Rector's Palace



The Rector's Palace is a palace in Dubrovnik built as the seat of government and the apartment of the prince, the highest political office in the Republic of Dubrovnik.

The prince was elected for a term of one month and during that time he was the head of the Small Council. In the Rector's Palace, the prince had his office and the apartment in which he stayed during his term, separated from his family. During this time he was not allowed to leave the court except for state and protocol reasons. Overnight he would keep the keys to the city which he returned to the people in the morning at a protocol ceremony. In the Rector's Palace there are halls of the Grand and Small Councils, state offices, courtrooms, prisons, armory and gunpowder. At the entrance is the Latin inscription Obliti privatorum publica curate ("Forget private and take care of the public").

The first mention of the building in the area of ​​today's Rector's Palace is from the 13th century, when the fortress ('castellum') is mentioned. During the 14th century, the fortress was gradually transformed into a palace, following the example of the Roman and Venetian traditions. In 1435, an explosion of gunpowder occurred in the armory, as a result of which the Rector's Palace was severely damaged. After that, the restoration lasted, which lasted from 1435 to 1463. The project was led by Neapolitan engineer Onofrio della Cava, who is believed to be the author of a representative façade in a mixed Gothic-Renaissance style. Many artists, sculptors, stonemasons and masons took part in the execution of the details. Of the sculptural ornaments, the work of the sculptor Peter Martinov stands out, the capital of the porch depicting Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, made around 1440.

The building was subsequently damaged twice more. Shortly after the restoration in 1463, a new explosion of gunpowder damaged the Rector's Palace. After the last explosion comes a master from Florence who will lead the further restoration of the court, Salvi di Michele. Gothic-Renaissance windows on the facade were carved by local masters Radivoj Bogosalić, Radonja Grubačević, Đuro Utišenović, Ratko Ivančić and Nikola Marković. In the great earthquake of 1667, it suffered damage to the interior, and the reconstruction that followed lasted for three decades. Initially, an attempt was made to restore the Gothic-Renaissance appearance of the court, for which the architects Francesco Cortese from Rome and Paolo Andreotti from Genoa were hired as consultants. However, in 1689, with the arrival of the great architect, the Sicilian Tommaso Napoli, the building was imprinted with a baroque seal by designing a new atrium.

The Rector's Palace retained its original function until 1808, when French Marshal August Marmont abolished the Republic of Dubrovnik. Until World War II, it had an administrative function. During their visits to Dubrovnik, rulers Franjo Josip I and Aleksandar Karađorđević also visited it. It was turned into a museum in 1948.

In the atrium is the bust of Miha Pracat, the only monument erected by the Republic of Dubrovnik to a deserving commoner. He was also killed in the earthquake, and was subsequently rebuilt.


Today, the Rector's Palace building is a historical museum within the Dubrovnik Museums. The courtyard is furnished with period furniture from the last period of the 19th century Dubrovnik Republic. The furniture itself did not originally belong to the Rector's Palace, but was collected for years from old Dubrovnik palaces, summer houses and civic houses. In the Rector's Palace there is an exhibition of paintings by old masters from the period from the 15th to the second half of the 19th century. The front of the Rector's Palace is located on the back of the 50 kuna banknote.

Concerts of classical music are held in the atrium of the Rector's Palace during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the Julian Rachlin Festival. During the year, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra traditionally holds its concerts in the same space.

At the end of 2019, a new heating and cooling system was installed in the Rector's Palace in the old town center, which uses sea water as an energy source. The plant supplies the City Administration building and the Rector's Palace, as well as the Sloboda Cinema and the Marin Držić Theater, and the "Seadrion" project worth a little over 3 million kuna is co-financed by the European Union.