Dubrovnik is an old city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia. It is one of the most prominent tourist resorts of the Mediterranean, a seaport and the centre of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Its population is about 43,000 in 2011. Dubrovnik is nicknamed "Pearl of the Adriatic" and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The city of Dubrovnik (Latin: Ragusa) was built on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. Furthermore, Dubrovnik was one of the centres of the development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars. Today Dubrovnik is the proudest feather in Croatia's tourist cap, an elite destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik used to be an independent republic, surviving mostly on trade. It managed to survive many centuries, with constant threats to its territory, particularly from the mighty Ottoman Empire and Venice. As early as 19th century, it was discovered by celebrities as a place to be seen. George Bernard Shaw once said that "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it". Royalty, presidents and diplomats have all favored the city. The late Pope John Paul II was a fan of Dubrovnik and was even made an honorary citizen. Out of the 23 top luxury hotels in Croatia in 2010, 13 were located in Dubrovnik.