Dubrovnik’s cathedral was originally built in the 12th century in Romanesque style and – according to legend – at the behest of King Richard the Lionheart of England after he was shipwrecked on the island of Lokrum along the Adriatic coast. This building was destroyed in an earthquake in 1667 and was replaced by today’s Baroque version, which is the work of Italian architects Andrea Buffalini and Paolo Andreotti. Approached up a grand flight of steps and with a landmark dome, the triple-aisled cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and has an imposing façade guarded by Corinthian columns and a Titian triptych sitting above the main altar; damage caused by a direct hit from a shell in the Siege of Dubrovnik (1991) has since been repaired.
The cathedral’s treasury (‘Riznica Katedrale’ in Croatian) is tucked away to the left of the altar and has a priceless array of gold and reliquaries squirreled together from medieval times onwards, creating an eccentric assortment of bones, relics and swaddling robes apparently once worn by Jesus. Masterpieces of the collection include the head and limbs of St Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, encased in gold fashioned by local goldsmiths in medieval times, paintings by Italian Mannerist Parmigianino, a fragment of the True Cross and precious icons studded in gemstones.
Držićeva poljana, Dubrovnik. Open Apr–Oct Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat–Sun 11am–5pm. Nov–Mar Mon–Fri 10am–12pm, 3pm–5pm; Sat–Sun 11am–12pm, 3pm–5pm. Admission to the cathedral is free. Tickets for the treasury: 25 HRK. Best accessed on foot in Dubrovnik’s pedestrianized Old Town.