Town of Ston and Mali Ston
Ston is a small town located in the south of the peninsula Pelješac. At the site of today’s town of Ston, there was a Roman settlement Stagnum (stagnant, still water) and the foundations of the Roman castrum can still be seen on Starigrad Hill. Ston is famous for it impressive medieval walls that extend to Mali Ston (Small Ston), a small village situated in the Bay of Mali Ston, just a kilometer northeast from Ston. Other than walls, Ston is also famous for its fresh seafood cuisine, oyster production, and saltworks. If these two places weren’t on your visit list, be sure to add them if traveling south towards Dubrovnik, as they are well worth visiting. The distance between Ston and Dubrovnik is only 60 kilometers.
Historical-town planning ensemble of Ston with Mali Ston, connecting walls, the Mali Ston Bay nature reserve, Stonsko Polje and the salt pans are on the UNESCO Tentative list of World Heritage Sites in Croatia.
Walls of Ston – the famous Ston walls, also known as the “European walls of China”, are a series of defensive walls built in the 14-th century, along with 40 towers and 5 fortresses. The walls surrounding the town are about 900 meters long, and the Great Wall of 5 km outside the town. Originally the walls were more than 7 km long, built from one side of the peninsula to the other connecting Ston to Mali Ston.
The walls were built by the Republic of Ragusa, in order to protect its borders, but especially to protect the valuable salt pans that contributed to the Republic’s wealth. Some parts of the walls together with the walls surrounding Mali Ston were demolished after the fall of the Republic of Ragusa. The Austrians back in 19-th century used the wall materials to build community buildings and a triumphal arch in the occasion of the visit by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor.
Solana – this area was inhabited by the Greeks and Illyrians, after which it became a Roman colony. Romans begin the exploitation of the salt and its collecting, making the Ston salt pans one of the oldest in Europe. The famous Ston walls were constructed to protect the salt pans as they were of a great importance for the area. Later the saltworks were controlled by the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Ragusa.