May 23, 2024



How A Medieval City Dealing With The Black Death Invented Quarantine


By Rob Schmitz

July 6, 2021

DUBROVNIK, Croatia — The first state-imposed quarantine happened here, in present-day Dubrovnik, Croatia, an ancient walled city atop the cliffs of the Adriatic Sea. The first people to ever be quarantined — more than 500 years ago — had a nice view, but not-so-nice consequences if they decided they had had enough of it.

Ivana Marinavić, the head of educational programs at The Lazarettos of Dubrovnik, the first buildings ever constructed for the sole purpose of quarantine, lists some of the consequences for breaking quarantine in the 14th century:

“Torture, or cutting your nose or your ears off.”

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