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The closed city of Dubrovnik in Croatia - District of the Cabin

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Place Cabin. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).The place of the Cabin (Luža), thus named for the loggia which is drawn up beside the famous Sponza palace, is the place on which Stradun finishes and from where a door leads to the old port of Dubrovnik. It is organized around the column of Roland.


The Place of the Cabin (Luža)
The place of the Cabin, paved large polished flagstones by the centuries, served formerly as place of the market. It is used today as decoration with the Festival of Summer and is framed by splendid buildings.
The Column of Roland (Orlandov stup)
Column of Roland. Click to enlarge the image.The column of Roland (Orlandov stup) is drawn up in the center of the place of the Cabin between the Sponza palace and the church Saint Blaise.

This astonishing sculpture was carried out in 1418 by the Master ragusain Antun Dubrovčanin.

It is a column hones some with carved ornaments, representing a medieval knight, with the typically Gothic smile, the framed face of loops, and carrying the armor, the sword and the shield; at the top of the column a struck white flag of the word Libertas floats.

Column of Roland. Click to enlarge the image.According to the legend, the sculpture would represent the paladin Roland, the hero of Roncevaux and nephew of Charlemagne, which would have delivered Dubrovnik, encircled by dangerous Arab pirates at the 8th century; in recognition, the citizens would have devoted this commemorative column to him. But it is more probably about a local hero who would have pushed back an attack of the Turks.

At all events, the column is the symbol of the freedom and the independence of the republic of Raguse: it was furnished during the festivities with the flag with the Republic, while its pedestal was used as platform, from where one was addressed to the population to make public the proclamations of the government and other information.

More practically, the front armlever of the statue of Roland was used as measuring rod used by the tradesmen of the city: the length of the front armlever (51.2 cm) the “was bent ragusaine” and, on the base of the column, the notches in the stone reproduced this ell and allowed to measure the fabrics.

Each year, the solemn ceremony of unveiling of the Festival of summer of Dubrovnik and installation of the standard of freedom “Libertas” proceeds in front of the column of Roland.

The Palace Sponza (Palača Sponza)
The Palace Sponza (palača Sponza) is located at the end of Placa, on the northern side of the place of the Cabin, on the left of the Tower of the Clock. It is one of the rare buildings to have resisted the earthquake of 1667, making it possible to imagine the sumptuous palaces of the time preceding the catastrophe. The Sponza Palace - of Latin balances, to weigh - is the oldest monument, and one of most beautiful, Dubrovnik. Thanks to their business acumen, the inhabitants of Raguse built this luxurious palace, with its impressive frontage, like demonstration of their richness and their culture.

Its construction goes back to the 16th century, between 1516 and 1522, but the interior court is former to the frontage and date of the 14th century; she took the place of an old medieval street.

On the architectural level, the palace juxtaposes the elements of a late Gothic style (ground floor and 1st stage) and of Renaissance style (2nd stage), according to the project of the talented architect and chief engineer of the Republic of Raguse, Paskoje Miličević.

The Gothic style Renaissance is visible not only in the arcades, but also in the windows which open on Placed. Its frontage, particularly remarkable, combines the styles Gothic (veins, sheets of clover, windows in warhead on the first floor) and Rebirth (columns and pediments on the 2nd floor) and of the arcades inspired of the ancient temples with the ground floor. Its beauty as many raises its proportions delicate work of the stonecutters.

The palace comprises long and narrow rectangular interior court with double gallery, comparable with two encircled superimposed cloisters of their two stages of arcades.

The palace illustrates the originality and the specificity of the architecture ragusaine, which consists of a successful combination of the expressive potential of various styles joined together in the harmonious architecture of this palace which seems decorated with stone laces. They are the Andrijić brothers, resulting from the famous family of masons stonecutters of Korčula, who carried out work of size of the stones.

Sponza palace. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Sponza palace. Click to enlarge the image.
The historical leading role of the Sponza Palace was to shelter the customs (divona, of Italian dogana) of Raguse, which controlled the goods that tradesmen imported whole world. But its use varied with the wire of the centuries, the palace quickly becoming a gigantic warehouse. A wing was reserved for the Mint which the Republic had created at the 14th century and which functioned until the fall of the Republic of Raguse. The palace does not have any more commercial or administrative utility since the end of the 19th century.

