St Saviour Church (Crkva Sveti Spasa in Croatian)
Dubrovnik has many churches and houses of religion, but many people say that this is one of the more beautiful ones, and well worth a visit. It’s a church with a lot of history and has become a symbol of strength.
Just inside the Pile Gate, St Saviour is wedged between the city walls and the Franciscan Monastery complex. In front of it you can’t miss the large round structure, called Onofrio’s Big Fountain, built in the Middle Ages. It is the city’s largest fountain (more about it later), and is a popular meeting spot for tourists.
This is a Roman Catholic votive church, dedicated to Jesus Christ. In May 1520, Dubrovnik was hit by an earthquake, which killed about 20 people and damaged many buildings. The local Senate commissioned a new church in thanks that the city wasn’t damaged even more. Architect Petar Andrijic from Korcula designed it and it was completed in 1528.
Another disastrous earthquake struck the city in 1667. It destroyed a lot of the city and around 5,000 people died. But St Savior Church survived, so what we see today is its original form. It survived another close call during the 1991-1992 siege of the city when a shell exploded on the ground in front of it.
It’s a very good example of Renaissance-Gothic architecture. The church has one nave
with a Gothic cross-ribbed vault, and the windows are also Gothic with pointed arches. But the façade is Renaissance style, so a little plain.
The interior is very beautiful, more Baroque, and it’s easy to sit on one of the benches, looking around at all the details. Which is what we did after visiting the Franciscan Monastery Museum next door. It was quiet and cool inside, perfect for a hot summer day.