Dubrovnik Franciscan Monastery
Address: Placa 2
phone: +385 20 321 410
open: 9 am-6 pm
entrance fee: 6 kn, children 4 kn
Be sure to explore Dubrovnik’s century’s old and still active Franciscan monastery, one of Dubrovnik’s most popular attractions. The large area surrounding and including the Franciscan monastery is located at the very beginning of Stradun (Placa), to the left of the Pile Gate. The side of the monastery church runs along the main street and continues north along the walls as far as the tower Minceta.
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What to know
The monastery was first built in the 13th century in the Pile area. But as Dubrovnik became increasingly close to entering war, the friars were forced to move, and construction for the new monastery began in 1317, but was not finished for some time. Some parts were destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly.
What to notice
The large Franciscan church, one of the richest churches in Dubrovnik at the time, was completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1667. The portal on the south wall is the only remnant of the former building. The portal has all the marks of the Gothic style, but the figures exhibit the spirit of the Renaissance. St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist are carved above the door-posts, while the Pietá in relief is shown in the central Gothic lunette. The Pietá symbolizes the Croatians’ compassion for the poor members of the community who sought refuge from the Franciscans anyhow, and the figure of the Creator near the top represents opposition to the humanist world-views that were then prevalent.
It’s all in the details
The church was reconstructed in the Baroque style, and the northern wall of the church displays one of the most beautiful cloisters of Dubrovnik. Master Mihoje Brajkov of Bar built this cloister in late Romanesque style in 1360. The Franciscan cloister is one of the most valuable late Romanesque creations on the Croatian shores of the Adriatic. The pulpit in the church was built in the 15th century and the main altar dates from 1713. Also remaining from before the destructive earthquake is the 15th-century chapel shaped like a winged cupboard with painted wood. Dubrovnik’s famous poet, Ivan Gundulic, is also buried in the church.
The third oldest pharmacy in the world was founded at the monastery in 1317, and it continues to function today, so if you need some medicine, why not grab it at an accredited place? The monastery also owns one of the oldest libraries in the Croatia, globally famous for its collections. The library has over 20,000 books, over 1200 of which are old manuscripts, and 7 books of old church corals. Spend an hour or so wondering around this peaceful building and try to imagine how life outside of it may have looked in the 14th century!