The court of the palace, broadside of arcades, was the shopping center more animated city and the appointment of the businessmen of the Republic. The inscription on DRESSING chapel “FALLERE NOSTRA AND FALLI BALANCED MEQUE PONDERO CUM MERCES PONDERAT IPSE DEUS” reminds the tradesmen not to cheat in business.

The palace became thereafter the place of meeting of the scholars.

Today, the Sponza palace shelters the files of the city-state of Dubrovnik (Povijesni arhiv), true national treasure. These archives preserve the most important documents testifying to the long story of Dubrovnik and its area, to the remote centuries (some going back to 1022) and at the time modern.

At the bottom of the interior court the original mechanism of the Tower of the Clock of the city is, while on the left are exposed old plans and photographs of Dubrovnik as well as invaluable archives (charter of the foundation of the city, 1358; book of the accounts of the Treasury of the republic of Raguse, 1757-1808). One can get for it facsimiles of letters of kings and other great figures famous.

The Sponza palace shelters also the originals of the bronze jacquemarts of the Tower of the Clock, the statues which decorate the tower being only copies.

With the entry, on the left, a room is devoted to one moving memorial which evokes the young Croatian combatants who paid of their life the defense of Dubrovnik lasting the seat of 1991-1992.

The Sponza Palace accommodates moreover, along seasons, in the concerts of music and Festival of Freedoms in summer celebrates it.

Visit: in summer, the every day of 10:00 to 22:00

Paying entry: 20 kunas.

Interior court of the Sponza Palace. Click to enlarge the image.Sponza palace. Click to enlarge the image.
The Cabin of the Clock (Luža will zvonara)
The loggia, or places (luža), is located between the Sponza palace and the Tower of the Clock, and firm the end is Placa.

This old belfry, built in 1463 and completely restored in 1952, shelters the bells which were used to give alarm in the event of disasters (fire etc) or to convene the sessions of the Council of the Republic.

The Cabin is built above arched passage of warheads which leads to the exit of the city; below the Cabin, one sees the interior door of the city, which leads Place of the Cabin to the door of Ploče and the port of the city.

The admiral who ordered the armies of Dubrovnik placed in the adjacent building.

The Tower of the Clock (Gradski Svonik)
Turn of the Clock. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Tower clock, jacquemart. Click to enlarge the image.On the Eastern side of the place of the Cabin, the Tower of the Clock, high, 31 m closes the prospect for Placa; its exceptional position does of it one of the principal symbols of the old city of Dubrovnik. Its slim form is specific to the Gothic style rebirth

The Tower of the Clock goes back to 1444. It was built by the builders ragusains Utišenović, Grubačević and Radmanović. It is the clock and watch maker Luka Mihočin, son of an admiral, who manufactured the metal plate of the clock, the needle of the lunar cycle in lower part and two figurines out of wooden which sounded the hour. These figurines out of wooden were replaced later by two bronze soldiers, “Maro and Baro”, familiarly called Zelenci (Greens), because of their color verdigris due to oxidation. These two jacquemarts bronzes some, which strikes the hours and the half-hours in the Tower, are copies: the statues and the original mechanisms, run by an anonymous Master in 1476, are visible at the Sponza Palace.

On the other hand the enormous bell of two tons is quite authentic: this new bell was molten in 1508 by the famous Master Ivan Krstitelj Rabljanin (Jean d’ Arbe, or, of its name in Italian, Magister Johannes Baptista Arbensis of the Outcry), founder of guns ragusain, who also melted celebrates it gun “the Lizard” of the St. Lawrence Fortress.

Turn of the Clock. Click to enlarge the image.Turn of the Clock. Click to enlarge the image.Tower clock. Click to enlarge the image.
The Tower had been very shaken - without being destroyed - by the various earthquakes which Dubrovnik knew; it leant enormously and was likely to collapse. Also, for safety reasons, it first of all was shortened at the beginning of the 20th century (1906), then entirely demolished and rebuilt with identical in 1929, by taking again perfectly the plans of the tower of origin. It was damaged in 1979 at the time of the earthquake, and was consolidated in 1988.
Turn of the Clock. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Turn of the Clock. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Turn of the Clock. Click to enlarge the image.
The Palace of the Great Council - Town hall (Vijećnica)
Old Town hall. Click to enlarge the image.The large building which forms the angle of the Luža place and the broad street Pred Dvorom is a building which formerly sheltered the town council of the city and which one transformed into coffee at the beginning of the 20th century. Gradska Kavana (Coffee of the City) is more than a coffee. It is necessary to cross its vast room to the decoration Belle Time, prolonged by a veranda which faces the old port. The large terrace of Gradska Kavana, go inhabitants of Dubrovnik to the first hours of the morning, overflows on Luža.

