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Onofrio's Fountains

These lovely 15th century fountains were once vital water sources for the townspeople.

TravelCurious Tip

The fountains may be centuries old, but the water is still as fresh and safe to drink as ever.

As you approach the western end of Dubrovnik’s beautiful Stradun, you will notice an ornate stone structure which looks almost like a small shrine. As you get closer, however, you realise that this is in fact the famous large Onofrio’s Fountain, which has provided the citizens of the Old Town with fresh drinking water for nearly 600 years.


The Reign of Rain

In Dubrovnik’s early days as a city-state, the city relied on rain for fresh drinking water. The system was intricate in its own way, with rain channeled off the rooftops into cisterns for storage, but it still left the city in big trouble if there were several weeks without rain. At times the droughts would get so bad that enterprising individuals would fill hundreds of barrels with fresh water from nearby springs and bring them into the port on ships to sell to the thirsty citizens of Dubrovnik at extortionate rates.


Little and Large

In 1436, the authorities finally decided that enough was enough, and commissioned Onofrio Giordano della Cava to oversee the construction of an aqueduct running from a well, some 12km distant, directly into the city centre. Onofrio built two fountains at either end of Stradun which were to mark the ends of the aqueduct. The larger fountain was a magnificent sixteen-sided edifice, with each side sporting a “maskeron” (masked face) from whose mouth a tap protruded. Sadly the maskerons were damaged in a recent round of renovations, but you can still make some of them out. The small Onofrio’s fountain is a less grand affair, but is centred around a beautiful sculpture by the Milanese artist Petar Martinov.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dubrovnik
Pile Gate
The grand entrance to Dubrovnik's old town, complete with drawbridge and Renaissance arch.
Stradun
Iconic limestone-paved Stradun is the main thoroughfare through Dubrovnik's old town.
St Saviour Church
A plain but fascinating church, one of the few Renaissance survivors of the terrible 1667 earthquake.
The Synagogue and Jewish Museum
The world's oldest operating Sephardic Synagogue, with a museum telling the story of the Jews of Dubrovnik.
Orlando Column
A 600-year-old column carved in honour of the legendary knight Orlando, who saved Dubrovnik from a siege by Arab pirates in the 8th century.
City Bell Tower
A beautiful landmark of the Old Town, with a bell struck by two bronze men.

Related Tours

The Cultural Highlights of Dubrovnik
  • Your tour begins at Stradun, Dubrovnik's famous city square, hosting many rustic old buildings, including the Rector’s Palace - a 14th century Baroque masterpiece, serving not only as a residence but also as an armoury, powder magazine, watch house, and prison. 
  • Have the pleasure of visiting Onofrio's Fountain, where you will be able to admire the magnificent Sponza Palace.
  • You will move on to visit the stunning Old Synagogue of Dubrovnik, the oldest in the city, and astonishingly the second oldest in the world.
  • Enjoy a visit to the Jewish Museum, where you will learn more about the Jewish community and their contribution to the history and culture of the great city of Dubrovnik. 
  • You will then proceed on to the Baroque Cathedral of the Assumption, rebuilt in the 18th century following an earthquake, and now a popular venue for weddings and celebrations. 
  • See the stunning Cathedral of the Assumption, Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Church of St. Blaise. Here you will learn all about the fascinating legend of Richard the Lionheart who returning from the Crusades in 1192, was shipwrecked in a storm, and cast aground on Lokrum Island in front of Dubrovnik. 
  • You will also pay a visit to the Franciscan Monastery and Old Pharmacy- the third oldest in the world. After which you will proceed to traverse the beautiful City Walls, a 2 km stone wall that has protected the city for centuries. During your walk along the city walls you will be able to take in the panoramic views of the city below. 

Stradun is the main street in Dubrovnik Old Town. Stradun stretches the distance of Pile Gate to the Old Town’s port. The street has been completely pedestrianised for almost 50 years and acts as main local promenade, featuring a number of restaurants, cafes and shops. 

Onofrio's Fountain circulates through a huge central dome and 16 water taps that surround it. It was completed in 1438 and withstood some damage after an earthquake but was never been repaired! Spend some time sitting at the foot of the fountain planning the rest of your day or enjoying a light bite to eat. 

The Baroque Cathedral of the Assumption was largely destroyed in 1667 due to an earthquake strike. The senate of Dubrovnik at the time pledged for it to be remodelled, whereby multiple architects eventually made it happen;  Francesco Cortese, Paolo Andreotti of Genoa, Pier Antonio Bazzi of Genoa, and friar Tommaso Napoli of Palerm. The Cathedral was then completed over the next three decades. Unfortunately, further damage has been made over the years, but it has all been repaired. 

Perfect for those wanting a great Dubrovnik selfie!
Dubrovnik's Half-Day Highlights
Medieval Dubrovnik

Your tour begins at Stradun, Dubrovnik's famous city square, boasting many beautiful old buildings, including the Rector’s Palace, a 14th century Baroque masterpiece, serving not only as a residence but also as an armoury, powder magazine, watchhouse, and prison. You will also have the pleasure of visiting Onofrio's Fountain, where you will be able to admire the magnificent Sponza Palace. From here you will head onwards to the Franciscan Monastery and Old Pharmacy- the third oldest in the world!

Chequered History

After walking across the main square you will come across the Baroque Cathedral of the Assumption, rebuilt in the 18th century following an earthquake, and now a popular venue for weddings and celebrations. Other highlights, not to be missed, include Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Church of St. Blaise. Here you will learn all about the fascinating legend of Richard the Lionheart who, returning from the Crusades in 1192, was shipwrecked in a storm, and cast aground on Lokrum Island in front of Dubrovnik. When Richard tried to convince the leaders of Dubrovnik to build a church on the island, Richard was instead persuaded to build the cathedral in Dubrovnik proper. You will also hear about the infamous medieval orphanage, communal granaries, and chequered lives of the local aristocrats.

From here you will proceed to traverse the beautiful City Walls, a 2km stone wall that has protected the city for centuries. During your walk along the city walls you will be able to take in the panoramic views of the city below. Perfect for those wanting a great Dubrovnik selfie!
The Best of Dubrovnik Live Virtual Tour
Dubrovnik, also known as "The Pearl of the Adriatic", is a perfectly preserved medieval city with huge sturdy stone walls built between the 11th and 17th centuries for protection and that back in those years, it used to rival Venice as a trading port.

On this live virtual tour, you will take a stroll down the quaint narrow streets of Dubrovnik’s picturesque Old Town through its impressive surroundings while hearing its tales and history that only a local professional tour guide can tell.

You will see: 
  • Pile Bay
  • Pile Gate, the grand entrance to Dubrovnik's old town, complete with drawbridge and Renaissance arch.
  • Onofrio’s Fountain, built as a part of the water supply system in the 15th century that was once a vital water source for the town's people.
  • The Franciscan church, the third oldest public pharmacy in Europe from the 13th century
  • St. Blaise’s church, Dubrovnik's saint patron, and hear his story about him and traditional procession held on his feast day
  • Orlando’s column, a 600-year-old column carved in honour of the legendary knight Orlando, who saved Dubrovnik from a siege by Arab pirates in the 8th century
  • Sponza palace - state mint and customs house in middle ages
  • City Belltower, a beautiful landmark of the Old Town with a bell struck by two bronze men
  • Revelin fortress, created to give additional security to the Eastern city gate
  • Old Quarantine founded as the first quarantine in Europe in the 14th century
  • Fortress of St. John
  • Cathedral of Our Lady that counted with a Lionheart’s donation for the construction of this 12th-century cathedral
  • Rector’s palace, a harmonious combination of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture.

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