Spirit of Liberty, made of stone
An unlikely story of freedom, business, and invention.
Welcome to the ancient city of Dubrovnik, a jewel nestled on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, a place where West meets the East- a crossroads of civilizations. With its indomitable spirit of liberty and independence, Dubrovnik stands out as a testament to the enduring human desire for freedom.
Our tale begins in the 7th century when Dubrovnik, known as Ragusa at the time, emerged on the world stage as a small fortified town that gained reputation as a maritime and trading power. Situated strategically between the East and the West, this tiny city flourished and grew wealthy and influential from trade of salt, silver, silk and spices.
This town, and the small territory it controlled would gradually become, in many ways seduced with the idea of personal freedom and by extension freedom and independence of the town which made it possible.
In the year 1277, Dubrovnik created a significant milestone in worlds history when it enacted the Statutes of Republic of Ragusa, a groundbreaking legal code which were a testament to the city's commitment to the principles of liberty, justice, and equality. They safeguarded the rights and freedoms of every citizen, regardless of their social status or background, and at the same time abolished all forms of slavery, making it the first state in history to do so.
This courageous act demonstrated the city's unwavering belief in the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and thus created a burning beacon of hope and inspiration for those who sought to challenge the oppressive chains of bondage. As an Aristocratic Democracy the city never had a single ruler – king, prince or dictator, rather it was ruled by compromise, agreement and cooperation.
Throughout the centuries, Dubrovnik's commitment to liberty remained steadfast and, over time became a tradition in the tiny City State Republic. The city's famed walls, stretching over 1.9 kilometers, were not only a formidable defense structure but also a symbol of the city's independence and freedom. These walls stood strong against countless invaders, protecting the freedom of the citizens within.
It is this spirit of liberty, deeply ingrained in the hearts of the people of Dubrovnik, that has allowed the city to endure and thrive throughout history. Today, as you wander through the ancient streets and gaze upon the terracotta rooftops, you can still feel the echoes of that fierce determination and unwavering belief in the power of freedom.
Once a year, during the famous Dubrovnik Summer Festival the city flies it's old Republic flag – a white background symbolizing peace, and inside a red rectangular a single word can be seen inscribed upon it – LIBERTAS. In this simple act, Dubrovnik commemorates its enduring legacy of liberty and reminds the world of the importance of cherishing and safeguarding the freedom that defines us all.