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.
Iconic limestone-paved Stradun is the main thoroughfare through Dubrovnik's old town.
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.
St Saviour Church
A plain but fascinating church, one of the few Renaissance survivors of the terrible 1667 earthquake.

Related Tours

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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