Lokrum, the Saviour of Richard the Lionheart

Lokrum, the Saviour of Richard the Lionheart

Fans of the show “Game of Thrones” know Lokrum as the city of Qarth ruled by those of pure blood. Characterised by peace and tranquillity, like a small boat anchored only a few hundred metres from the city of Dubrovnik and surrounded by the finest Mediterranean trees, this idyllic island is a favourite spot for trips among the people of Dubrovnik and their guests. It’s perfect for everyone looking for their zen moments in the shade of pine trees and wanting to swim in its turquoise waters.

Lokrum, whose name originates from the Latin word acrumen as it was rich in sour oranges, holds many secrets and legends in its rocks and beaches. One of them dates back to the 12th century, when the island received a sudden visit from the English king Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart. Like most people who visit this kaleidoscope of peace, tranquillity and serene nature, he carried the memory of the island with him for the rest of his life.

“Lionhearted” Lokrum

On his way home from the Third Crusade, his ship was caught in a terrible storm. Thousands of lightning bolts covered the sky, the sea raged as if it were Judgement Day, and the crew sobbed quietly, murmuring their dying wishes as they thought the end was near. In the final hours of this unfair match with the sea, the powerful king vowed to build a church wherever he touched land if he survived the storm.

 

Then, a miracle occurred – the ship found a safe harbour in Lokrum bay, and the grateful Richard the Lionheart remembered his vow. The news of his arrival reached Dubrovnik, and its citizens convinced the king that building a church inside city walls was a much better option. Legend has it that Richard the Lionheart accepted their proposal. He gifted 100,000 gold coins to Dubrovnik and left behind a person of trust to complete the task.

 

The Romanesque basilica he built was one of the most beautiful in the region, but unfortunately, it was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1667. The Dubrovnik Cathedral was built in its place in the 18th century, which still holds a wide array of artefacts from Dubrovnik’s rich history.

Aleksandar Gospić

And Lokrum? It’s still as welcoming to ordinary people and royalty alike.