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Sponza Palace | Dubrovnik | How to make Your visit unforgettable

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to explore Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik? This amazing building stands between the Dominican Monastery and the Bell Tower, forming a captivating part of the city’s architectural ensemble within the Dubrovnik’s Old Town. In fact, many people visit the palace to learn about its history and enjoy beautiful architecture.

This article 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 architecture, get ready to discover the Sponza!

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Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik Old Town

Sponza Palace FAQ

So, let’s start by answering some of the most frequent questions about it!

Is Sponza Palace worth visiting?

Sponza Palace has stunning architecture and deep history, however only a part of it is open to the public. In addition to the impressive architectural mix of late-Gothic and Renaissance styles, the palace is home to the Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik, dedicated to those who lost their lives defending Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s. Sponza is also home to the State Archives, though not open to the public, visitors can see copies of the most significant documents displayed on the ground floor. Keep in mind that visitors are allowed to visit only the ground floor and atrium.

How much is admission to Sponza Palace?

The admission fee in 2024 is 4€, however it can vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before your visit. Sometimes, they might have special exhibitions that could change the usual entry cost. Generally, though, it’s affordable.

Is Sponza Palace included in the Dubrovnik pass?

No, Sponza Palace is not included in the Dubrovnik Pass. However, Dubrovnik pass gives you access to many of the city’s top attractions for one price. It’s a smart way to save money and see lots of cool places but currently it’s not including Sponza admission.

What’s inside Sponza Palace?

Inside Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik are kept State Archives, which hold a treasure trove of historical documents. These documents in fact tell the story of Dubrovnik’s rich history, from government records to personal letters. However, they are not open to the public. Visitors can see copies of the most significant documents displayed on the ground floor. Visitors can also walk Sponza’s Palace atrio and visit the Memorial Room.

What’s the history of Sponza’s Palace?

Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik has a rich history dating back to the 16th century. It was built as a customs house and later served multiple purposes, including a mint, treasury, and bank. Over the years, it survived earthquakes and wars, standing as a testament to Dubrovnik’s resilience and cultural heritage.

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Sponza’s Palace History

Walking into Sponza Palace is like flipping through Dubrovnik’s history book. This beautiful building isn’t just something pretty to look at; it’s in fact filled with stories of trade, running the city, and cultural happenings.

The tale of Sponza Palace goes way back. It used to be the “Great Customs House,” crucial for Dubrovnik’s trading scene. Records from the 1300s already mention it, showing how vital this spot was for the city’s trade. Dubrovnik was booming with business, and the customs house was right in the middle of it all, handling goods and traders from far away.

 

But as Dubrovnik’s trade business boomed, the city needed a bigger, more impressive place. It was a golden era for the city, and they were running out of space. So, in the 1400s, they decided to build the Sponza Palace we see now. This step mixed practical needs with a wish to show off Dubrovnik’s riches and cultural taste.

Did you know: The courtyard and front of the building are full of detailed carvings, writings, and statues, including a special one of St. Blaise, the city’s protector.

Then came Paskoje Miličević, an architect with big dreams, who worked on this project from 1516 to 1520. He didn’t just see a customs office; he saw a symbol of Dubrovnik’s spirit. By bringing together the old customs building, storage areas, a rainwater collector, and spots for artisans, he indeed made a central spot for the city’s busy trade life. The result? A beautiful piece of late-Gothic architecture that’s lasted through the years.

Even a massive earthquake in 1667 couldn’t take down Sponza Palace. Its survival in fact added to its rich story, showing Dubrovnik’s never-give-up attitude. Through the ups and downs of Dubrovnik’s Republic and natural disasters, Sponza Palace stood tall, a proud reminder of the city’s glorious and tough times.

Inscription on Sponza Palace, “FALLERE NOSTRA VETANT; ET FALLI PONDERA; MEQUE PONDERO CUM MERCES PONDERAT IPSE DEUS,” means “Our scales don’t let us cheat or be cheated. When I weigh goods, God is weighing with me.”

Sponza Palace wasn’t just about trade and customs; it was the heart of public life. It had everything from a customs office to a coin mint, an armory, and even a school and printing house. Its walls have heard the chatter of merchants, artisans, thinkers, and nobles, making it a live museum of Dubrovnik’s social history.

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Beautiful Luža Square with Sponza Palace and Bell Tower

Sponza Today

Firstly, Sponza Palace is home to the most valuable archival materials of Dubrovnik and its surrounding areas. With around 20,000 items, these archives span in fact from the mid-14th century all the way to the early 20th century, offering a panoramic view of Dubrovnik’s evolution over centuries.

Sponza Palace is also home to the Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik, which is dedicated to those who lost their lives defending Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s.

Sponza Palace is also a hub for various cultural events and manifestations in Dubrovnik. The opening ceremony of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which is one of the city’s most prominent cultural events, takes place annually in front of Sponza Palace on July 10th. This event marks the beginning of a series of performances, including music, theater, dance, and more, showcasing both local and international artists.


Must-see Dubrovnik Attractions


Simple Guide to Reaching Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Old Town Map
The Dubrovnik Old Town Map marks Sponza Palace as No 9.

Heading to Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik? Great choice! To get there, you’ll be entering Dubrovnik’s Old Town. So, here’s what you need to know to make your visit smooth and enjoyable.

Things to Know Before You Go

InformationDetails
AttractionSponza Palace
Open Hours8 AM to 7 PM, Daily (including Sundays)
Admission Fee4,0 €
Distance from Pile Gate450 meters / 1476 feet
Walking Time from Pile Gate6 minutes
Distance from Ploče Gate260 meters / 853 feet
Walking Time from Ploče Gate3 minutes
Sponza Palace Opening Hours

First Things First: Tickets

Before you can enter Sponza Palace, you’ll in fact need a ticket. You can buy these tickets for a cost of 4,00€ per person at the entrance.

Sponza Palace is wheelchair users friendly, and keep in mind you can only access the ground floor!

How to get to Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE ON HOW TO GET TO AND FROM DUBROVNIK AIRPORT TO OLD TOWN

Dubrovnik’s Old Town has, in fact, three entrances: Pile Gate, Ploče Gate and Buža Gate. Making it easy to start your adventure from different points of the Old Town.

Sponza Palace is located between Dominican Monastery and the Bell Tower in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. So, if you’re coming from direction of the Pile Gate, walk to the end of Stradun street to Luža Square. Sponza Palace will be on your left.

Similarly, if you’re coming from the direction of Ploče Gate, walk straight down St. Dominik for 3 minutes, passing Revelin Fortress and Dominican Monastery on your left, to find Sponza Palace on your right.

Keep in mind Dubrovnik’s Old Town is pedestrian, so if you are driving, park outside the city and walk.

Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik location on Google Maps.


Discover More of Dubrovnik

For further exploration of Dubrovnik, check out Dubrovnik 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
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