A Survivor: The Sponza Palace of Dubrovnik

Sponza Palace, Palača Sponza, Dubrovnik, Croatia

At the end of the glistening Stradun there is a little hub where in every direction you can find something interesting.  By the landmark clock tower is the elegant building of the Sponza Palace.  And it’s very special: it survived the 1667 earthquake!  This is a real, old Ragusan building, and all the more special because of it.

The building is a mix of Gothic and Classical, and was designed by Paskoje Miličević Mihov in 1516-1520.  It was built to replace a Dogana (customs house) that had become too small for the booming Republic, and Miličević also added warehouses, workshops, a mint, a school and a printer’s.  There is an inscription around one of the arches of the atrium in Latin which gives the reassurance of: “Our weights neither deceive nor are deceived.  When I weigh merchandise, God also weighs me”.  The Sponza also later became a cultural centre, with the establishment of the literary Academia dei Concordi.  Now the building is home to the city archives including manuscripts that had been kept in the Rector’s Palace.

There isn’t much to visit – unless you’re off to the archives, you only have access to the ground floor.  This gives you a good view of the atrium, but you can’t see any rooms.  The atrium also hosts regular mini-exhibitions, and when I visited, there were some archaeological fragments, which were mildly interesting.

The facade of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The facade of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Figure of St Blaise in a niche on the facade of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Figure of St Blaise in a niche on the facade of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Decoration along the top of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Decoration along the top of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Capital along the arcade of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Capital along the arcade of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The cool door of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The cool door of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Sponza Palace by the Clock Tower, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Sponza Palace by the Clock Tower, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Inside the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Inside the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

A wider view of the atrium of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

A wider view of the atrium of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Carved angels, Bertrandus Gallicus, c1520, The Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Carved angels, Bertrandus Gallicus, c1520, The Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Remnants of a fresco on display at the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Remnants of a fresco on display at the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View of the entrance, the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View of the entrance, the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fancy door of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fancy door of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View from the door of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View from the door of the Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Just as you enter the palace, there is the small and haunting Museum to the Dubrovnik Defenders which has photographs of those killed during the Homeland War.

So In Summary

There’s not much to see, but it’s interesting getting to see the inside of a such lovely old building that was central to the economic success of the Ragusan Republic.

Further Information

When I visited in April 2017, entry was free.

How To Get There

This map is quite helpful to help navigate yourself to the Sponza Palace: www.godubrovnik.com

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