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One of the first things you'll see as you enter the old city of Dubrovnik through the Pile Gate is a monumental domed fountain. This is the Velika Onofrio Fontana (Onofrio's Large Fountain. Like the Sveti Spas church opposite, the fountain is a survivor of the earthquake in 1667 which destroyed so much of the city. Named for its Italian designer, Onofrio de Cava, the fountain was built in 1444 as part of the city's water supply. Back then there would have been a constant parade of people coming to collect their daily water supply from one of the fountain's 16 mask-decorated spouts. These days, its role is more as a tourist photo opportunity and meeting place than essential city service but the water is still cool, fresh and safe to drink - if you can get near it.

Down at the other end of the Stradun, near the bell tower, you'll find the fountain's litle sister - known as Onofrio's Small Fountain. Far more delicate, this fountain is the work of a sculptor, Pietro di Martino, working to a design by Onofrio de Cava. It dates from 1442, two years earlier than its larger counterpart up the road.

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  • Updated Aug 27, 2006
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