Dubrovnik: Sponza Palace

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Located at the end of Place is the well preserved Gothic-Renaissance Sponza Palace. Its name is derived from the word for the spot where rain water was collected Spongia – meaning alluvium. The palace was built between 1516-1522 and housed the mint, the bank, the treasury and the armoury in the time of the Republic. The building was designed by Paskoje Milicevic and is a large rectangular building with an inner courtyard.

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The Sponza Palace was not damaged in the earthquake of 1667. The most important cultural institution of Dubrovnik – the Archive, is now housed in Sponza Palace. In the times of the Republic, the archives were kept in the Rector’s Palace.

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Almost all documents that cover the period between the 12th century and the fall of the Republic are to be found in Sponza. Such is the wealth of records, it is one of the most important historical archives in the world. The official languages of the documents were Latin and Italian but many are in Croatian,Turkish, Spanish, Russian, New Greek and Arabic.

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In the time of the Republic this palace housed the custom office and bonded warehouse. It was often referred to as Divona derived from dogana meaning “customs”. The word ‘dogana’ is above the doorway entrance into the palace and underneath the coat of arms.

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