St Blaise is an omnipresent saint in Dubrovnik. The church dedicated to the city’s patron saint and protector was built wherever there was a rector ruling over the territory of Dubrovnik Republic. No wonder then that one of the most beautiful churches in the Old Town was built in honour of St Blaise.
The original Romanesque church from 14th century was badly damaged in the great earthquake that hit Dubrovnik in 1667, and finally destroyed in a fire that devastated the church on the night between May 24 and 25 in 1706. The only miraculously surviving witness of the fire was the gilded silver statue of the saint holding the 15th-century model of Dubrovnik in his hand showing what it looked like before the earthquake. The statue was removed to the Church of St Nicholas in Prijeko Street and only after St Blaise’s had been rebuilt, it was returned to its old place.
The church of St Blaise is the work of the Venetian sculptor and master Marino Gropelli who was invited to Dubrovnik immediately after the fire and commissioned to build the new church. Between 1706 and 1715 he built the new church in Venetian Baroque style, and added the statues of St Blaise, Faith and Hope above the richly decorated facade, and the laboriously ornate main altar in the interior of the church.
The church is centrally located within a plan in the shape of a square with the form of the Greek cross within. The four pillars hold the central dome, and four smaller domes are located in the four corners outside the cross. The main altar is in the rectangular apse that extends to the planned square. The facade above the staircase is dominated by the monumental portal and four large Corinthian pillars holding the windows between them and rich decorative reliefs. The wide staircase in front of the church is the popular place for weary tourists to people-watch for a while.