Large Onofrio Fountain - History and Facts | History Hit

Large Onofrio Fountain

Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Croatia

The Large Onofrio Fountain is a grand monument built to celebrate the completion of the Dubrovnik’s waterworks.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Large Onofrio Fountain

The Large Onofrio Fountain was originally built as a celebratory symbol, a grand tribute to the feat of engineering that was the establishment of a water supply system to the city when the waterworks were completed in 1438. Often called the “Large” or “Grand” Onofrio Fountain to distinguish it from its smaller counterpart at Luza Square, it was the work of Onofrio della Cava. This monument, whilst still impressive, is a shadow of its original intricate beauty, having been damaged in the earthquake of 1667.

Large Onofrio Fountain history

One of Dubrovnik’s most famous landmarks, this circular fountain was built in 1438 as part of a water-supply system that involved bringing water from a spring 12km away.

Great care was taken to ensure a sufficient supply of fresh water to the city, due to Dubrovnik’s long, dry, summers. At first Dubrovnik was supplied by so called cisterns, a sort of a rainfall collecting tanks that used an intricate system to collect the rain from the rooftops.

The Senate issued a rule in 1436 to begin the construction of an aqueduct system from Šumet to Dubrovnik. The constrcution of the aqueduct was entrusted to builders Andreucius Bulbito from Tramonte and Onofrio Giordano della Cava.

After the Aqueduct system, Onofrio della Cava built two fountains, now known as the Big Onofrio’s fountain on Poljana Paskoja Milicevica, in front of the St. Savior church, and the Small Onofrio’s fountain under the Bell tower next to the building of the City guard.

Built from 1438 to 1440, the Large Onofrio’s Fountain is a sixteen-sided container with a cupola, and was one of the ending points of the aqueduct system. Each of the sixteen sides has a unique “maskeron” design (stone-carved masked face) with the faucet projecting out of the mouth of the each design.

In Luza Square, the Small Onofrio fountain’s purpose was to supply on the market in the square with water. The small fountain was built between 1440 and 1442.

Large Onofrio Fountain today

Nevertheless, Onofrio Fountain still offers clean drinking water and remains one of Dubrovnik’s most beautiful sites.

Locals used Onofrio’s fountains as a main source of water all the way up to the end of the 19th Century when a modern water supply was installed that supplied homes directly.

Today the fountain is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists. There are some good opportunities to photograph the fountain from above if walking the city walls.

The small Onofrio fountain featured in Novela od Stanca play by local Renaissance playwright Marin Držić as well as serving as a filming location for Game of Thrones.

Getting to Large Onofrio Fountain

The Large Onofrio fountain is located in Old Town Durbovnik, next to Pile Gate.

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