The rectangular Sponza Palace with an inner courtyard was built in a mixed Gothic and Renaissance style between 1516 and 1522 by Paskoje Miličević Mihov. Its name is derived from the Latin word 'spongia', the spot where rainwater was collected.
The loggia and sculptures were crafted by the brothers Andrijić and other stonecutters.
The palace has served a variety of public functions, including as a customs office and bonded warehouse, mint, armoury, treasury, bank and school. It became the cultural center of the Republic of Ragusa with the establishment of the Academia dei Concordi, a literary academy, in the 16th century. It survived the 1667 earthquake without damage. The palace's atrium served as a trading center and business meeting place.
The palace is now home to the city archives, which hold documents dating back to the 12th century, with the earliest manuscript being from 1022. These files, including more than 7000 volumes of manuscripts and about 100,000 individual manuscripts, were previously kept in the Rector's palace.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.