Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities

The Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities is a non-profit civil society association that has raised awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of the World Heritage City of Dubrovnik since 1952. More than seventy years ago, the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik was established with the motto: “From the monuments for the monuments”. Ahead of its time, this working principle can still be considered innovative today, and continues to serve as the basis for the Society’s contemporary activities.

Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, CROATIA

In the early 1950s, Dubrovnik’s heritage was poorly protected and in a state of disrepair. Lukša Beritić (1889-1969), a naval engineer and art enthusiast, took action to turn the tide on this deterioration and to harness the power of this heritage for the future of the city and its inhabitants. Beritić and the fledgling association soon earned the favour of the city’s authorities and were entrusted with maintenance and management of part of the city’s most iconic monuments: the city walls. The Society dedicated its first years of activity to the organisation of tourist activities, with the funds collected being directly reinvested into the restoration of the city’s monuments, and the safeguard of important ancient artefacts.

Over the years, the association has undertaken many projects, including the restoration of the 15th-century Fort Revelin, the Church of the Rozario Fraternity, the city bridges as well as multiple interventions on the walls of Dubrovnik and the walls of nearby Ston, which was part of the Republic of Dubrovnik. The Society was closely involved with the inclusion of the Old City of Dubrovnik on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979, which helped to further ensure the safeguarding of the city’s heritage. These monumental works were driven by the passion of the Society’s members, who often worked on a voluntary basis.

Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, CROATIA

The Society actively engages with the local community, in order to foster a sense of ownership and pride in the shared cultural heritage of the region and to understand its multiple values to society. Many public events have been organised, including lectures by eminent experts, and many books, video materials, and media articles that appeal to both professional and general audiences have been published.

The work of the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities represents an exceptional civil society achievement that spans more than seven decades and several generations. Their tireless and competent commitment and unwavering, enduring resilience over this long period of time, is truly impressive especially given the many challenges that they – together with other citizens of Dubrovnik – have faced, both in times of war and peace”, the Awards’ Jury commented.

Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, CROATIA

This influential and impactful association created a community of like-minded people who work together for a common purpose of cultural heritage conservation and identity. Their European significance is demonstrated among others by the outstanding universal value of the unique World Heritage City of Dubrovnik, as well as by the important example they set in maintaining mutually beneficial relations with a wide range of actors with varying interests”, the Jury emphasised.

Contact: Vedran Kosović, DPDS | |