Cavtat (the antique Epidaurum) is the only urban settlement and the administrative centre of Konavle. It is located on the peninsula Rat which together with peninsula Sustjepan closes a beautiful bay. It was mainly determined by its high role during the rule of the Dubrovnik Republic where it was the second important centre. If you are accommodated in rural tourist facilities in Konavle, Cavtat is at your fingertips. It is a champion in tourism with many tourist awards and a specialist in maritime tourism. It is an ideal place that offers you many secret spots for sunbathing or romantic walks by the sea as well as many more summer enjoyments.
The legend about the origin of the name Cavtat says that two suitors asked the beautiful girl Cavtislava, a daughter of the Epidaurian ruler to marry. Her father decided to give her to that suitor, who would perform a more significant task. One of the admirers, the commander Stjepan, should bring fresh water from the source Vodovađa in Konavle, and the other one, a brave knight and seafarer, should bring a ship full of silk from the distant world.
On the day of the festivity of the opening of the Epidaurian viaduct, the beautiful Cavtislava should first satisfy her thirst with water from a golden jar, but before, a big lizard jumped out of the water directly onto the girl's lap. Cavtislava's heart failed for fear and she immediately dropped dead.
According to tales in the common tongue, the unfortunate seafarer, whose ship was sunk by a huge storm directly in front of Epidaurum, and who therefore was not able to fulfil his task, put the lizard into the viaduct since he could not bear the loss of the girl.
In memory of the beautiful Cavtislava, at this place arose Cavtat, after the disastrous earthquake had destroyed the town.
The birth house of Vlaho Bukovac, one of the most famous Croatian painters and the forefather of the Croatian modern painting, has been made available for public since May 2004, after a ten-year break and a three-year reconstruction. The significant features of the Bukovac house are not only its architecture, garden space and the location in the very heart of the town, but above all, it is the legacy of the name of the great artist, his artistic heritage and the heritage of his family's history. The arrangement of space shows it to be a typical Dalmatian 19th century urban house: stone-built, two-floors' building with a central court-yard and a spacious back garden. Particularly interesting are the newly discovered wall paintings which cover the old walls in the eastern part of the house, painted by the young artist Vlaho Bukovac before his departure for training in Paris. In the living room and the painter's studio, there are about thirty paintings displayed, along with a part of the furniture collection, everyday and personal items from the time of Vlaho Bukovac. The ground floor has a separate room for exhibitions where modern art exhibitions are regularly organized.
The mausoleum of the well-known ship-owners' family Račić from Cavtat was built on St. Rock's cemetery ba the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović (1883 – 1962). Its construction took place in 1921, on the place of St. Rock's church from 15th century, following the will of the testatrix Marija Račić. It was built from the white limestone from the island Brač in the form of cupola. In the whole building no other material but stone was used, except bronze for the door, bell and the angel. The whole mausoleum is full of symbols representing three basic stages of human fate: birth, life and death. This is contained in the ornaments like the heads of angels on the vault; the symbols of four evangelists on the floor, the main alter and the lateral naves. On the bell founded by Meštrović's design we find his beautiful reflection: "Comprehend the secret of love, you will solve the secret of death and believe that the life is eternal. Mausoleum of Račić Family is a unique beauty that seems to sail above the sunny sea and pine, cypress and palm trees resembling a white swan of eternity.
Baltazar Bogišić (Cavtat 1834 - Rijeka 1908) was a lawyer and a scientist of a European reputation. His permanent residence from 1875 was in Paris. He was a regular member of Croatian Academy of Science and Art since its foundation in 1867, a member of many other Academies and Scientific societies, and a holder of several European awards. His rich collection was founded in 1909 - 1912, and it has been a part of Croatian Academy of Science and Art since 1955. Throughout his career, he collected various artifacts, documents and files. Today the Collection contains more than 35,000 objects. Particularly interesting are the collections of old graphics (8185 sheets of Croatian and European provenance from 16th until 19th century) and one of three Croatian most important numismatic collections (2700 pieces) His library is one of the most valuable in Croatia, because of its rare and unique editions (15000 titles, 66 incunabula, and 164 manuscripts). The very important scientific and cultural value has the rich archive collected by Bogišić himself and his large personal correspondence (10092 letters). The Rector's Palace in Cavtat is the seat of Bogišić's collection since 1958.
The Art gallery of St. Nicolas' parish church in Cavtat was established in 1952 by the merit of the Academician Cvito Fisković. This valuable collection of paintings, sculptures and liturgical objects is exhibited in the room next to the Parish Home, and from 2001 it is opened to the visitors of Cavtat. Among the numerous valuable works of art are icons bearing images of St. Nicholas from the 15th century, the alabaster relief from the 15th century, St. Sebastian by the Baroque master of the Bologna school Benedetto Genarri, works by Sicilian painter Carmelo Reggi and works by the great Croatian painter Vlaho Bukovac.