The Catholic Cathedral of Dubrovnik is located in the historic heart of the city and is well protected by the city walls. It is also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin (Katedrala Uznesenja Marijina) and is one of the major buildings inside the city walls.
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Presentation and location of the cathedral
This religious building was built near the historic port in the southeast part of the city. It shouldn’t be missed. The cathedral is located at the end of Pred Dvorom Street, the second most important pedestrian street in the city, behind the Stradum. The Bishop’s Palace and the Rector’s Palace are located nearby. The beautiful Marin Drzic Square offers a beautiful view of the richly decorated entrance.
Visitors will notice that the cathedral is one of the first visual landmarks when they arrive in Dubrovnik. In fact, its dome stands out among the city’s roofs.
Religious sites all over the place
This cathedral is not the first religious building to be built here. In 1979, an important earthquake damaged the city and cracks appeared on the dome, the walls and the facade. During the preliminary work to repair the building, a team of archaeologists discovered an ancient Byzantine basilica dating from the 7th century. This wasn’t the only building they discovered! Buildings from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries were also found on the same site.
Several earthquakes have also been recorded in history, affecting the different religious buildings, in 1520 and especially in 1667 when almost everything was destroyed. This church was apparently financed by Richard the Lionheart.
The last reconstruction ?
Following this earthquake, Rome sent architects to help the city through the support of Stjepan Gradic, rector of the Vatican library. Andrea Buffalini from Urbino drew the initial plans for the new baroque cathedral, along with Cortese, Andreotti, Bazi and Napoli. The final touches were made almost 50 years later by Ilija Katicic, a local architect.
Rome’s influence can be felt in this last renovation. The cathedral rose once again from the ashes in a typical early 18th century baroque style. The exterior is richly decorated and there are many openings that let light in beautifully.
The cathedral is cross-shaped and has a monumental entrance with Corinthian columns, cornices, pediments, statues and balustrades. Its white walls, or coral-colored walls at the altar, make the cathedral very bright, almost hiding the imposing marble altarpieces.
The cathedral’s treasure
The cathedral’s treasure was one of the most important in Europe until the terrible earthquake of 1667. Unfortunately, many of its objects were destroyed. Guarded by 3 keys to as many local dignitaries, the treasure was carefully preserved.
The treasure room can still be visited for a few kuna. There are 182 (!) reliquaries containing fragments of the patron saint of the city, pieces of clothing that belonged to religious figures, but also pieces of silverware and paintings signed by Croatian, Flemish and Italian painters (Titian, Raphael).
You can visit the cathedral for free. We recommend visiting the cathedral early in the morning or at the end of the day to avoid the crowds during peak hours. The cathedral is open from 8am to 8pm except on Sundays (11am to 5:30pm).