Dubrovnik is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on one side and mountainous terrain on the other. The closest hill to the Old Town is Srd, 412 meters (1236 feet) high. At one time, Srd was forested by oak trees that the Croatians called "Dubrova", lending its name to the town below. This hill was the site of the fiercest battle of the 1991-1995 War of Independence, known as the Seige of Dubrovnik. As a result of the many fires caused by the shelling, the trees were gutted and the slopes remained barren afterwards.
Running from the base of Srd to the top is a cable car system originally built in 1969. Approximately 2.5 million people per year visit the cable car and Srd Hill.. On a clear day, you can see 37 miles from the top. Because of this, when Napoleon occupied the area between 1806 and 1816, he felt it was of strategic importance, so he had Fort Imperial built on the site next to where the cable car system now sits. Following the fall of Napoleon, the fort was used by the Austrian/Hungarian authorities who reinforced it.
Fort Imperial and Srd Hill became a symbol of defiance during the War of Independence when the Croatian defenders, outgunned and outnumbered, successfully fought off Serbian/Montenagro forces. Today, the fort is a museum to that war.