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Orebić – Town of Capitains and Seamen

Orebić was established in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century on the Pelješac Peninsula, then part of the Republic of Dubrovnik. From its very beginnings, it was oriented to the sea as a source of wealth. In 1586, seafarers of the Orebić family renovated the castle in within the fortified town, after which it was named after them. Until the sixteenth century, the town had been called Trstenica. From the fourteenth to the nineteenth century, it was a duke’s seat. During that time, Orebić was under the administration of the Dubrovnik Republic. From ancient times, it developed as a maritime centre.

As of the seventeenth century, ships from Pelješac formed an important part of Dubrovnik’s merchant navy. Shipbuilding families became ever more powerful and started investing in joint sailing vessels. Their rise continued under Austrian rule, in particular in the second half of the nineteenth century, when in 1865, a shareholding company was established in Orebić for the “construction (and exploitation) of seagoing ships,” later the Maritime Association of Pelješac, and in 1875, the equipment for the public shipyard in Orebić was procured. The shipyard was festively opened by Emperor Franz Joseph. It mostly served for the repair of ships, and while it operated (for 13 years), three long-distance sailing ships were also built there. Today, Orebić is an important tourist centre offering varied accommodation, recreation, and gastronomy. In the summer, it hosts theatre productions and organizes different cultural and entertainment events. The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patron saint of seamen from Pelješac, is on July 16.

The municipality of Orebić is also known for its long pebble beaches, exceptional wines, such as Dingač and Postup, and outdoor sports. Guests find windsurfing and kitesurfing in Viganj and Kučište, as well as cycling, hiking, and rock climbing, particularly interesting. Visitors are also attracted by the ascent of Mount St. Elijas (961 m above sea level), where they can enjoy pristine nature when passing through different terrains.

Napoleon on Pelješac

After the demise of the Venetian Republic, the coastal strip of Dalmatia came under the jurisdiction of the Habsburg Monarchy. With the Peace of Pressburg in 1805, all of Dalmatia and Boka Kotorska were won by the French, and only the territory of the Dubrovnik Republic interrupted the land connection between them. With the appearance of Napoleon and the weakening of the Ottoman Empire, the Dubrovnik Republic was no longer safe, so that, under threat of occupation by Russian troops, the city surrendered to the French without resistance on 27 May 1806. At the end of that year, with the assistance of General Marmont, the enemy Russian army was driven out of the territory of the Dubrovnik Republic. The French assumed civil authority in the city, and at the beginning of 1808, Marmont, without Napoleon’s knowledge but with his subsequent permission, issued a decree which dissolved the Senate and the Government of Dubrovnik, by which action Dubrovnik officially lost its independence.

Napoleon ruled Dalmatia from 1806 to 1814. One of the most valuable testimonies to Napoleon’s rule in Southern Dalmatia is Napoleon’s Road, running up the Pelješac peninsula from Ston to Orebić, a distance of 61,364 meters.

Napoleon’s roads were of exceptional importance for France, since it wanted to strengthen its position on the Adriatic Sea. Napoleon’s road is rare proof of French rule on the territory of the Dubrovnik Republic.

Today, the revitalization of Napoleon’s roads is especially important because it could be used economically for the promotion of rural households, wine roads, agriculture, the renewal of deserted villages, and sports (active tourism) such as hiking, sports cycling, and climbing.

Napoleon’s Road passes in the immediate vicinity of 48 locations of monumental significance outside of inhabited places. Its cultural and historical effect is visible along the entire length of the road, starting from the Walls of Ston and the Roman salt evaporation ponds, and passing by St. Michael’s Church in Stonsko Polje, prehistoric archaeological sites/caves (Gudnja in Ponikve, Nakovana Cave), numerous Illyrian forts, remnants of Roman tombstones and villae rusticae (Janjina and Sreser), the well-known seventeenth-century church in Trpanj, and the Church of Our Lady of Angels in Podgorje, with a most beautiful view of Pelješac channel and the neighbouring islands.

We believe that the historic and cultural treasures of Pelješac are more than sufficient reason to take a stroll on Napoleon’s Road.

An interesting fact

Today, sparkling wine is still produced in the same way as the local population learned from French soldiers: the bottle is covered in sand as it matures. Napoleon’s sparkling wine has a very brief period of expiration, so it is not used commercially; rather, the producers reserve it for household use, enjoying it with friends and family.

Turistička zajednica općine Orebić

Zrinsko Frankopanska 2

HR-20250 Orebić

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