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The oldes traces of settlements in the vicinity of Dubrovnik date from the times of Illyrian and Roman rules. During the 7th century, the inhabitants of the island of Epidaurum (today Cavtat) had to flee from Awars and Slavs and founded a village on the rocky island of Lausa. The name later changed to Rausa and became the origin of the italian name, Ragusa. About at the same time a slav village called Dubrava developed on the foot of the hill Srđ (Srdj). Both villages merged and formed an independent city state which only formally was under Byzantine sovereignty. In 1205, the Republic of Venice eventually managed to conquer the city. In 1358, after the Peace of Zadar, the city regained its independence, this time under formal Croat-Hungarian rule which lasted until 1526. From the 14th until the 16th century, the city was an important trading nation in the adriatic sea. At the end of the 16th century the city state kept a fleet of 200 ships and 5000 seamen. In 1808 the independece of the city state was ended by Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna 1815 Dubrovnik/Ragusa became part of the Austrian Empire where it remained until 1918. The rich history and the perfect condition of the old town earned Dubrovnik the name 'Pearl of the Adriatic'. Despite being declared a World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO in 1979 (see also list of other UNESCO heritage sites), Dubrovnik suffered damage during the Yugoslav Wars of Secession in 1991. Seven palaces in the historic town centre were destroyed completely and many other historic buildings were damaged by the bombardement by the Yugoslav Army. Major restoration works are in progress since then.
The only building easily recognizable on the small picture on glass no. 328 [near left] is the
cathedral Sveta Gospa (Ascension of Our Lady)
[centre] with its large cupola.
Archeological finds prove the existence of a church from the 7th century on
this spot. The next church was a Romanesque cathedral built in the 11th/12th century.
According to a legend, this church was built with the money that the English King Richard the Lionhearted
donated for having been saved when became shipwrecked on the island of Lokrum
on his return from the crusade in 1192. This church was destroyed by the
large earthquake of 1667. The new cathedral was built between 1673 and 1713
in italian Baroque style. The interior contains important paintings by
Tiziano, Andrea del Sarto and Parmigianino and others. The treasury of the
cathedral was one of the largest in Europe until the earthquake of 1667. It
still contains more than hundred reliquiaries from the 9th century onwards.
the most valuable pieces are the reliquiaries of the hand and skull of the
town's patron, St. Blaise (Blasius, in Croatian: Vlaha), dating from the 11th and 12th century.
The Rectors' Palace [left, no. 2832: right], one of the most significant monuments of profane architecture on the Croatian coast, was the administrative centre of the Dubrovnik Republic. Its style is basically Gothic, with Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions. In the 15th century the Palace was destroyed twice in gunpowder explosions. Restored in late Gothic style after the first explosion in 1435, the Palace got its present-day size with the central atrium and front portico. The second gunpowder explosion in 1463 destroyed the western facade of the Palace, which was subsequently restored in Renaissance style. After the earthquake of 1667 the atrium was partially reconstructed with an impressive Baroque staircase. During his one-month mandate the Rector of Dubrovnik lived in the Palace, which also housed the Minor and Major Council hall, the Rectors residence, the courtroom, administration office, prisons, an arsenal and gunpowder store-house. Today the Rectors Palace houses the Cultural-historic Department of the Dubrovnik Museum. [http://www.tzdubrovnik.hr/eng/vodic_novost.php?id=1539&id_main=1517#.UfDYSaxqeSo]
The Sponza Palace [left, no. 2832: background centre], which also served as the mint and arsenal, was constructed in the 16th century. The Palace was the liveliest commercial centre of the City, and in the 17th century it became the meeting place of members of the Academy of the Learned, who used to discuss literature, arts and science. Today the Sponza Palace houses the Dubrovnik Archives, considered to be among the richest in Europe. [http://www.tzdubrovnik.hr/eng/vodic_novost.php?id=1534&id_main=1517#.UfDMbqxqeSo]
The City Bell-Tower [left, no. 2832: background right] was built in 1444. The large bell was cast in 1506. The two famous figures called Zelenci, who strike the hours with their hammers, were cast in bronze at the same period. The Tower was damaged in the earthquake of 1667. In order to prevent the collapse, the old Bell-Tower was rebuilt in 1929 and the original figures of Zelenci were replaced by their copies. The originals are now exhibited at the Sponza Palace Atrium. [http://www.tzdubrovnik.hr/eng/vodic_novost.php?id=1533&id_main=1517#.UfDMlqxqeSo]
The church of St. Blaise [left, no. 2832: background left] was constructed in 17061715 in the flamboyant Venetian Baroque style on the site of a previous, 14th century Romanesque church. Damaged during the earthquake for the first time, the old church had been destroyed completely by the devastating fire in 1706. Everything disappeared in flames, apart from the silver statue of St. Blaise. After years spent in exile at the Church of St Nicholas at Prijeko, the statue was returned to its old place when the new church was completed in 1715. St. Blaise (sv. Vlaha) has been honoured as the patron saint of Dubrovnik from the 10th century. According to the chroniclers of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise saved the people of Dubrovnik in the 10th century when the Venetians anchored their ships in Gruž and in front of the Island of Lokrum. [http://www.tzdubrovnik.hr/eng/vodic_novost.php?id=1556&id_main=1548#.UfDY-KxqeSo]
The island depicted in the background of the picture on glass no. 2748 [right]