One of the most significant monuments of profane architecture on the Croatian coast is the Rector's Palace, former administrative centre of the Dubrovnik Republic. Its style is basically Gothic, with the Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions. In the 15th century the Palace was destroyed twice in gunpowder explosions. Restored by Onofrio della Cava in the late Gothic style after the first explosion in 1435, the Palace got its present-day size with the central atrium and front portico. The capitals were carved in Renaissance style by Pietro di Martino of Milan, whose capital with Aesculapius has been preserved on the right half-column of the portico.
The second gunpowder explosion in 1463 destroyed the western facade of the Palace, and the two famous architects Juraj Dalmatinac and Michelozzo of Florence were engaged in the reconstruction for a short period.Although the design of Michelozzo was unfortunately rejected, his influence in the restoration of the facade and portico, mainly in Renaissance style, can not be denied. After the earthquake of 1667 the atrium was partially reconstructed with an impressive Baroque staircase.
During his one-month mandate the Rector of Dubrovnik lived in the Palace, which also housed the Minor and Major Council hall, the Rectors residence, the courtroom, administration office, prisons, an arsenal and gunpowder store-house. From the Rectors Palace one could enter the Great Council Palace.
Today the Rectors Palace houses the Cultural-historic Department of the Dubrovnik Museum with exhibition halls arranged to display the original setting with antique furniture and objects for daily use, as well as paintings by local and Italian masters.
The Museum also guards a collection of old coins used in the Dubrovnik Republic, a collection of arms and utensils of Domus Christi Pharmacy from the 15th century. Apart from being exceptionally beautiful, the Rectors Palace Atrium has excellent acoustics, and is often used as a concert venue.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.