The Walls of Ston are a series of defensive stone walls, originally more than 7 kilometres long, that surrounded and protected the city of Ston. Their construction was begun in 1358. Today, it is one of the longest preserved fotification systems in the world.
Despite being well protected by massive city walls, the Republic of Ragusa used Pelješac to build another line of defence. At its narrowest point, just before it joins the mainland, a wall was built from Ston to Mali Ston. Throughout the era of the Republic, the walls were maintained and renovated once they meant to protect the precious salt pans that contributed to Dubrovnik's wealth, which are still being worked today.
Demolition work began on the walls following the fall of the Republic. Later the Austrian authorities took materials away from the wall to build schools and community buildings, and also for a triumphal arch on the occasion of the visit by the Austrian Emperor in 1884. The wall around Mali Ston was demolished with the excuse that it was damaging the health of the people. The demolition was halted after World War II.
The wall, today 5.5 kilometres long, links Ston to Mali Ston, and is in the shape of an irregular pentangle. It was completed in the 15th century, along with its 40 towers (20 of which have survived) and 5 fortresses. Within, three streets were laid from north to south and three others from east to west. Thus, fifteen equal blocks were formed with 10 houses in each. Residential buildings around the edges. The Gothic Republic Chancellery and the Bishop's Palace are outstanding among the public buildings.
The main streets are 6 m wide (except the southern street which is 8 m wide) and the side streets are two m wide. The town was entered by two city gates: the Field Gate (Poljska vrata) has a Latin inscription and dates from 1506. The centres of the system are the fortress Veliki kaštio in Ston, Koruna in Mali Ston and the fortress on Podzvizd hill. Noted artist who work on the walls project are Michelozzo, Bernardino Gatti of Parma and Giorgio da Sebenico (Juraj Dalmatinac).
The city plan of Dubrovnik was used as a model for Ston, but since Ston was built on prepared terrain, that model was more closely followed than Dubrovnik itself.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.