Once upon a time history revives
Prijeko Palace, the Palace Isusovich-Braichi on Ulica Prijeko 24
The house of the Isusovich-Braichi family is situated on the Ulica Prijeko. The building provides an impression of late Gothic Dubrovnik. It is narrow and built on a corner side with traditional two-sectioned and four-sectioned windows on the third and fourth floor respectively.
The history of Prijeko Palace is rich. The noble family Isusevic-Braichi constructs the house in 1470 assisted by architect Giorgio da Sebenico. The palace passed through violent ages with fires, war, depredation and earthquakes. The earthquake of 1667 was the worst; two floors of the palace collapse and never restored in its old shape until the complete restoration of 2012/2013. Over these turbulent centuries the villa was significantly damaged and the valuable parts were either stripped or destroyed. When Croatia became an independent and democratic state the building was given to private owner people. Ownership changed hands more times and was finally acquired by Acquest d.o.o. in 2006. The interior of Prijeko Palace went through a complete restoration by Acquest d.o.o. in order to modernise the building and bring it back to its former glory. The renovations were performed in close cooperation with architect Zeljko Pekovic (Omeega Engineering), the building company Vodpija and the local conservators. Prijeko Palace is renovated to the highest standard and has regained its original beauty. Today the building is used as a small high class boutiquehotel.
More scientists wrote about the building. Nada Grucic and Cvito Fiskovic are two of them. Freely translated, they tell us the following story about the building:
It is thought that the Palace belonged to the family Isusovich. In the lunetta, part of the portal, is a crest of the merchant family Braichi. Unfortunately there are no written data anymore (earthquakes?) neither of the owner or the time of construction. The Palace is built as a corner building. It is redone several times but kepts its four floors and extreme verticality. Openness of the wall surfaces on the facades is more emphasized on the upper floors: on the third floor there was a biphoras, on the fourth a quatrophoras. On the side facade of the third floor were three windows, on the fourth a thriphoras between the windows with balconies. Impressive was a small part of a large balcony (balatorium) on the fourth floor which took the whole width of the front façade and even a part of the side facade. This type of balcony is mentioned in the documents about Sandalj Hranic's palace construction dated 1421, indicating that the lavish ending of the palace is seen in Dubrovnik in the first half of the XV century. Dating of this palace is possible with the features of its stone carved parts. For example the portals of the facade with their form and decoration carry all the markings of the late Gothic portals which are seen in the forties of the XV century on for example on the Rector's palace. For a symbolic layer of Humanism, characteristic is a motif of centaur on the main portal, and the leafs that frame it are a common motif in the work of Giorgio da Sebenico alias Juraj Dalmatinac, famous for the cathedrals of Sibenik and Ancona. There is a great resemblance with the work of Giorgio's circle on the 'Leafy' capitals on the front biphoras facade. Lavish, curly leafs, male and female heads can be compared with a biphoras of the Rector's palace. They are even more related with their basic form and distinguished arch profilation. For determining the construction and level of performance as well, very important are the preserved fragments of double consoles which carried the balcony on the front façade; the same who carries the balatorium. Also the fineness of the stone curving when making the Acanthus leaf and flower decorations are the same quality as the excellence of performance and the shapes of the consoles on the north portal of the Sibenik Cathedral. All resemblances and comparisons with the work of Giorgio Orsini lead to the conclusion that this palace was born after or during his stay in Dubrovnik, in the seventies of the XV century.
Isusović-Braichi palace is one of the best examples of residential architecture in Dubrovnik. During the restauration the Palace is restored in its present size with the reconstruction of decorated openings that were lost during time but their remains and traces are still visible on the elevations, and confirmed by test-pits done in the interior of the Palace. On the west elevation doors with richly decorated balcony on the second floor are reconstructed as well as a triphora window and two monophoras on the third floor, and on the south elevation richly decorated quadriphora with large corner balcony on the third floor.
The reconstruction took 18 months but the period of preparation and planning was four times longer, partly also because the urbanistic planning for the city chanced halfway. It gave architect and builder all the time they need to look for the best solutions for example to reinforce the building. Dubrovnik is situated on a fracture in the earth crust what causes regularly earthquakes. The biggest one in the history of Dubrovnik was in 1667, the youngest one in 1976. Prijeko Palace is situated on a big rock. Therefore the building is less sensitive for earthquakes than elsewhere in the city but nevertheless. In order to strengthen the building against future earthquakes the floors were reinforced and fixed to the walls. Also opposite walls were connected with metal beams to keep stability during an earthquake. In and around the building are beautiful (details of) sculptures or sculptured elements: the balcony on the second floor and for example of the front door. All these elements were black, broken, damaged or covered with layers of paint. With the help of specialized sculptors all these elements are cleaned with laser technology, repaired and if necessary updated. Now they can be admired again in their former glory.