The Franciscan Monastery & Church in Old City Dubrovnik.
Situated next to the Saint Savior’s Church is the Franciscan Monastery and Church. The Franciscan order arrived in Dubrovnik in the beginning of the 13th century and was the first church (St. Thomas) that was in the Pile area outside the today’s old city walls.
The Monastery & Church entrance from the Stradun Street
In 1317, a new monastery (Friars Minor monastery) was constructed inside the city walls as the Franciscan Monastery & Church that still stands beautifully today. The lateral facade church runs along the principal street (Stradun). On that facade there are two doors. Above one of the doors there is portal which has all the marks of the Gothic style. In the central lunette is represented Pieta.
Above the lunette is the figure of Father Creator and left and right are St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist. The lunette is actually only preserved fragment after the church was destroyed in the Great earthquake of 1667. The church was reconstructed in the Baroque style.
The cloister is situated in back of the church. It was built in late Romanesque style. It has 120 columns which surround a small garden with fountain. Each column has different capital.
The Challenging Mascaron
During the summer, at the very beginning of the church complex, their is always a crowd. Many tourists want to try undress and re-dress their shirts while standing on this, so called Mascaron. It’s a very challenging and difficult task because, the Mascaron foot stand is slippery and it’s very hard to stay standing on it without falling back. Let alone change your t-shirt while standing on it.
The Monastery Cloister
Unfortunately, when you see the crowd gathered by this challenging sport, it’s easy to miss the whole complex and what’s inside it. Especially, because of it’s very high walls, but behind those thick walls, lies the beautiful church and cloister. Furthermore, the most interesting in the complex, yor’ll find the third oldest pharmacy in Europe which still works. That should be enough a reason to step inside and see more!
The Monastery Old Pharmacy
The Franciscan Monastery pharmacy was founded in 1317. The monks knew very much about herbs and took care of the sick and old. At this time, it was excellent extra income for the monks. So the monks could invest in books. The Franciscan Monastery library has more than 70000 books, 1200 old manuscripts of extraordinary importance and value, 216 incunabula and 22 tomes of the old church corals made from 15th to 17th century.
During the Croatian homeland war in the early 90’s, the monastery was badly damaged, but was fixed soon after. Most of the old pharmacy inventory can still be seen in the cloister. Walking though the cloister you will easily feel the time when harmony of a quite life actually existed and looking just in one of the column, you won’t regret the visit to this Franciscan Monastery!