At the beginning there was – the Wall!
When in late 1334 the Republic of Ragusa had acquired the Pelješac peninsula, it first protected its new acquisition with walls – it was the largest fortification-urban undertaking in Europe at the time!
By employing the best domestic and foreign builders, they first built the Great Wall from one to the other side of the peninsula and then, on its ends, according to plan built two fortified small towns: Ston, on the south end of the Wall and Mali Ston on its northern part. New towns were supposed to provide home and protection to the border guards and to the workers at salt works which contributed massively to the Republic. During almost four centuries, the Walls were being amended, improved and adjusted to the terrain and parallel with the development of military technology. By switching over in double line over the mountain Pozvizd, in the end their length reached 5,500m, and by their appearance and way of built they completely resembled the Dubrovnik ones. The Ston Walls were fortified by five fortresses and forty-some towers and there is also the Fortress of St. Jerome (Veliki Kaštio) within the fortification system in Ston, built specifically for protection of Ston salt works.
The salt works look as if they had always been here: from shallow bay deeply indented into the mainland the Sun had still in prehistoric times mercilessly vaporized the water leaving shiny white crystals of salt strewn by the fertile fields.
The Romans had called these natural salt licks Stagnum or Stamnum – stagnant or „dead“ water and in that way named the future town which is called by that even today. And natural salt licks were used for harvesting salt crystals so that even from the Roman days we can trace the continuous usage of this precious mineral which makes the Ston salt works the oldest in the whole Mediterranean.
Precisely to the salt works Ston also owes its present appearance: due to them, the Great Walls had been built as well as two medieval towns on their ends. While the packed roofs of Ston reflect in tranquil waters of the salt works as in a regularly cracked mirror, Mali Ston is adorned by its maritime gardens– đardini in which first-class mussels and oysters are grown – by which Mali Ston bay is recognized and regarded by far. And if we add a glass of good Pelješac wine to delicious shells, gourmet pleasure is guaranteed!
You can find more on Ston and its sights at the web pages of the Tourist Board of Ston.