Dubrovnik, in the extreme south of Croatia, is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Its total population is 42,615 (census 2011). In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The prosperity of the city of Dubrovnik was historically based on maritime trade. As the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, a maritime republic, the city achieved a high level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries. Dubrovnik became notable for its wealth and skilled diplomacy.
During its tumultuous history, many nations and maritime forces met and battled in this areas: the Byzantines, Saracens, Croats, Normans, Venetians, small princedoms and kingdoms and the Austro-Hungarian state, as well as the Roman-Germanic Empire, Osman, Hapsburg and Napoleonic empires. In the midst of these dividing lines, a small city such as Dubrovnik succeeded in using political skill to win a complete form of self-administration, such that it acted as an independent state, the Dubrovnik Republic, for centuries.