnik Independence

Author(s): Olja Ljubišić Photographer(s): Lucija Komaić
On this day, 6 April 1667, the dust rose over the city and darkened the sky around 8 o’clock in the morning causing the greatest natural catastrophe in Dubrovnik’s history. The Great Earthquake, as it was called, destroyed Dubrovnik completely and took 3 thousand people’s lives. 

On Ash Wednesday 1667, the roar brought tremendous kick that rocked the city. Eerie crash caused huge stones rolled down the hill Srd and destroys everything in its way. The sea retreated several times and came back to pound on the ships in the port.

The dust above the destroyed city was so thick that covered the sky.  The earth cracked, wells have dried up. Strong wind caught hearth’s and bakeries’ fire causing flames that couldn’t be stopped for twenty days.

Because of the earthquake and the fire invaluable material and cultural treasure developed and created during centuries was gone. What was left it was stolen. As odd as it may sound, it was stolen by the gentry. 

In Ston, half of the houses were destroyed. In Kotor, 200 people died. In Venice, the sea was swaying in the canals. Towns and villages over 300 miles away felt the earthquake – Naples, Izmir and Istanbul.

The earthquake occurred at politically most critical time, during the war between Venice and Turkey. The catastrophe gave both sides the opportunity to take over Dubrovnik and its port. Due to skilful and persistent Dubrovnik’s diplomatic actions, that didn’t happen.  

Source: Gradoplov Radio Dubrovnika

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