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Dubrovnik Cathedral | How to Make Your Visit Unforgettable

Are you planning to travel to Dubrovnik and visit some of its most popular tourist attractions like Dubrovnik Cathedral? Dubrovnik old town shines with history. From its ancient city walls to its charming squares. But amongst the lively streets lies a treasure: Cathedral of Dubrovnik.

This Dubrovnik travel guide will take you on a journey through it. We’ll tell you all about its interesting past, what you can see and do there, how to get there and how to make the most of your visit. So, whether you love history or just want to see amazing Dubrovnik historic landmarks, get ready to discover the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary!



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Dubrovnik Cathedral FAQ

Let’s start by answering some of the most common questions regarding the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Is Dubrovnik Cathedral free?

Yes, entering Dubrovnik Cathedral to admire its interior and experience its tranquil atmosphere is free. However, if you wish to explore the cathedral’s treasury and view the relics, there is a small charge of 3 euros per person.

What is in Dubrovnik Cathedral?

Beyond its spiritual significance, Dubrovnik Cathedral houses a rich interior with side chapels and artworks from the 17th to 19th centuries by local artists. It also boasts a renaissance painting of Our Lady of Porat and a precious treasury containing valuable religious artifacts and relics.

What relics are held in Dubrovnik Cathedral?

The cathedral’s treasury is home to a remarkable collection of relics. Including the gold-plated arm, leg, and skull of Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Additionally, it houses a relic of the True Cross, among 182 reliquaries spanning from the 11th to 18th centuries.

What are mass times in Dubrovnik Cathedral?

MonthWeekdaysSundaysSpecial Notes
January – June7:30 AM, 6:00 PM9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 6:00 PM
JulyNo morning mass, 8:00 PMNo morning mass, 8:00 PM
AugustNo morning mass, 8:00 PMNo morning mass, 8:00 PMAugust 12th – 15th: Evening mass at 7:00 PM
September – December7:30 AM, 6:00 PM9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 6:00 PM
Mass times in Dubrovnik Cathedral

Is it worth visiting Dubrovnik Cathedral?

Absolutely! Though it might not be as grand as some other European cathedrals, Dubrovnik Cathedral offers a unique insight into the city’s history and culture. The treasury alone, with its collection of impressive relics, makes a visit well worth your time and the small entrance fee.

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary stands as a cornerstone of the Roman Catholic faith in Dubrovnik. This iconic structure, recognized by its distinctive dome, is a highlight in most panoramic shots of the Old Town. Interestingly, its best views are from the city walls, where it can be admired from every direction.

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History

Way back, between the 7th and 8th centuries, the very first cathedral of Dubrovnik was built. Though its exact birth year remains a mystery, it stood proudly at the southern tip of Laus. It was crafted in the beautiful late antique and Byzantine style and was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Fast forward to the 12th century, a new cathedral rose on the same sacred ground. Now, here’s a fascinating twist. Legend has it that King Richard the Lion Heart himself, on his return from the Crusades in 1192, after surviving a shipwreck near the Isle of Lokrum, promised to build a church in honor of the Virgin Mary. Initially, he intended to build it on Lokrum lsland. But was persuaded by the wise folks of Dubrovnik to build it within their city. So, they built a grand basilica, a treasure house of valuable art and artifacts, right on the ruins of the old cathedral.

 

However, the tale takes a somber turn in 1667 when a devastating earthquake struck Dubrovnik. Leaving behind only the cathedral’s foundations and bits of walls about a meter high. The once grand basilica was in ruins.

Rising from the Ashes

But the story doesn’t end there. In 1673, a remarkable man named Stjepan Gradić, a respected Dubrovnik citizen and the Pope’s advisor, decided it was time to rebuild the Cathedral. He wasn’t just any man; he was the head of the Vatican Library in Rome. Gradić wasn’t going to let Dubrovnik’s cathedral remain in ruins. He got to work, raising funds and bringing in architects from Italy, including Andrea Buffallini and Paolo Andreotti, and alongside local talent, they started rebuilding. They envisioned a three-nave basilica crowned with a massive dome at the intersection of the naves.

