West of the old town, just outside Pile Gate, steps descend towards a small harbour overlooked by the Bokar Fortress on one side and by the monumental, wedge-shaped fortress of Lovrijenac on the other . Originally built in 1050, but assuming its current shape in the sixteenth century, it was the most important component of the city's south- and west-facing defences, commanding both land and sea approaches from atop a craggy cliff. In recent times Lovrijenac has become famous as the venue for performances of Shakespeare's Hamlet during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, when it becomes the perfect double for Elsinore castle.

A statue of St Lawrence brandishing a model of the fort watches over the fortress entrance, above which there's a typically proud Ragusan inscription: Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro ("All the gold in the world cannot buy freedom"). There's not much to see inside the fortress, though the triangular courtyard framed by chunky arcades is impressive enough on its own, while the upper level gives a fine view of the city and its walls.


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