Knežev Dvor used to be the seat of the government, as well as of the Duke of the Repubic of Ragusa. Today, the palace was converted into a museum that displays the culture and history of the people of Dubrovnik. The Duke never left the palace during his reign, apart from when state obligations and protocols requested his presence. The draw bridges of Pile and Ploče would be lifted and locked each night, and the Duke used to have the keys during the night, which he would return when the morning came. Inside Knežev Dvor, there used to be large halls reserved for meetings of large and small comitees, a gun storage, a prison, as well as a court room.
The sign at the entrance to the palace reads: “obliti privatorum piblica curate“, which translates as “Forget the private and deal with the public“, which testifies of the importance that the state had to the people of Dubrovnik.
The criminals of the time surely didn’t marvel about the beauty of the palace for too long, as it also held a prison that horrifies visitors even today. The cells were small, dark, and damp, and, as records show us, some prisoners saw almost no daylight or fresh air for 25 years. Most notorious were the so-called “secret prisons“, which held enemies of the state. “Sea prisons“ also existed, which are said to have been prown to flooding during the tide, and some prisoners allegedly even drowned when the sea level was too high. However, these prisons are a thing of the past.
Interestingly, none of the famous officials of the Republic of Ragusa, who visited Knežev Dvor every day, seemed to be bothered by the cries and moans of the prisoners. The atrium of the palace is the most acoustically sound room in the building, and it is a popular concert venue where the world’s best musicians performed. An all-women’s prison also existed, as well as a prison reserved for priests. The Republic of Ragusa was very severe towards those whom it thought were sinfull and malicious, regardless of their gender or occupation.
Today, Knežev Dvor is a museum which displays antique money, seals, furniture, as well as weapon and watch collections from Dubrovnik. The venue holds many classical music concerts during the Dubrovnik Summer Games Festival, as well as traditional Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra performances all year round.
Ticket price for the Rector's Palace
Regular ticket price: 40 kn
Reduced ticket price: 20 kn - for children
Working hours of the Rector's Palace
Summer working hours: every day from 09:00am to 6:00pm
Winter working hours: every day from 09:00am to 4:00pm
Author of the text:
Ana Lazarević - our correspondent for Dubrovnik
Contact: [email protected]