A number of our Croatia tours visit Dubrovnik which was founded in the first half of the 7th century by a group of refugees from Epidaurum, today's Cavtat. They established their settlement at the island and named it Laus. Opposite that location, at the foot of Srd Mountain, Slavs developed their own settlement under the name of Dubrovnik (named by "Dub" - a type of wood). The settlements were separated by a channel that was filled in during the 12th century, and since then the two settlements have been united.
At that time the city walls started to be built as a protection from different enemies - Arabs, Venetians, Macedonians, Serbs, etc. - who wanted to conquer Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik thrived in medieval times as Ragusa, a rival to imperial Venice. Citizenship was bestowed upon the skilled and the entrepreneurial. Much was destroyed in the earthquake of 1667, and later the city was overrun by the Habsburgs and Napoleon. However, Dubrovnik retained a strong sense of identity and artistic prowess.