1667 Dubrovnik earthquake

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1667 Dubrovnik earthquake
1667 Dubrovnik earthquake is located in Croatia
1667 Dubrovnik earthquake
Local date6 April 1667 (1667-04-06)
Epicenter42°36′N 18°06′E / 42.60°N 18.10°E / 42.60; 18.10Coordinates: 42°36′N 18°06′E / 42.60°N 18.10°E / 42.60; 18.10
Areas affectedDubrovnik, Croatia
Max. intensityX MCS (Disastrous)
Casualties5,000 dead [1]

The earthquake in Dubrovnik in 1667[2] was one of the two most devastating earthquakes to hit the area of modern Croatia in the last 2,400 years, since records began. The entire city was almost destroyed and around 5,000 people were killed.[1] The city's Rector Simone Ghetaldi was killed and over three quarters of all public buildings were destroyed. At the time, Dubrovnik was the capital of the Republic of Ragusa. The earthquake marked the beginning of the end of the Republic.[3]


Dubrovnik was built in the most seismically active area in Croatia, which makes Dubrovnik earthquakes the strongest in the whole country. It is the only Croatian town that is shown in red on the seismic map, which means that it is exposed to potential hazard of the strongest earthquakes, those of 10 degrees in the Mercalli scale.[4] Dubrovnik's region, is located in the eastern part of the Adriatic Sea. It is a narrow strip of land, dotted by a series of bays, with the Dinaric Alps in the background, and hundreds of islands along the coast. [5]


The largest natural disaster in Dubrovnik history happened around 8 in the morning on April 6th, 1667. Survivors of the event witnessed a rumbling sound followed by a tremendous kick that rocked the city.[6] This event is thought to be the biggest one in the history of Dalmatia and practically defines seismic hazard in the coastal area of Croatia.[5] Citizens of the city witnessed huge stones rolling down the hill of Srđ destroying everything in their way. A powerful tsunami devastated the port, flooding everything near the shore. Large cracks appeared in the land, and the city's water sources dried up. The dust created by the destroyed buildings were thick enough to obscure the sky.[6] Strong winds fueled the fire from homes and bakeries, turning it into the blaze that would not be extinguished for almost 20 days.[6]


The Sponza and the Rector's palace were the only buildings that survived the natural disaster. The city was reconstructed in the baroque style that has survived intact to today. Despite the reconstruction, the decline of the Mediterranean as a hub for trade meant that Dubrovnik, like other Mediterranean ports, began a steady decline.[7] Overall, more than 6,000 people were killed, among whom were the Rector and half of the members of the Great council. The effects of the earthquake also resulted in the loss of half of the nobility population.[7]


The earthquake had destroyed almost the entire city and buried around 3000 people. Alongside the fire, one more catastrophe came and made terrible damage to the city – robbers.[5] Given that the earthquake killed the Rector and a great part of the government, there was total anarchy. People would cut the ears and jaws from the dead to take their earrings and gold teeth. Everyone was stealing - rich and poor alike.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eystein S. Husebye (2008). Earthquake Monitoring and Seismic Hazard Mitigation in Balkan Countries. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4020-6815-7.
  2. ^ Robin Harris (2006). Dubrovnik: A History. Saqi Books. ISBN 978-0-86356-959-3.
  3. ^ Zdenko Zlatar (1992). Between the Double Eagle and the Crescent: The Republic of Dubrovnik and the Origins of the Eastern Question. East European Monographs. ISBN 978-0-88033-245-3.
  4. ^ Sović, Ivica; Ivančić, Ines; Markušić, Snježana (2017-08-30). "The 1667 Dubrovnik earthquake – some new insights". Studia geophysica et geodaetica (in Croatian). 61 (3): 587–600. doi:10.1007/s11200-016-1065-4.
  5. ^ a b c "On the Eve of the Earthquake | Request PDF". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  6. ^ a b c Thomas, Mark. "On this day – the big earthquake of 1667 - The Dubrovnik Times". www.thedubrovniktimes.com. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  7. ^ a b "Dubrovnik earthquake". Dubrovnik Digest. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  8. ^ "The history of Dubrovnik". Retrieved 2019-03-25.

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