St. Blaise's Church

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Church of St. Blaise is a Baroque church in Dubrovnik and one of the city's major sights. Saint Blaise (St. Vlaho), identified by medieval Slavs with the pagan god Veles, is the patron saint of the city of Dubrovnik and formerly the protector of the independent Republic of Ragusa.

The church was built in 1715 by the Venetian architect and sculptor Marino Gropelli (1662-1728) on the foundations of the badly damaged Romanesque medieval church. He modeled the church on Sansovino's Venetian church of San Maurizio.

The church consists of a single square nave with a ground plan in the form of an inscribed Greek cross, an apse flanked by two sacristies and an oblong cupola in the center. A flight of stairs leads to the portal, decorated with statues of angels. The facade is divided by four Corinthian columns. On top of the facade is a semicircular gable and a balustrade with three statues by Marino Gropelli: a free standing Saint Blaise (in the middle) and personifications of Faith and Hope.

The barrel-vaulted interior is richly decorated in Baroque style. The Corinthian columns in the center bear the tambour of the cupola and lantern. The corners of the nave show blind cupolas. The main altar, in a combination of white and polychrome marble, shows in a high niche a precious, gilt silver Gothic statue of Saint Blaise, crafted in the 15th century by an unknown local master. The saint shows in his left hand a scale model of the Romanesque church which was destroyed by the earthquake in 1667. He is flanked by two kneeling angels. This statue was the only one to survive the fire of 1706. The domed antependium is decorated with two angels who unveil a curtain in front of a medallion.

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Details

Founded: 1715
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kane Dodgson (2 years ago)
A beautiful, beautiful church. Unlike a lot of churches this one is light, bright, less foreboding but equally pretty and beautiful. I love the architecture, atmosphere and images in old churches, this place does not disappoint. The first time I went purely to take images but i returned a few days later simply to sit and be. I then found myself in the middle of a service which (despite not being religious myself) was very lovely to see. It can get quite crowded as it is small inside compared to most European churches that hold a similar main role in a town. This is typical of buildings in Dubrovnik Old Town, obviously due to the very limited space within the Walls. Their are hordes of people taking photographs (including me) and as such it is hard to soak up the true atmosphere at these times so I would recommend coming back early morning or later in the evening or when a service is on because its a lovely place to sit with yourself.
jamie mapa (2 years ago)
Lovely renovated church in the middle of the old city in Dubrovnik!
slatts 2006 (2 years ago)
A beautiful simple church which while it's frequented more by tourists now you can tell it is being used still for its true purpose.
ved ran (2 years ago)
Another church in Dubrovnik! Maybe enough churches, time to build more cultural centers and schools!
Chris kotsiris (2 years ago)
The Old Town of Dubrovnik aka Ragusa is a must visit place. From the top of the walls the view is stunning!
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.