OLD TOWN >> Onofrio's Fountain

Onofrio's Fountain

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The large Onofrio's Fountain is located at the evry entrance to the Old Town from the west (see map).


Dubrovnik in the old days had big problems with water because the summers are long and dry. They had boats that supplied the city with water because the wells were insufficient  and then at the beginning of the 15th Century made a great step in civilisation. Nothing similar had been done until then in Europe. The Senate decided to bring water into the city from a spring near the village Knežice (near Šumet) which is nearly 12 kilometres away from the city walls.


The project was entrusted ti the renowned Italian architect Onofrio from Cava, south of Naples. The project was very expensive but Onofrio was sure he would succeed and said that if there were any problems, he would bear the costs.


Finally, he brought water supply to the city, going around Srd hill and the total drop in heigh from source to water reservoir was 20 metres! Seventy litres of water flowed per second. Many were tempted to steal from the water supply for land and cattle so the Senate decreed that anyone who illegally took water would have their right hand cut off. When Onofrio brought water to Dubrovnik, he built  two fountains, one large and small.


At the large fountain, built in 1438, water pours out from 16 spouts. It was wealthily decorated when built. In the great earthquake of 1667 it was very badly damaged and so today's appearance is noticably more humble than that of 500 years years ago. It was once again damaged during the Homeland War by two grenades. 


Locals used Onofrio's fountains as a main source of water all te way up to the end of the 19th Century when a modern water supply was installed thats upplied homes directly. However, the water in the fountains remains drinkable today so feel free to have a drink when wandering around town


Marin Držić set parts of his comedy Stanac beside the large and small Onofrio's Fountains .



Little Onofrio's Fountain


Little Onofrio's Fountain is located on the opposite side of the Stradunon teh wall of the Mian Guard. Its phenomenal Gothic decoration was the work of Pietro di Martino of Milan.


In the Middle Ages it had a religious significance too. It was used only by Christians, while close by was a so-called Jewish fountain (today it doesn't exist) which was used by Dubrovnik Jews .



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