For many, the most romantic of Dubrovnik’s buildings, with its gallery on Stradun and its mix of gothic and renaissance detail, this was always a public building. Directly facing Orlando’s column, the scene of all dramas of public life, Sponza housed the Republic’s mint and customs house – all the Republic’s trade passed through here. It was built 1516-1522 according to designs by Paskoje Miličević. Today, the graceful atrium is used as an exhibition space and venue for recitals. A room to the left as you enter is dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers during the siege of Dubrovnik 1991-92 (Open 10:00 - 15:00. From May Open10:00 - 22:00. Admission free). The upper galleries were once the place where the city’s artists and intellectuals held salons. The building also contains the Dubrovnik State Archives, a treasure trove of documentation on the Republic. In the gift shop on the ground floor you can buy replicas of these historic documents; the archives themselves are mainly here for research purposes.