Lazareti - house of folklore

The Dubrovnik Lazareti (lazarettos) are a unique monument to this area's way of life. Situated right on the coast, at the eastern entrance to the city, in Ploče, they are both the city's gate and gatekeeper. Built primarily as a sanitary complex, a quarantine, they once protected the health of citizens from numerous diseases, whereas today, they are the hub of Dubrovnik's cultural life and, consequently, of the folklore of the Dubrovnik region.

As early as in the 14th century, following the rise of contagious disease epidemics, the Dubrovnik government decided to build the first quarantines for isolating travellers and examining goods intended for distribution, and in 1590, construction of Lazareti in Ploče began and lasted until 1642. The quarantine complex consisted of 10 naves with five internal courtyards and wells for the purposes of the contaminated, who could stay there for longer periods of time. Already in the second half of the 20th century, Lazareti became the meeting point for numerous creative professionals and artists and the place where culture, heritage and arts converged. The numerous cultural and socially engaged programmes of its users and associations have earned Lazareti a cult status and placed it on the map of socially significant locations in the city of Dubrovnik. 

One of the users of Lazareti's naves is the Linđo Folklore Ensemble. Linđo entered Lazareti in the 1970s as a temporary user, and in 1975, it was given the ground floor of the Dubrovnik Art Gallery for its purposes. However, only after the Homeland War did the premises of Lazareti become a real home and meeting point for Croatian heritage enthusiasts. Up to 2012, in addition to the ground floor of the Dubrovnik Art Gallery, the ensemble also used the fourth and fifth nave of Lazareti for dance, singing and musical rehearsals of all four of Linđo's sections. Summer performances were held on the outdoor stage, in the courtyard of the fifth and sixth naves, or in case of bad weather, in the fifth nave. Due to the rebuilding the ten naves of Lazareti  in 2013 and 2014, for almost two years, the ensemble held dance and musical rehearsals on the ground floor of the Dubrovnik Art Gallery, while the performances for the public and tourist groups were organised in the Sloboda and Jadran cinemas. After returning to the rebuilt Lazareti naves, just before the summer of 2014, the ensemble was given permission to use two naves, the sixth and the seventh.

The sixth nave was to be used as a hall for public performances and performances for tourists, held from May to October, while during the remaining period, it was to be used for the dance rehearsals of the performing A class, three preparatory B, C, and D classes and two children's sections known as Linđovo blago ("Linđo's Treasure"). In 2014, the nave was also equipped with a new stage with a ballet floor and telescopic bleachers. The ground floor of the Dubrovnik Art Gallery is still used as a hall for dance rehearsals, while one of the adjoining rooms is used as an archive for the collection "National Costumes of Neighbouring Countries". The ground floor of the seventh nave of Lazareti is used as an archive of folk costumes and instruments from the area of Croatia, while its gallery contains a small hall used by the orchestra and the dancers, and also as a common room for musicians and singers. The premises of the archive on the ground floor of the seventh nave are equipped for the maintenance and storage of folk costumes. The ensemble's souvenir shop, which has many interesting gifts and souvenirs suitable for a variety of occasions, is also an information centre with a number of educational and interactive elements, as well as a ticket office.

Thanks to their location near the historical centre and rich cultural programmes, especially the traditional ones, which are open to all citizens, tourists and ensemble members, these two Linđo's naves can really be considered the Dubrovnik house of folklore.