Exterior of Gothic Renaissance Sponza Palace.

Sponza Palace


One of the few buildings in the old town to survive the 1667 earthquake, the Sponza Palace was built from 1516 to 1522 as a customs house, and it has subsequently been used as a mint, treasury, armoury and bank. Architecturally it's a mixture of styles beginning with an exquisite Renaissance portico resting on six Corinthian columns. The 1st floor has late-Gothic windows and the 2nd-floor windows are in a Renaissance style, with an alcove containing a statue of St Blaise.

Just inside the building, before you enter the cloister, is the Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik, a heartbreaking collection of black-and-white photographs of the mainly young men who perished between 1991 and 1995.

The 1st and 2nd floors house the State Archives, a priceless collection of manuscripts dating back nearly 1000 years. Though the archives are not open to the public, copies of the most precious and significant pieces are exhibited in a display on the ground floor. There are some English translations, but the displays aren't particularly interesting.

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