It was a massive project that took three decades to complete. Other Italian architects in fact joined in, like Francesco Cortese, Pier Antonio Bazzi of Genoa, and Friar Tommaso Napoli of Palermo. But it was a local architect, Ilija Katičić, who had the honor of finishing the building.

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Inside Dubrovnik’s Cathedral

Even though it’s smaller than many old cathedrals in Europe, the inside of Dubrovnik Cathedral still grabs your attention with its big but simple look. This plain style happened because, after the big earthquake, Dubrovnik didn’t have a lot of money to make it fancy.

Right away, the side chapels catch your eye. They house the masterful paintings by local talents like Petar Matei-Matejevic, Benko Stay, and furthermore Carmelo Reggi. Each altar tells a story, a slice of history captured in oil and canvas.

In fact, the cathedral is home to a famous Renaissance painting called Our Lady of Porat. This special painting used to be in the Sigurate Monastery. But now it’s in the cathedral, where it catches everyone’s attention with its calm beauty. Most importantly, every year on Assumption Day, this painting is carried around in a big parade through the city and its harbor. This is a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years and is still a big part of the celebration today.

Inside Dubrovnik’s Cathedral

Moreover, tucked away in the cathedral’s apse is Titian’s masterpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This artwork, originally meant for St. Lazarus Church at Ploče, was moved to the cathedral after the big earthquake. Because it’s so valuable, it now sits proudly behind the main altar. Meanwhile, a copy of the painting is displayed in the place it was first meant to go.

The tale of these art pieces is in fact just as interesting as the artworks. After a big earthquake damaged the cathedral and it was fixed up, the leaders of Dubrovnik had a big ask. They wanted the Lazarina, a group of rich traders and sailors, to give the multi-panel painting to the cathedral. The group said yes, showing how much, they care about their religion and the people in Dubrovnik.

It’s quite cool how Dubrovnik’s people have always tried to get really special paintings from famous Italian artists to give to their cathedral. Because of this, the cathedral’s collection has some priceless paintings from the 13th to the 16th century. Then, in the 17th century, Petar Matei Matejevic added even more beauty by painting the walls and ceiling of the collection room with his designs.

Additionally, the back part of the cathedral, known as the apse, looks amazing with four paintings from the 17th century that show different stories from the Bible. Artists from the Padovanini place made these. There’s also an older painting from the 16th century by Brocardo showing St. Matthew. This one makes the right side of the apse look even more special.

Dubrovnik Cathedral

Treasury and Relics – A Collection Beyond Compare

Stepping into the treasure room of Dubrovnik Cathedral, you enter a world where history and faith shine brightly. This special place is home to many precious items that tell the story of Dubrovnik’s rich past and deep religious beliefs. Despite tough times, like big earthquakes and fires, a lot of these treasures have made it through, letting us peek into a grand and faithful community from long ago.

Here, you’ll find amazing relics, which are sacred items, including parts of saints like St. Blaise, who is very important to the city. The treasures also include beautiful gold and silver items used in church services, made right in Dubrovnik and other places. These relics and items show how much care and respect went into making them, highlighting how deeply the people of Dubrovnik cared about their faith and traditions.

Dubrovnik Cathedral treasury

One of the most unique things here is the Holy Diaper, also known as Jesus’ swaddling clothes. This amazing relic came all the way from the Holy Land and is carefully kept in beautifully decorated cases that show off art styles from across Europe. This attention to detail and the mixture of styles from different places show how skilled and creative the artists were, both from Dubrovnik and from far away.

Dubrovnik has always been a place where art and faith come together, connecting with art centers across Europe. The treasury doesn’t just keep religious items; it also has fancy clothes and jewelry given by the people who go to this church. These pieces, some very old, show how wealthy and stylish Dubrovnik’s people were.

Keeping all these treasures safe in the cathedral tells us a lot about how important Dubrovnik was in the past, not just in Croatia but in all of Europe. The treasure room, with its holy relics and beautiful art, is a place that attracts people from all over, making them wonder and feel inspired. It stands as a reminder of the city’s strong faith and its long, fascinating history.

