Dubrovnik: Katedrala Marijina Uznesenja


After almost complete destruction in the earthquake of 1667 the former 12th-14th century Romanesque cathedral, the Cathedral for the Assumption of the Virgin, was built in the late 17th century. Historical records indicate that the former cathedral was a magnificent basilica with a cupola and richly decorated with sculpture. Part of the money to build the church was contributed by King Richard the Lion Heart after he survived a ship wreck near the island of Lokrum in 1192. Foundations of an earlier cathedral were discovered during restoration work in 1981. The architectural features discovered suggest that it was built in the 7th century.


One of the leading intellectuals of Dubrovnik, Stjepan Gradic, was to play an important role in the plans to restore the ruined cathedral. In Rome at the time, Gradic used his influence with his friends to find help for the rebuilding of his native city. His plan was to renew the cathedral in the form of the Roman Baroque and suggested to the Republic that they employ Roman architect Andrea Buffalini of Urbino. Buffalini designed the new cathedral as a Roman Baroque church with three aisles and a cupola. The four high Corinthian columns dominate the main portal. The building of the church began in 1671 and was finished in 1713 by the local architect Ilija Katicic.


The cathedral has several fine late Baroque altars, as above, built in marble. The treasury of Dubrovnik cathedral was one of the richest in the Adriatic coast. The treasury has many reliquaries and church vessels from the 13th to the 18th century.

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