Good day everyone! Hope you’re having a good Tuesday at home.
Today we thought talking a little bit about Dubrovnik Republic and the things they did to keep all sorts of pandemic from their country. The people who lived then were in some sense very smart for economic and merchandise traffic. But, let’s start from the beginning and explain a bit about history of Dubrovnik Republic prior to diving into the quarantine called Lazareti.
We’ll not talk a lot about the Republic of Ragusa as that’s one of the things we would like to keep for you to discover once this disease passes and you arrive to Dubrovnik -> here.
Dubrovnik, actually back in the days called Ragusa was an independent republic in found in the 14th century. From the beginning it was different than any country, republic, empire then. It consisted of nowadays Dubrovnik area and the surroundings which was not a small area, combining the islands in the mix too. It had liberal laws and radical ethics, with being one of the first republics in the world that banned slavery!
Although it was a neighboring republic to a lot of much more powerful empires, Ragusa preserved its freedom for almost 5 full centuries. One of many other very important things they did to preserve what they had was establishing quarantine. Now, why this was a smart move back then upon which we could learn a lot today;
5. Old Town was the center of everything
The same as today (for the people coming to visit Dubrovnik), back in the days Old Town was the center for everything. 300 meters from the entrance to the Old Town on Ploče gate Lazareti construction was finished in the 17th century. The quarantine was placed just at the entrance to the Old Town. Why? Because everything including merchandise trade was happening inside the town’s gates.
4. Port city
As Dubrovnik was and still is but not in that great matter, an important port city, travelers were coming from all over the world. The state delegates were very skillful in negotiations, to preserve the peace between all of the competitors. Republic was a main distributer or all sorts of merchandise in the Balkan area for the Ottoman Empire, but also a main trade mediator between East and the West.
3. Modern and well-organized society
With everything mentioned so far, there are a few very important things we need to mention prior to talking about the importance of quarantine. As Ragusa was under the protection of the Ottoman Empire (a whole other story), they had a settlement in almost every major city for trades. From Istanbul, Sarajevo, Sofia, Bucharest, etc. in all of the cities they had established their own trade courts, churches, hospitals. That’s not all, the Big and Small council along with the senate – yes, they had it all – they managed to have very strong partnership with Spanish king and Rome.
2. Danče quarantine
Did you know that prior to Lazareti quarantine, Dubrovnik already had one but a bit further from the Old Town called Danče. Nowadays that is a beach where a lot of tourist go to, not far from the city center just a bit rocky. This one was built in the XV. and after starting to build another one (Lazareti), the example of the republic Ragusa was followed by other cities, so this measure became commonplace from the 15th century.
1. Lazareti quarantine
It consist of series of buildings and two cottages, 10 hall like buildings and the cottages where up the stairs to control everything. Everybody – no matter where you’re from, were required to stay in the Lazareti quarantine for 30 days. We’ve mentioned that Dubrovnik was a great port city, the ships were not allowed to enter the port without being the quarantine system for 30 full days. This was a way to stop the spread of a lot of diseases and to preserve Dubrovnik and its citizens. Especially because a great pandemic of the plague was raging the Europe and some of the cities were closing their trade markets. Dubrovnik stayed open, trade market never closed, there was no interruption in the growth of economic side of the republic. No one from the infected areas was allowed to enter the Old Town or any other part of Dubrovnik, they had to be in a quarantine on the island of Mrkan for 40 days. After all that, Ragusa republic still managed to provide normal life for everyone living in it, or coming to visit.
Do you think there is something we can all learn from that? Do you think your country did everything they could to stop the spread of the virus but still to ensure economy of the state is almost untouched? What do you think about quarantine in Ragusa Republic?
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