Rector’s Palace Dubrovnik (Knežev Dvor)

Rector’s Palace located in Ulica Pred Dvorom, Dubrovnik

A well known Rector’s Palace located in Ulica Pred Dvorom, just south of Luža Square is an iconic building that was originally built in the 13th century and rebuilt later on two occasions in a Venetian-Gothic style designed by Michelozzo Michelozzi. In times of Raguza, the Rector’s Palace housed government and state offices as well as Rector’s headquarters and living accommodation. Nowadays, the palace house the Town Museum – Gradski Muzej as well as a music concert hall.

The palace is opened for visitors daily from 9:00 until at least 19:00. The admission is 100 HRK and 50 HRK for children and students. See some Palace photos below as well as some more here

The Western Facade of Rector’s Palace:

The western facade of the palace, that also includes the main entrance (portal) features arcades and arches supported by lovely carved pillars and capitals. The entrance wall of the palace, with its arcade and arches, and beautifully carved capitals embellish the front facade.

Palace’s Portal:

portal of rectors Palace in Dubrovnik

The western facade of the palace is dominated by an exceptionally decorative portal of the Palace that is embellished by with numerous intricate carved details of colonnade, columns and its capitals. The entire entrance is covered by a front loggia which creates an attractive surrounding. This part of the Palace is very popular among visitors to sit in its shade and enjoy the views of the square and surroundings(above photo).

Interior Atrium and Courtyard of Rector’s Palace:

Interior Atrium and Courtyard

The palace’s interior atrium and the courtyard feature rows of columns embellished with its Corinthian capitals. The dominant Baroque staircase leads to the mezzanine gallery. Bellow the arch of the staircase, there is a small fountain built in the 15th-century. On the right side, just before you approach the staircase, there is a monument created by Piero Paolo Giacometti, the Italian sculptor. It was erected in 1638 in honour to Miho Pracat, the local self-made wealthy man, who left his entire wealth to the Republic.
Due to an exceptional acoustic in the atrium, space is nowadays used as a venue for classical, chamber music concerts, often featured in Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

History of the Rector’s Palace:

Similar to a Republic itself, the Palace had a turbulent history. Damaged and almost completely destroyed on several occasions by either shellings, explosions, fires or earthquakes, despite all, the palace still stands today as beautiful as ever. The last time it was rebuilt was after two explosions in 1435 and 1463 by Onofrio di Giordana Della Cava from Naples and Salvio de Michele, the prominent Florence architect. The palace was again damaged in 1667 earthquake and repaired later on so nowadays it is actually the combination of three architectural styles – the basic Gothic palace remodelled by Renaissance and Baroque add-ons.

Initially, the palace was built for the elected Rector (Knez) to live in for the duration of his one-month-long mandate. During his mandate, the Rector was permitted to leave the Palace for official occasions only.

He lived here on his own, leaving his family at home. For centuries, one of his daily duties was to make sure every evening the town gates were locked and the town keys were given to him to look after them until the following morning when he handed them back to the city guards.

Beside the home of the Rector, the Palace was also the headquarter of the Republic’s Small Council (Consilium minus) and its administration as well as main arsenal and dungeon.

After the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic, the Palace was looted by Napoleon forces when many valuable artefacts of City’s cultural heritage was shamefully taken away.

Row of columns embellished with its Corinthian capitals

Photo: A row of columns embellished with its Corinthian capitals

Palace Nowadays:

The Rector’s Palace nowadays is home of the Museum of Dubrovnik. The exhibition halls are displaying the artefacts from the City’s history – the remaining period furniture, paintings, the portraits of the Dubrovnik aristocrats, collections of seals and crests as well as the coins issued by the Republic. The keys to the city gates and the original Dubrovnik Republic’s Code of Conduct is also here as well as archives of the Republic’s Council meetings. The old pharmacy’s “Domus Christi” artefacts from the 15th century are also housed here as well as numerous interesting artefacts from the Town’s history. The interior atrium and courtyard is a fine chamber music venue.

Location Map of Rector’s Palace:

Address:

Ulica Pred Dvorom 3, 20000 Dubrovnik
tel: +385 20 321 497
see the location of Rector’s Palace on a larger map

Photo gallery of Knežev Dvor (Rector’s Palace)