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:
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.