The palace was built, destroyed in 1303 by a fire rebuilt in 1817 and entirely in 1863-1864 in a style néo-Rebirth lombarde, according to the plans of Antonio Vecchietti.

The Small Fountain of Onofrio (Mala Onofrijeva fontana)
Gracious the small fountain of Onofrio (mala Onofrijeva fontana) made during with the Large Fountain, more massive, which decorates the other end of Placa; located on the east coast of Luža, it is partly placed in a niche arranged on the frontage of the Large Council.
Small fountain of Onofrio. Click to enlarge the image.Small fountain of Onofrio. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).
This small fountain was built at the time of the end of the building work of the water supply network, in 1438, and belonged to the same system of water provision as the large one. It was intended to feed out of water the market which was held formerly on the place of the Cabin.

It was built by same Onofrio della Cava, with decorations of the Milanese sculptor Pietro di Martino, “Petar Martinov” in Croatian. Of octagonal form, it presents on each face a carved panel, and is decorated of a column of style baroque. The Small Fountain constitutes a true jewel of concise art in Dubrovnik.

Small fountain onofrio. Click to enlarge the image.Small fountain of onofrio. Click to enlarge the image.Small fountain of onofrio. Click to enlarge the image.
The Palace of the Vice-chancellor (Knežev Dvor)
On Pred Dvorom, the square of the court, the court of the Vice-chancellor (Knežev Dvor) is next to the building of the theater Marin Držić and the Town council, whose ground floor is occupied by very with the mode coffee Gradska Kavana.
According to the chronicles of Dubrovnik, the building which occupied the site of the palace of the Vice-chancellor at the end of the Middle Ages was a fortress smaller than the current palace. This “castrum” was transformed into “palatium” as of the 14th century. This building was completely destroyed in 1435 in the explosion of the powder deposits that one stored there.

The current palace goes up, at the origin, at the 15th century, but it reflects the animated history of the city-state of Raguse while joining together in a harmonious way of the elements of three different styles and its various building owners: a Gothic palace, at the beginning, and later rebuildings in Renaissance styles and baroque, since it was the object of several construction campaigns, with the liking of successive catastrophes:

  • The construction of the new Palace of the Vice-chancellor was entrusted, twenty years later, by the authorities of Raguse, with the engineer and Neapolitan architect Onofrio di Giordano della Cava, the director of the system of water conveyance of Dubrovnik. This new palace, built on the ruins of old and designed in a very refined Gothic style, was finished in the middle of the 15th century; it did not have whereas only one stage.
  • The new palace was again seriously damaged by an explosion in 1463, especially its western frontage. The city made it rebuild partly in the Renaissance style, under the direction of the manufacturer Florentin Salvio of Michele, with the collaboration of many local manufacturers.
  • The palace is still shaken by the earthquake of 1667; its restoration by the builder Jerolim Škarpa de Korčula, in 1739, added parts of style baroque, like the atrium.
Palace of the vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.The current aspect of the palace goes back to these various rebuildings of the 15th century: it is a formed building by four bodies of buildings bordering a square court. The court with its gantries and high galleries, its loggia and its three staircases out-work reflect the various stages of construction. The gantry of the former frontage is richly decorated: the allegorical reasons and figures are the work of local and foreign sculptors among most famous who, during the 15th century, worked in Raguse.

The building, elegant and rather sober, keeps a Gothic appearance, in spite of the Renaissance arcades of its porch and the staircase with balustrade baroque which, in the court, conduit on the floor. In addition to Onofrio della Undermined, Michelozzo Michelozzi and Juraj Dalmatinac, the principal builders of Dubrovnik, as of half a dozen local architects contributed to the work.

The simplicity and the moderation of the Republic of Raguse, formerly so rich, are incarnated in this building, seemingly too modest, for a so important institution of the Republic. This is not astonishing, because it is precisely this harmonious balance, without too much luxury, which is characteristic of all the spheres of the life of Raguse.

