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Attractions walkthrough

Orlando's Pillar, the work of the local sculptor Antun Dubrovčanin and the master sculptor Bonino da Milano, was erected in front of the church of St. Blaise in 1418.
The pillar symbolized the free commerce of the City and was generally a symbol of liberty, from which the flag of Dubrovnik with the inscription Libertas streamed on all festive occasions. Public punishments were carried out underneath this pillar, and today the opening of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is announced from Orlando's pillar.

Turning of the Stradun on the south-east, we arrive at the most important building of the City, the Rector's Palace, the seat of the rector and the administrative building of the Republic of Dubrovnik.

This beautiful gothic Renaissance building has a very dramatic history.

From the time its erection started in the romanesque period, the building was destroyed several times by gunpowder explosions, fires and numerous earthquakes, of which the most catastrophic was the one in 1667.

After its reconstruction in the late 17th century, the Palace also acquired some baroque characteristics in the disposition of space, the beautiful staircase etc.
There is an interesting inscription in Latin on the door leading to the hall of the Great Council which reads

"Obliti privatorum, publica curate"
(Forget private affairs, attend to public business)

This is certainly an inscription which could appropriately be placed at the entrance to our new administration builduings.

The facade of the Rector's Palace was reconstructed in the mid - 15th century with beautiful arches and richly sculptured capitals, the most noteworthy of which is the last one on the right, the so called capital of Aesculapius, dating from the period of the architectural alterations carried out on the Palace by Onofrio de la Cava in 1440.

In the atrium of the Palace there is a monument, the bust of the wealthy Dubrovnik seafarer from Lopud, Miho Pracat.

It is interesting to mention that the aristocracy of Dubrovnik debated for several years about where to put this monument, because they owed this plebeian gratitude for his contribution of large amounts of gold which he donated to the Republic at a time of great economic crisis, and yet they did not want a plebeian to be accorded too much respect.

The wisest solution to this problem was provided by an old councillor who, to avoid placing the monument in a public square, suggested that it be placed in the Palace atrium because it would be less seen there, and he justified this with the words,

"It would not be good to put it somwhere outside, because it would not be fitting to have cats or dogs pee on it".

for more on Rector's Palace click here

South of the Rector's Palace is the Cathedral of Dubrovnik, a baroque building erected on the foundations of a romanesque cathedral which was completly demolished in the earthquaqe of 1667.

During repairs to the cathedral an even older basilica dating from Byzantine times, from the 6th or 7th century, was discovered. The church contains an exceptionally rich treasury. The cathedral is also famous for the very valuable paintings by old masters.
The altar polyptich is the work, of the Italian Renaissance master Tizian.

Across the very pitoresque square, called Bunićeva Poljana, one reaches Gundulićeva poljana, where a monument to the greatest Dubrovnik poet Dživo Gundulić, the work of the sculptor Ivan Rendić of Split, was put up in 1893.

They say the poet's face has a worried look because the vegetables and fruit sold by his pedestal are the most expensive anywhere, and also because the pigeons are bad-mannered enough to persistently belittle the great poet.

The most beautiful steps, the work of the Italian master Passalaque, were built on the south side of this square in the baroque period after the earthquaqe of 1667.

These elegant steps, built in a convex-concave form, lead to the elevated poljana Rudjera Boškovića where the Collegium ragusinum, the Jesuit monastery and the baroque church of St. Ignatius are situated. One of the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and physicist of international repute, Rudjer Bošković, after whom the square is named, lived and worked in this monastery for a time.

On returning down the steps to Gundulićeva poljana, one should turn into a side street on the north-west part of the square to arrive at Zlatarićeva Street where the first orphanage was situated.

From 1344 the women of Dubrovnik brought their children who were born out of wedlock here.

Wrapped in dark veil, the woman approached the orphanage door at night and laid the baby on a specially built rotating platform, called the "ruota", rang the bell and melted into the night. They say that anyone who dared approach the unhappy mother and discover her indentity was most severly punished, either by exile from the City or by death.

If we continue our walk down Zlatarićeva street it will lead us back to the Stradun, and we shall finish our short strall with a visit to the beautiful Renaissance convent of the Poor Clares, which is situated opposite the Francisian monastery.

Since this was a convent mostly inhabited by daughters of aristocratic families, evil tongues claim that there is an underground passageway connecting it to the monastery of the Friars minor. The story about such "forbidden close encounters" is supported by a sculptural composition representing a friar with two women, standing above the Pile gate.

Since we have finished our short historical stroll through the City, it is up to you to decide whether you wish to walk once more down the world's most beautiful promenade, the famous Stradun or Placa, and turn into another parallel street, Prijeko, where there are beautiful gothic-Renaissance palaces and equally interesting restaurants, and sit down with a drink in your hand to listen to the twittering of the swifts and enjoy the city, which the inhabitants call simply the City.

You can also stroll to the Gradska Kavana, (the City Caffe) because its southern terrace affords a view of the old port, the fortress of St.John and the Ploče quarter, while the cafe itself is in the harmonius space of the former Dubrovnik Arsenal, situated between the City Belltower and the Town Hall.

Here we end our walk with the Dubrovnik greeting:
Fare ye well !

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