Zagreb, November 2018
Text by: Nataša Miloslavić, Gabrijela Savinović
The Republic of Ragusa was formed from the medieval Dubrovnik commune. Though at the center of geopolitical interests of big powers, Respublica Ragusina succeeded in preserving its freedom and independence for centuries (1358-1808), ensuring the prosperity of the economy of intermediate trading and maritime transport, and the development of culture and science.
The truth about the art of governing the Republic is kept at the State Archives in Dubrovnik. During the 12th and 13th century, Dubrovnik made several treaties on friendship and freedom of trade with similar communes in the wider Adriatic cultural circle. Numerous peace and trade charters with rulers and noblemen from the Balkan hinterland, who they often had conflicts with, have been preserved.
As a commune, and later as a Republic, Dubrovnik devoted great attention to the written word and careful preservation of historical documents. It is well known that valuable documents and charters were kept even among the relics of saints in the Dubrovnik Cathedral. Today, this valuable material, created over a thousand years – from the beginning of the 11th century to the present – is stored in the Archives because of the care and dedication of the people of Dubrovnik. Looking through the eyes of a restorer, the Archives are a precious and inexhaustible source of interest, richness and diversity of documents and other materials, written or printed using different types of ink on various types of paper and parchment produced in Dubrovnik and around the world. After years of systematic research of the Republic of Ragusa documents, they were analyzed, protected and partially or completely conserved and restored after the initial condition was determined and the causes of damage identified.
The successful trilateral cooperation of the State Archives in Dubrovnik, Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiques and Croatian Conservation Institute, regarding the systematic and continuous protection of written heritage, is the continuation of the Dubrovnik tradition in preserving written documents and a pledge for the preservation of memory and identity of the City.