Between plague and trade : topography and typology of the maritime lazzarettos in Dubrovnik

Title: Between plague and trade : topography and typology of the maritime lazzarettos in Dubrovnik
Variant title:
  • Mor a obchod : topografie a typologie námořních lazaretů v Dubrovníku
Source document: Convivium. 2023, vol. 10, iss. 1, pp. [114]-135
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
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In 1377, Dubrovnik (Ragusa) was the first city to implement a quarantine during an epidemic, imposing a monthlong isolation on all travelers arriving from infected regions. In the following three centuries, the Ragusan anti-plague system came both to reflect and to introduce trends in dealing with disease while at the same time working to preserve commercial trade. Many solutions to contain epidemics were drawn by the Ragusan government, consisting mainly of controlling mobility and imposing spatial confinement. This paper focuses on a series of lazaretto complexes built in the Ragusan territory starting in 1429, when the first design for a confinement building was implemented. Derived from written, visual, and material sources, the examples presented here are subjected to a dual analysis: topographical and typological. Analysis of these complexes' locations and architectural forms cross-examined against information about their use, has enabled reconstruction of a dynamic system of prevention/care for foreigners/citizens in periods of and between epidemics. Contrary to the previous, more linear chronological interpretation, this approach underlines the parallel use of Ragusan lazaretto complexes according to different functional categories and exigencies.
The research for this article has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme GA n. 865863 erc-AdriArchCult.