Built in the early 16th century as the Republic of Ragusa customs house, Dubrovnik’s Sponza Palace was one of the few buildings not leveled by the devastating 1667 earthquake. It’s architecturally stunning, with a Renaissance portico, late-Gothic windows, inner courtyards, and an alcove containing a statue of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint.
In addition to the impressive architectural mix of late-Gothic and Renaissance styles, Sponza Palace is 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 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.
As one of Old Town Dubrovnik’s top sights, Sponza Palace is included in most private and small-group walking tours of the city along with other notable landmarks such as the Church of St. Blaise, Orlando’s Column, and Rector’s Palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sponza Palace is a must-see for architecture and history buffs.
- An admission fee is required to enter the palace, though it is free to enter the memorial room.
- The palace is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Sponza Palace is located on the east end of the Stradun, the limestone-paved main street within the pedestrian-only walls of Old Town Dubrovnik. If driving, park outside the walls and walk or take a bus to Old Town.
When to Get There
The palace is open daily with reduced hours during the winter months. Old Town Dubrovnik can get packed with tourists during summer, so visit early in the morning if you wish to avoid the crowds (and the midday heat). The Dubrovnik Summer Festival kicks off each July in front of the Sponza Palace, making it a particularly lively time to visit.
The Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik
This heartbreaking memorial remembers those who lost their lives defending their homes during the 1991 Homeland War, also known as the Croatian War of Independence. The memorial contains photographs of the individuals who perished and of the damage that Dubrovnik sustained during the war.