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Bare Walls

    “I am miserable and depressed, I will rot here for weeks, and my mother, father, wife, children, markets, business partners are all waiting for me,” thought everyone who faced these gates. They would enter in a bad mood, and find themselves surrounded by bare walls. To their left were a sink and stove used for heating and cooking. Before them was an entrance to another room in the attic, above the courtyard porch.

Food, Drinks, Sleeping Cots

    How did people live here? How did they manage to stay sane while trapped between the walls?

    In those times travelers always carried knives, salt and other spices, perhaps even a spoon and pot. In their bags they also had raw wool covers, called schiavinas, which they used to make sleeping cots.

    The travelers got their drinking water from a tank that was found in a second yard during the restoration of 2018.

    The sanitation soldiers brought food for the travelers from surrounding taverns and food shops, as well as unlimited amounts of alcoholic drinks, wine, schnapps, and rozolin – a liqueur made from rose petals.

    To pass the time, the travelers drank, played cards, chess, gambled…

Lazaretto Square

    In front of every lazaretto there was a small enclosed terrace with a stone bench, where people could step out and breathe in some fresh air.

    In times when there was no threat from the plague, the regime was less strict. Then the Lazaretto Square would liven up. Imprisoned merchants, travelers, business women, pirates, priests, couriers, diplomats, Islamic, Jewish, Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic believers, mostly from Southeast Europe, North Africa and Italy, could hardly wait to be able to socialize freely.

    However, travelers weren’t aware that they were being constantly watched by Ragusan sanitation officials. The officials eavesdropped on the travelers, stealthily took down intriguing information and sent it back to the Rector’s Palace, the center of the Ragusan government. Ottoman and other unknown informants also used the opportunity to find out if there was anything new going on. The Lazaretto square was a true spy hub.