After the fall of the Republic of Raguse, the palace was plundered by the occupying authority, of the objects of great value being part of the cultural inheritance of Dubrovnik, preciously kept and gathered during centuries, were concealed or destroyed.

At the time of the Republic of Raguse, the palace sheltered the apartments and offices of the vice-chancellor, the room of the Small Council, the living rooms for administrative receptions and official audiences, offices, a room of the guards, a deposit of weapons and a warehouse of explosive, as well as a geôle.
The Vice-chancellor, who always belonged to a family patrician of the city, was elected for only one month, renewable only once by two years period.

This representative of the city - which did not have really to be able - was to move in the Palace and to remain confined there throughout all his mandature, not to be inattentive of his task. To prevent that it is not corrompu or influenced, it did not have the right to leave the palace that within the framework of the performance of its duty or to go to the cathedral, for Christmas and the Saint Blaise! It was authorized to follow the other celebrations since the stone benches of the gallery external of the ground floor.

The remarkable inscription which is above the entry of the palace “Obliti privatorum publica curate” (“having forgotten your private business, dedicate you to the public affairs”) was there for recalling him.

In addition to his many activities of Head of State, the Vice-chancellor received each evening in large pump, during a special ceremony, the key of the two doors of the city which one had closed for the night, so that nobody can be introduced into the city; the keys were entrusted to him until the morning when it gave them, according to the opposite ceremonial, so that the doors of the city can be open. This tradition was maintained until the fall of the Republic.

Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.One penetrates in the Palace by the beautiful gallery external with arcades of the western frontage; this gallery date completion of the 15th century, and present of the Gothic columns whose capitals are remarkable for their Renaissance decoration. These capitals date from the rebuilding campaign which made following the explosion of 1463. They are richly carved very alive scenes, like, on that of far right, the scene representing Esculape making the trade of its drugs. Two original capitals of Onofrio frame the main entrance: one represents justice and a couple of lions, the other the vice-chancellor making justice in front of the citizens of the city.

Under the arched gallery of warheads, long stone steps run along the wall: the notable ones sat down there to attend the great public celebrations.

Capital of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Capital of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Capital of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.
The splendid interior court of the palace, or atrium, is a simple and harmonious space which mixes Gothic elements, Renaissance and baroques. The Renaissance arcades present on three on the four sides give a certain majesty to the place, while on the fourth side, a staircase baroque leads to a superb balustrade of the same style (rebuilding campaign of after 1667). The atrium is one of the masterpieces of Onofrio.
Atrium of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Atrium of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Atrium of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.
Under the arches of the staircase a small Gothic fountain of the 15th century is.
Atrium of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Atrium of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Palace of the vice-chancellor, fountain. Click to enlarge the image.
The atrium is decorated with the bust of the one of the sons more deserving of Raguse, the browser Miho Pracat (Michaeli Prazzato); this bust was carried out in 1638 by the Master Pier Paolo Jacometti, scultor and Italian founder of Recanati, following a decree of the Republic. It is the only homage to an ordinary citizen who was ever returned by the Republic of Raguse during all his long story, this rich citizen and patron having bequeathed the totality of his fortune to the city-state.
Atrium, palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Atrium, palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Bust of Miho Pracat. Click to enlarge the image.
This interior court was used formerly as public place, around a fountain now disappeared, where crossed the citizens come for administrative approaches and the families from the criminals imprisoned in the prison, arrivals to visit the prisoners.
Atrium of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).
On the line of the court, one can indeed see the old dungeons; the prisoners of the cells giving on the atrium were most favoured because, at the time, the prisoners were to be supplied by their close relations to be able to survive, and these cells largely facilitated the contact with outside. The cell of the “dragon”, thus named according to the drawing of a dragon engraved on the right of the entry, was part of a block of cells located in the back and reserved to the hardened criminals. The mezzanine sheltered the prison warder and the key-ring.
Dungeon of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Dungeon of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.
Vis-a-vis the prison, on the left of the entry, the old offices of the administration are where Ragusains came to withdraw the documents, deed drawn up by a solicitor, etc, preserved in the large mural wall cupboards at the painted wood doors, of the period rococo.
On the first floor of the Palace the private apartments and the office of the Vice-chancellor were, the room of the minor Council, the rooms of reception, as well as the vault.
Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.
Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Staircase, palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.
In the office of the Vice-chancellor, one notices, among the interesting objects, the rare Neapolitan cabinet baroque, composed of a multiplicity of small tables on glass (fine 17th century).

