Culture & Art 08.09.2015

Sail Back Into Dubrovnik’s Maritime History

You have walked the walls of Dubrovnik, mingled in its narrow streets with tourists from all over the world, seen many museums, been to your favourite beach, enjoyed live performances, visited bars, restaurants and nightclubs….but have you sailed back into this old Croatian city’s history and consumed exotic Dalmatian seafood on board an ancient ship?

For many centuries Dubrovnik was an independent republic, a major Mediterranean maritime and trading power. In the 16th century its merchant navy had more than 180 large ships. The first quarantine in the world was established in 1377 in Dubrovnik’s harbour. The maritime insurance, known as “Ordo super assecuratoribus”, introduced in 1568 in Dubrovnik was the oldest law of its kind in the world.

In his works “The Taming of the Shrew”, Merchant of Venice and King Henry VI William Shakespeare wrote about “argosy”, a type of ship from Dubrovnik or Ragusa as it was then called. It is the same ship the people of Dubrovnik called Karaka. The ship was used to transport valuable cargos to and from all major ports in the Mediterranean. Most of the Dubrovnik karakas had close to 140 crew members and up to 40 canons for protection against pirate attacks.


Today you too can sail back into the 16th century by getting aboard a karaka.

Their interiors were well equipped and decorated. The ceilings were covered with original paintings of renowned masters. Some of the karakas had fully equipped blacksmith and carpenter workshops, fresh water tanks and vegetable gardens as well as separate dwellings for chickens, pigs and rabbits. Towards the end of 16th century newly built karakas were able to carry up to 1000 soldiers and 900 tons of cargo. Master shipbuilders in Dubrovnik’s own shipyards used the best wood and other materials from the hinterland to build their karakas. Captains, officers and other seamen on the ships of the republic were among the best in the Mediterranean and beyond. They sailed in their karakas to England, the United States and Western Australia. 

The modern day karaka was conveniently named Karaka. She invites you aboard for a unique journey through Dubrovnik’s seagoing history. The Karaka is a magnificent replica of the old ship that once proudly sailed across the Mediterranean. Boarding her and sailing with her crew is a unique and original experience especially for those who appreciate old seagoing traditions.

The mighty city of Dubrovnik that proudly rises from the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea is worth seeing from the main deck of the Karaka. The shots you take from the ship and on the ship you will surely keep forever. However, the old looking vessel with its numerous pulleys, stays and many other nautical gadgets also offers a “five star” catering service with traditional Croatian dishes of the Dubrovnik region. The Captain and his crew take pride in having people like you aboard the Karaka.

You may have never before been to Dubrovnik.

You could be a corporate executive who is organizing incentive trips, international meetings and conferences. You may be a retired person who always wanted to take part in a historical seagoing adventure.

You could be a person who has decided to get married and wants a totally different wedding ceremony and reception.

Or, you may be just an individual who wants a unique experience in a unique environment at sea.

Whoever you are, when in Dubrovnik, the Karaka is your perfect choice.

To find out more about cruises with Karaka visit


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