Dubrovnik Cathedral Today

You’ll find the stunning Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary right in the heart of Dubrovnik old town. It’s an amazing building with a big, fancy style from the baroque period. On top, there are statues of ten saints looking down at you, and there’s also a big tower with three bells. If you’re coming from somewhere else in the city, just head towards the old town walls, and you’ll find it. Surrounding it are narrow streets full of history, and it’s close to other cool spots like the St. Blaise Church and Rector’s Palace.

Finally, no visit to Dubrovnik is complete without walking along the City Walls – they offer incredible panoramic views and a chance to step back in time!

People in Dubrovnik worked hard to make this place after a big earthquake hit the city. They showed everyone that they could rebuild and keep their faith strong, no matter what happened. You get to see how they didn’t give up when things got tough. Instead, they built something beautiful that tells the story of their hope and strength. This cathedral isn’t just a church; it’s a sign that Dubrovnik is a place that keeps going strong, even after disasters.

A Scenic Journey to the Dubrovnik Cathedal with Stops Along the Way

Starting your walk from Pile Gate, Dubrovnik’s Old Town main entrance, head straight down the pedestrian street, Stradun. This busy street is lined with shops and cafes, perfect for grabbing a coffee or souvenir while people-watching.

After a few steps, you’ll come across the beautiful Onofrio’s Fountain, a landmark water source built in the 15th century. Take a moment to admire its intricate carvings before continuing your walk.

Next, you’ll reach Luža Square, the heart of Dubrovnik. Here, you can’t miss the impressive Sponza Palace, a beautiful building that once housed Dubrovnik’s customs office. Towering over the square is a Bell tower.

Continue through Luža Square, after a short stroll, you’ll see the grand facade of Dubrovnik Cathedral on your right.

Planning Your Visit to Cathedral of Dubrovnik

For those looking to explore this spiritual landmark, here are some useful details:

InformationDetails
Opening HoursMonday – Saturday: 8.00 AM – 7.00 PM, Sunday: 11.30 AM – 7.00 PM
Admission FeeFree (Treasury: €3 per person)
Distance from Pile Gate550 meters / 1804 feet
Walking Time from Pile Gate8 minutes
Distance from Ploče Gate400 meters / 1312 feet
Walking Time from Ploče Gate5 minutes
Dubrovnik’s Cathedral Opening Hours and distance from Dubrovnik’s Old Town Gates

Tips for visiting:

  • Visiting the Cathedral of Dubrovnik early in the morning or close to closing time can help avoid the crowds.
  • Keep in mind, when you go to visit, it’s important to stay quiet, wear respectful clothes, and not use your phone. This helps keep the place special and peaceful. Inside the cathedral, you can find a quiet spot to think and relax. But remember, it might get pretty crowded with other people visiting too.

Must-see Dubrovnik attractions


Discover More of Dubrovnik

For further exploration of Dubrovnik, check out our comprehensive travel guide, filled with itineraries, activities, and all you need to plan your visit to this historic city.

Enjoy Your Visit!

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AdriaticExplorer
Greetings, fellow wanderers! I am the AdriaticExplorer, born and raised amidst the stunning landscapes and rich cultural tapestry of Croatia. Nestled between the majestic mountains and the azure Adriatic Sea, I have spent a lifetime immersing myself in the beauty and wonders that Croatia has to offer. Growing up in this enchanting land, I cultivated a deep connection with its diverse regions – from the historic streets of Dubrovnik to the picturesque landscapes of Istria and the sun-kissed shores of Dalmatia. My roots run deep, and my soul is intertwined with the very essence of Croatia. As the AdriaticExplorer, I have made it my mission to know every nook and cranny of this breathtaking country. From hidden gems tucked away in ancient cities to the serene beauty of the Adriatic coastline, my journeys have taken me far and wide, uncovering the secrets that make Croatia truly special. Whether it's the vibrant festivals that echo through the cobbled streets or the tranquil walks along pristine beaches, I am your guide to the heart and soul of Croatia. Join me on this virtual walkabout through the wonders of my homeland, and let's explore the beauty, history, and culture that define Croatia together. So, lace up your virtual hiking boots and embark on a journey with me, the AdriaticExplorer, as we discover the magic of WalkaboutCroatia – your gateway to the soul-stirring experiences that Croatia has to offer. Let the adventure begin! 🇭🇷✨

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