The Rector’s Palace is one of the most representative museums of Dubrovnik containing numerous pieces of furniture as well as paintings of both local and foreign artists throughout the centuries. . As early as the 13th century, we come across mentions of this luxurious gothic and renaissance building. The Palace has survived two powerful gunpowder explosions in the 15th century and the Big earthquake of 1667, which changed it greatly. The redecoration of the Palace was conducted by the great masters; Onofira, Michelozzo and Juraj Dalmatinac, as well as many others in gothic and renaissance styles. Visitors can see the Rector’s office, bedroom, painted halls and the infamous dungeons of the Republic of Dubrovnik, the most famous of them being ‘Beneath the dragon’, in which a prisoner could not last longer than five or six years.
The Franciscan Monastery is the national treasury of culture and arts housing the renowned Romanic-gothic cloister built by Mihoje Brajkov in the 14th century. It is one of the most visited museums in this part of Europe thanks to the unique harmony of the Church of the Little Brothers, the cloister and the peaceful monastery, home to one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe dating from 1317, as well as a library which contains numerous literary and musical pieces of the Croatian culture. Among other literary jewel, it contains the only preserved copy of Marulić’s Judith and Antifonala first editions, a lot of historical archives, etc. A wing of the monastery holding the archive and the library burned down in the fire following the Big earthquake of 1667. The Franciscan Monastery also holds a beautiful garden with oranges and medicinal plants once used by the Franciscan pharmacy. Unfortunately, in 1991 the monastery was hit by 37 missiles, which ruined the stone beauty of its cloister. A part of the library burnt again, and in such a way a part of the priceless culture of the countries of the Adriatic Sea was lost once more. Today, almost everything has been restored and returned to its original shape, so the cloister and the museum again host different visitors, world artists and state officials.
Sponza or Dogana is the famous customs office built in the renaissance style of the 16th century, the work of the great architect of Dubrovnik, Paskoje Miličević. The Sponza Palace is the centre of Dubrovnik’s trade and the well-known money mint, which survived all the attacks, the earthquake, the time itself and manages to preserve its original appearance. Sponza is today a highly visited museum due to the many offers which it provides for its guests. Throughout history, Sponza was a place where bankers made the maritime industry of Dubrovnik different from most of the world (due to ship, crew and goods insurance), it was also the Poetry Academy, the painting school of Dubrovnik, granary, etc. Nowadays, the palace is a state archive preserving more than 10, 000 records which clarify the history of Dubrovnik, and which is considered one of the most well-kept European archives. Apart from that, you can see a beautiful relief of Galicus on the front side of this beautiful palace’s atrium, and visit the exhibition part of the archives.
The Dominican Monastery is the biggest Gothic building in Dalmatia. It was finished in the 14th century, even though the fraternity reaches as far back as 1225. The architectural drafts were designed by the famous Michelozo di Bartolomeo, and the construction was conducted by different local and one foreign master Bonino di Milano, who designed the southern portal of the Church. Due to its acoustic and romantic atmosphere, it is a favourite spot of many an artist’s concerts. The monastery houses a beautiful gothic-renaissance cloister with wonderfully crafted rosettes and arches which connect the space into a unique whole. It also holds a pharmacy, and a very rich library, relics and the largest collection of paintings by the Painting School of Dubrovnik. The Dominican monastery church is a museum in itself thanks to the supreme work of Paolo Veneziano and his gothic crucifix, as well as Bukovac’s altar, the two of which make the space truly special and interesting for the lovers of sacral architecture and painting.
The Maritime Museum is located in the St John fortress and contains more than 4000 pieces representing the famous naval history of the territory of Dubrovnik. Different models and paintings follow the development of ships throughout the centuries, and others reflect the harmony of architecture and craft which led the building of the harbor to one of the most valuable places of the world of the times.
The ethnographic museum Rupe is located in a building originating from 1590 and presents the granary of the Republic with its three silos built in hard stone. The importance of grain supplies was crucial for Dubrovnik because the neighboring land was not amenable for grain growing, which meant that the people of Dubrovnik had to import it from different parts of the world, primarily Sicily. The top rooms of the museum contain a wealthy collection of folk costumes from the wider Dalmatian territory, as well as agricultural tools used for land processing from the very beginnings of Dubrovnik.