Državni arhiv u Dubrovniku

  • Dubrovnik State Archive
  • DADU


From the Dubrovnik State Archive web-site: "According to the quantity of material that is stored in it, according to its age and above all values, the National Archives in Dubrovnik is one of the richest in the region, alongside those in the Vatican, Vienna, Venice or Istanbul."

Since its early days, Dubrovnik, a medieval city - a commune, and then a republic - that is an independent state - payed great attention to the written word and the manner of protecting documents. Some are very valuable; especially valuable certificates are kept in the most holy place - in the city cathedral, among the relics of saints. It is to this love and care of old Dubrovnik towards a written document, that we thank today the fact archive repositories stretch nearly a thousand years - since the beginning of the 11th century until the present.

But certainly, the most valuable are those that belong to archival collections of the Dubrovnik Republic. The oldest original document kept here dates from the year 1022. This is a bull of Pope Benedict VIII addressed to the then Archbishop of Dubrovnik Vital.

As a community whose overall development was based not on war but rather on trade, Dubrovnik concluded several agreements on friendship and free trade with similar communes from the Adriatic wider cultural sphere, in the 12th and 13th centuries. With them preserved are many charters of peace and trade with rulers and nobles from nearby and far Balkan hinterland with which Dubrovnik was often in conflict because of their threat to the small territory of Dubrovnik and free trade.

The growing momentum of trade had, indirectly, inspired the founding of the Dubrovnik archives. That year, 1278, Dubrovnik authorities, and due to the increasing number of commercial and other activities, which had to be concluded in written form, decided to establish a municipal notary office. So this year for the first notary public was appointed, Italian Tomasino de Saver. Tomasino and his successors diligently typed various shopping and purchase agreements of the parties in the notary books, certificates of borrowing money, marriage contracts, wills of Dubrovnik aristocrats and commoners - in short everything that characterized the daily life of the city. These notary book today allow us to look into every detail, through the centuries, monitor and study Dubrovnik living microcosmos, to find out how they are assembled certain jobs, what was traded, who is married with whom, who was rich and who is poor and much, much more.

Statute of Dubrovnik and Customs statute, from the late 13th century, and various other legal books, decisions Dubrovnik Council, the supreme authority, which in continuity can be traced from 1301 until the French occupation and the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic in 1808, provide a wealth of data on state-legal structure of Dubrovnik and its relation to foreign rulers and states. In 1358 ceased the supreme authority of Venice over Dubrovnik. From then until 1526, Dubrovnik in its supreme sovereign recognizes the Croatian-Hungarian king, and over the centuries has paid tribute to the mighty Ottoman sultans. Still, at least from the early 15th century, Dubrovnik rightfully is called a republic - an independent, sovereign and internationally recognized state. Around the Mediterranean and Europe Dubrovnik Republic, over many centuries had its consulates and other diplomatic missions in the courts of many foreign rulers. Numerous traces of these contacts - operating messengers, letters consuls, and various charters of Europe of that time and of world statesmen, kings and emperors, from Spain, Vatican City, Austria, Turkey, over the rulers of Germany, France, England, to Russia and the United States , are carefully preserved in the archives of Dubrovnik.

The largest number of archive of books and documents, particularly from the early period, was written in Latin, which was then the official diplomatic language, but there are lots of documents in Italian and Croatian, and Turkish (over 15,000 Turkish laws) and, in to a lesser extent, in Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Russian and Armenian language.

The overall structure of the National Archives in Dubrovnik, divided into more than 400 funds and collections, occupies an area of ​​over eight per linear kilometers, and the most precious funds, of the Dubrovnik Republic, contains over 7,000 bound books and more than 100,000 independent documents, including the manuscripts and printed books of very famous scientists and writers (Gundulić, Palmotić, Getaldić, Bošković - to name just a few), but also a rich collection of old maps, photographs, postcards, newspapers, magazines and various plans and sketches.


The Sponza Palace (Croatian: Palača Sponza), also called Divona (from dogana, customs), is a 16th-century palace in Dubrovnik, Croatia, built in a mixed Gothic and Renaissance style. It was built between 1516 and 1522, and has served a variety of public functions, including as customs office, treasury, bank, mint and school. The palace became the cultural center of the Republic of Ragusa with the establishment of the Academia dei Concordi, a literary academy, in the 16th century. The palace's atrium served as a trading center and business meeting place. An inscription on an arch testifies to this public function:

Fallere nostra venant et falli pondera. Meque pondero cum merces ponderat ipse deus. "Our weights do not permit cheating. When I measure goods, God measures with me."

The palace is now home to the city archives. The square before it is used for the opening ceremony of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Archival and Other Holdings

Archival holdings of the Jewish Community in Dubrovnik was destroyed during WW2, and most archival holding with regard to the city's Jewish population or the remembrance of it refers to the after-war period. Mrs Radmila Šutalo is working on her PhD thesis on the history of Dubrovnik Jews (r.sutalo@gmail.com). Most valuable artefact is probably a school diary from the end of the 19th century/ 1900s, from the Dubrovnik Jewish Elementary School.

Opening Times

Working days: 8.15 - 15 Saturdays: 8.15 - 13.30