DUBROVNIK DIGEST >> OLD TOWN

OLD TOWN >> Dubrovnik Cathedral


Dubrovnik Cathedral

[ View map ]

Today's Dubrovnik Cathedral is in fact the third built on the same spot. The first was built in the Byzantine Empire and was only recently discovered. It's still not known exactly when it was built but many theories on that have since come about.

 

It is known however that a Roman cathedral was built on this spot and was destroyed during the great earthquake. The Roman cathedral is connected to one of the greatest Dubrovnik legends that the cathedral had been built with a donation by the English King Richard The Lionheart. The legend goes that on his return from the Crusades, Richard's ship was caught in a big storm, during which he promised that if he survived it, he would build a church on that site. It's a historical fact that King Richard did dock on Lokrum and wished to build a church there –from here the legend was born. However, the city's powerful convinced him to instead, donate 100,000 gold ducat sfor the construction of a cathedral.

 

So why a legend and not fact? Firstly, in old Dubrovnik records it is written that the money donated by the English king was not the amount required for the construction of a cathedral. A 100,000 ducats was a real fortune ta that time, meaning three cathedrals could have been built with that money. Secondly, the Dubrovnik Roman cathedral was built at least 100 years prior to the start of teh Crusades which happend at teh end of the 12th Century. It's most likely that King Richard did dock in the Dubrovnik area and donated a smaller amount for the building of the cathedral, but the Dubrovnik authorities wished to use his influence, or rtaher marketing power, and so exaggerated the whole story.

 

What happened later on with the cathedral is much clearer. The Roman cathedral was destroyed during the great earthquake of 1667, after which its rebuilding took place. Despite public finances being bad, the replacement building was an imposing one. It was designed in the Baroque style by Italian architect Andrea Buffalini and was completed in 1713. The interior of the cathedral is beautiful, decorated with important works of art. Thus, above the main altar built of blue marble is a picture of the Assumption from the 16th Century, by the great Italian artist Tiziano.

 

In the cathedral's treasury you can see many gold and silver reliquaries, the most famous one being the reliquary of St. Blaise from the 11th Century which is in the shape of a crown of the Byzantine Empire and decorated with medaljons mad eof enamel and other precious stones. It was made by Dubrovnik goldsmith's. There is also known relic of the shroud of Jesus and the treasury also has many paintings by Italian, Croatian, Flemish and other masters.



more texts