Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, today listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade; as the capital of the maritime Republic of Ragusa, it achieved a high level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries, as it became notable for its wealth and skilled diplomacy.
The 'Pearl of the Adriatic' became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains.
A feature of Dubrovnik is its walls that run almost 2 kilometres around the city. The walls are 4 to 6 metres thick on the landward side but are much thinner on the seaward side. The system of turrets and towers were intended to protect the vulnerable city. The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popular filming location for the fictional city of King's Landing in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones.
Few of Dubrovnik's Renaissance buildings survived the earthquake of 1667 but fortunately enough remained to give an idea of the city's architectural heritage. The finest Renaissance highlight is the Sponza Palace which dates from the 16th century and is currently used to house the National Archives.
Dubrovnik's most beloved church is St Blaise's church, built in the 18th century in honour of Dubrovnik's patron saint. Dubrovnik's Baroque Cathedral was built in the 18th century and houses an impressive Treasury with relics of Saint Blaise. The city's Dominican Monastery resembles a fortress on the outside but the interior contains an art museum and a Gothic-Romanesque church.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.