The seat of the Government of the Republic of Croatia is located in Banski Dvori on 1 and 2 St Mark’s Square, a complex which is inscribed in the list of the protected cultural heritage of the Republic of Croatia.
This complex of two four-winged palaces, built in the style of Baroque Classicism, has been the metonymy for Croatian executive power for more than two hundred years, just like the Hôtel Matignon in France or 10 Downing Street in the United Kingdom.
Banski Dvori has served the needs of state administration since 1808, when the archives of the kingdom were housed on the ground floor. The entire first floor was used as the residential accommodation of the Viceroy, and the second floor was home to the courts. The complex was the home of the Croatian Viceroy (Ban) until 1918, and this is also the origin of its name. Later it housed the royal archives, the Tabula Banalis (the Ban’s Table) the Land Court, and the Parliament Chamber.
It was precisely in this building that Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski made his famous speech in the Croatian language "Tko može celomu jednomu narodu zabraniti, da svojim prirodjenim jezikom govori..." ("Who can forbid an entire nation to speak its own native language...."), and impassioned speeches were also given by viceroys Jelačić and Mažuranić. The rulers Franz I, Franz Joseph, the heir to the throne Prince Rudolf, Princess Stephanie and Aleksandar Karađorđević stayed in the rooms in Banski Dvori.
After the democratic elections in 1990, Banski Dvori became the seat of the Office of the President of the Republic. A plane from the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) shot at the building on 7 October 1991, causing serious damage to the southern complex, and one person was killed.
The Office of the President of the Republic was soon relocated to Pantovčak, whereupon the Government of the Republic of Croatia moved into Banski Dvori. Today, in 85 offices there are more than one hundred employees. Apart from the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Banski Dvori is also home to the General Secretariat of the Government with all its related services, the Legislation Office, the Office for Protocol and the Offices of the deputy prime ministers, with the related coordinating bodies.