Festival of St. Blaise Dubrovnik Croatia

St. Blaise saved Dubrovnik by warning the people of impending Venetian invaders. Statues of the Saint (Croatian Sveti Vlaho or Sveti Blaž) holding Dubrovnik on his palm are everywhere. Since 972 Dubrovnik has celebrated their patron and protector with a “series of concerts, exhibitions, book presentations, and theatre performances”.

Festival of St. Blaise – Total Croatia News

The Festival of St. Blaise is from February 2 through 10, but festivities, concerts, and activities begin this weekend. The festival is a “celebration of Croatia’s past and a spiritual and religious unification of the city and surrounding countryside.” It’s part of Dubrovnik’s spirit and love of LIBERTAS.

Roman Goddess of Liberty Libertas – Mythology Matters

St. Blaise Festival – Croatia

Kandelora Candle Mass February 2

The actual date of the St. Blaise celebration is February 3 preceded by several days of prayer and a solemn opening Candlemass ceremony – Kandelora – on February 2. Tolling church bells rally parishes to gather.

Festival of St. Blaise – Total Croatia News


“Kandelora begins with the release of white doves in front of the Church of St. Blaise followed by raising the Saint’s flag on Orlando Column.”


Children Kandelora Mass – Just Dubrovnik

A “laus” (well-wishing prayer) is said and girls in traditional costumes offer fruits of the land symbolizing twelve months of abundance. It’s a beautiful celebration with the flight of doves of peace, music, and the scent of laurel and candles in the air.

Kandelora in Dubrovnik – Just Dubrovnik

Meal for Reflection

Customs linked to Kandelora add to the festive atmosphere. As recommended by Saint Blaise, people share a modest lunch reflecting the tradition of charity and giving bread to the poor. Most restaurants offer a special St. Blaise menu featuring local specialties.

St. Blaise – fresheireadventures.com

St. Blaise was imprisoned in Sebasta for years under the Roman Governor of Agricolas. During his imprisonment “an impoverished widow for whom the Saint saved a pig by miracle, visited him in prison and brought a modest meal and a candle to light his cell”. The Saint thanked the widow and asked her to “keep giving to the poor for as long as she lived, promising her God’s blessing”.

Church of St. Blaise Dubrovnik – h-r-z-hr


“Kandelora is an introduction to the Holiday of St. Blaise when majestic processions, church bells, shots from fusiliers, and hymns permeate Dubrovnik Old Town!”


Kandelora Candlemas Dubrovnik – Just Dubrovnik

Saint Blaise Day February 3

On St Blaise’s Day there’s a procession of people of faith through Old Town. They carry banners and relics of their patron and wave church flags.

Dubrovnik Musketeers – Total Croatia News

The day begins at 6:00 am at the pier in Old City harbor with a patriotic hymn, ringing of the city bells, music, and muskets fired by a platoon of Dubrovnik musketeers. This celebration is followed by mass in the Church of St. Blaise, a parade of Grand Masters, musketeers, city band, and standard bearers, and a banquet in honor of St. Blaise.

I’m staying in Dubrovnik for a few extra days just to experience the St. Blaise Festival. In addition to the actual ceremony on February 3rd I’ll attend two concerts and other activities. Most festivities are free and open to the public. I’m especially looking forward to these concerts:

Pier Dubrovnik Old Town – flickr

More later…

Rector’s Palace – Cultural Historical Museum of Dubrovnik’s Past

Miho Pracat Statue Rector’s Palace

The Rector’s Palace is a historic monument in “one of the most impressive buildings in Dubrovnik”. The museum’s breathtaking environment is perfect for displaying the Republic of Ragusa’s artistic and historical heritage.

Diana Roman Goddess of the Hunt, Moon, and Nature

Since there are few tourists this time of year, I almost had the museum to myself. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen – inside and out! As usual the massive amount of information displayed seemed slightly overwhelming. I need a second visit to caption photographs of the paintings.

Entrance Rector’s Palace Old Town


Originally constructed during the 12th century, the Palace was rebuilt twice. It was the seat of the Republic’s Rector and included an armory, watch house, and prison.


The architecture represents Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles with details from Greek Mythology.


In 1435, a gunpowder explosion from the armory destroyed the original building. Croatian sculptor Juraj Dalmatinac and Italian Masters Onofrio della Cava and Michelozzo Michelozzi rebuilt the Palace. The original Venetian-Gothic architecture was designed by Onofrio della Cava with sculptor Michelozzo Michelozzi creating the Museum’s magnificent loggia façade.

Mihailo Hamzić – Dubrovački Muzeji

Greek Mythology

Capitals of the stone pillars around the Palace entrance exhibit flowers, animals, and Greek mythological motifs. Other than a fascination for Greece, it’s unknown why the artists carved Greek myths onto the pillars.

Stone Capitals Rector’s Palace Entrance – Travels and Treats

Rococo Bedroom Rector’s Palace – Dubrovnik Tourist Board


The museum has three levels. The ground floor includes archives, a courtyard, prison dungeon, courtrooms, ammunition stores, medieval church art, and a small chapel. The mezzanine has a collection of coins, seals, weights, and watches.


Italian master builder Onofrio della Cava designed the Palace’s Venetian-Gothic architecture. 


The rectors lived upstairs where there’s a permanent exhibition of beautiful paintings by Italian masters and a portrait of Croatian artist Mihailo Hamzić. Hamzić was a member of the Dubrovnik Painters School from the 16th century. Dubrovnik was a center for art in the Mediterranean, and the government invited foreign masters to move there to enhance their churches and monuments.

Mihailo Hamzić

Rector’s Palace

Interesting furniture displayed includes a writing desk by Italian Baroque painter and printmaker Luko Giordan. There are displays of everyday items dating between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Rector’s Rococo bedroom is on the south side.

Rector’s Palace at Dusk

Notable items include sedan chairs, carriages, magistrates’ robes and wigs, and a beautifully carved bookcase by prominent, respected resident Ivo Rudenjak. Some of the clocks displayed are “set at quarter to six, the time in the evening 1806 when Napoleon’s troops entered Dubrovnik”.

Rector’s Palace

Baroque Staircase and Miho Pracat

The baroque staircase in the courtyard was built after the 1667 Dubrovnik earthquake when “the entire city was almost destroyed and around 5,000 people killed”. A stone version of the Republic’s coat of arms is visible at the base of the staircase.

The center of the staircase features a statue of Miho Pracat, a Dubrovnik shipowner from the 16th century revered for his bravery and generosity. It’s the “only statute dedicated to a common citizen built during the Republic”.

Rector’s Palace


After his death, Croatian shipowner Miho Pracat left all his wealth to charity.


Miho Pracat Humanitarian – najboljeuhrvatskoj.info

During one of his voyages Pracat broke a pirate siege. This brave act “caught the attention of Charles the Fifth” – ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, Spanish Empire, and the former Duchy of Burgundy. This connection enabled Pracat to “bring back ships loaded with corn to hungry citizens. Allegedly he spent a portion of his wealth to free Christians captured by the Ottoman empire”.