Državni arhiv u Dubrovniku

  • Dubrovnik State Archive
  • DADU

History

Since its early days, Dubrovnik, a medieval city, a commune, and then a republic, paid great attention to the protection of valuable documents. Thanks to old Dubrovnik's respect for the written word, today the State Archive's repositories stretch back nearly a thousand years - to the beginning of the 11th century.

Among the most valuable of the archive's collections are those dating back to the time of the Dubrovnik Republic. The oldest original document kept in this collection dates from the year 1022. This is a papal 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 wider Adriatic cultural sphere in the 12th and 13th centuries. Along with these agreements, the archives preserve numerous charters of peace and trade with rulers and lords from the near and further Balkan hinterland, with whom Dubrovnik was often in conflict because of their threat to Dubrovnik’s small territory and free trade. The growth in trade indirectly influenced the creation of the Dubrovnik archives. Notably, in 1278, the Dubrovnik authorities decided to establish a communal notary service in order to deal with the increasing number of commercial and other activities, which required written agreements. The Italian Tomasino de Saver was appointed as the first notary public was appointed. In their notary books, Tomasino and his successors diligently recorded trade and sales agreements, money lending certificates, marriage contracts, wills of Dubrovnik aristocrats and commoners; in short, everything that characterised daily life in the city. These notary books today allow us to look to trace and study the daily micro-life of Dubrovnik throughout the past centuries; to find out how certain jobs were performed; what was traded; who married whom; who was rich and who was poor; and much, much more.

The Statute of the City of Dubrovnik and the Customs statute from the late 13th century, various other legal books, and decisions of the Dubrovnik Council, 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 Dubrovnik's legal system and its relation to foreign rulers and states. In 1358, the supreme authority of Venice over Dubrovnik came to an end. From then until 1526, Dubrovnik recognised the Croatian-Hungarian king as its supreme sovereign, and over the following centuries it paid tribute to the mighty Ottoman sultans. Nevertheless, from the early 15th century, Dubrovnik can be rightfully called a republic – an independent, sovereign and internationally recognized state. Throughout the Mediterranean and Europe, the Dubrovnik Republic had consulates and other diplomatic missions in the courts of many foreign rulers for centuries. Numerous traces of contacts with these establishments – directions to deputies, letters to consuls, but also charters of various contemporary European and world statesmen, kings and emperors from Spain, the Vatican, Austria, Turkey, through to the rulers of Germany, France, England, all the way to Russia and the United States , are carefully stored in the Dubrovnik Archives.

The majority of the archived books and documents, especially those from the earlier period, were written in Latin , which was then the official diplomatic language, but there are numerous documents in Italian and Croatian, and Turkish (over 15,000 Turkish laws) and, to a lesser extent, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Russian and Armenian.

Building(s)

The Sponza Palace (Croatian: Palača Sponza), also called Divona (from dogana or '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 on which the palace is located is used for the opening ceremony of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Archival and Other Holdings

The total holdings of the State Archives in Dubrovnik, divided into just over 400 holdings and collections , occupy an area of over eight and a half kilometers, and the most valuable holdings, those of the Dubrovnik Republic, contain over 7,000 bound books and more than 100,000 independent documents . Also kept there are manuscripts and printed books of famous Dubrovnik scholars and writers (Gundulic, Palmotic, Getaldic, Boskovic - to name a few), as well as rich collections of old maps, photographs, postcards, newspapers, magazines and various plans and sketches.

The archival holdings of the Jewish Community in Dubrovnik were destroyed during the Second World War and most archival holdings related to the city's Jewish population or how it has been remembered refer to the post-war period. Mrs Radmila Šutalo is working on a PhD thesis that traces the history of Dubrovnik Jews (r.sutalo@gmail.com).

One of the most valuable artefacts is probably a school diary of Dubrovnik Jewish Elementary School, which dates back to the end of the 19th century.

Opening Times

Monday to Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Material intended for use on the same day must be requested no later than 1:30 pm, and material intended for use on Saturdays must be ordered at least a day in advance. Archival material is usually available for consultation on the same day it is requested, and no later than 3 (three) days after the request for the material has been approved.