Each evening, after the closing of the doors of the city, one ceremoniously came to give to the Vice-chancellor the keys of the two doors of the city, which it kept in this office until the next morning.

Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.Palace vice-chancellor. Click to enlarge the image.
To also notice: windows, typical of the time, made “funds of bottle” ringed of lead, and stone hands holding the wood slopes, along the staircases which climb on the floor, as well as a small chapel baroque, raised after the earthquake, under the gallery of the first level.
Palace of the vice-chancellor, crawls. Click to enlarge the image.Palace of the vice-chancellor, fenestrates. Click to enlarge the image.
The rooms of the Palace of the Vice-chancellor shelter today the museum of History of the city (Historijski muzej) which presents a collection of pieces of furniture, tables and objects of decoration testifying to the art of living ragusain.

One finds there, beside the pieces of furniture of style of various times, many portraits of aristocrats and notable ragusains, the tables of great painters of 15th and 16th centuries (Annibale Carraci, Tintoret, Giorgio Barbarelli says Giorgione, Paris Bordone, Mihajlo Hamzić…), as well as a numismatic collection of coins used in Dubrovnik between 14th and 19th centuries, authentic keys of the door of the city, many costumes and pieces of furniture of time, seals, armorial bearings, photocopies of the Code of Dubrovnik and the official reports of the Republic, objects of old pharmacy Domus Christi of 15th century etc

Palace of the vice-chancellor, sedan-chair. Click to enlarge the image.
In the atrium of the palace, which has extraordinary acoustics, are given regularly concerts of chamber music within the framework of the Festival of summer of Dubrovnik.

Visit: Knežev Dvor (palace of the Vice-chancellor), Pred Dvorom, 3.

Opened Monday to Saturday, 9:00 at 13:00, the winter; the every day, of 9:00 to 19:00, from April to October.

Paying entry: 35 kunas.

The Church Saint Blaise (Crkva Svetog Vlaha)
At the bottom of the place of the Cabin, vis-a-vis the Sponza palace, draws up the church dedicated to saint Blaise (Sveti Vlaho), to owner and to guard of the town of Raguse. It is thus located at the intersection of the two principal public highways, where the gatherings of people are held: placed and Pred Dvorom.

This beautiful building with the exuberant Baroque architecture of the beginning of the 18th century slices with the sobriety adopted along Placed. The church Saint Blaise is quite as interesting to be born that of night, when the light lights its stained glasses by the interior.

It was built of 1706 to 1715 by the Venetian architect Marino Gropelli with the site of an old church Romance of the 14th century dedicated to the same saint, but destroyed by a large fire in 1706.

The church Saint Blaise is of plan rectangular in Greek cross, inspired by that of the church San Maurizio in Venice, and is dominated by a superb central dome of oval form. It presents a base to embossing, an imposing staircase with balustrades and a frontage baroque richly decorated with four large Corinthian columns, an exuberant gantry and varied statues.

Church Saint Blaise. Click to enlarge the image.Church Saint Blaise. Click to enlarge the image.Church Saint Blaise. Click to enlarge the image.
Church Saint Blaise. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).The cordial interior of the church reveals a short nave and an overloaded opulent furnace bridge of sculptures, bands, festoons and altar clothes to traditional embroideries bright red. The interior ornaments abound: marble, cherubs, gildings, sculptures and low-reliefs compete of beauty.

However, the treasure of the church is a statue of saint Blaise who throne on the high altar. This statue, of Gothic style, out of gilded money, date of the 15th century; it is the work of a local goldsmith and was offered by the brotherhood of the goldsmiths. She only left miraculously intact the fire of 1706 which destroyed the first church Saint Blaise.

The statue represents the patron saint of the city holding in his left hand a model of the city before the great earthquake of 1667 which almost entirely destroyed Raguse; she thus constitutes an interesting one time historical testimony of which it remains only little of vestiges: the buildings destroyed in the earthquake are definitely visible.

Visit 8:00 at 17:00 in week, and 8:00 at 12:00 Sunday.

Church Saint Blaise. Click to enlarge the image.The church Saint Blaise shelters also two statues of stone, holy representative Blaise and holy Jerome, works of the sculptor originating in Brač, Nikola Lazanić, of the end of the 16th century; they were at the origin in the old church Saint Blaise of the 14th century.

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