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Dominican Monastery 



The Dominican Monastery in Dubrovnik was established in 1225 and consists of a number of buildings that make up the religious complex. The church was constructed in the 14th century with the vestry, chapter house, and cloister being added in the 15th century. It contains a large Crucifix dating from the 14th century which stands over 16 feet high and is one of the largest crucifixes in Europe. Within the complex is a museum containing many valuable artefacts, and paintings and a library with over 200 manuscripts.

Located close to the walls in the east part of Dubrovnik is the Dominican Monastery or Priory. This was established in 1225 although the church was not completed until the 14th century. 

Originally, the monastery was situated at an important defence position outside the city walls, but it was incorporated into the city wall to strengthen the north-eastern flank of the city.  Its exterior resembles more like a fortress than a religious complex.

The complex consists of a number of individual buildings, all of which join harmoniously into one entity. The complex was constructed over several centuries, from the 14th to the 16th century, although some reconstruction occurred later. The complex provides elements of varying styles, with Romanesque and Baroque, although the majority of the elements are of Gothic and Renaissance. An impressive stairway with a stone balustrade leads up to the complex from the street below. Over the centuries, the monastery has played an important role in the cultural activities of the city.

In 1667 the monastery, like so many buildings in the city, was substantially damaged during an earthquake, but subsequently underwent extensive renovation. 

The church itself dates from the 14th century and is one of the largest Gothic buildings along that part of the coast. In the 15th century, the vestry, chapter house, and cloister were added.

Simple in design, it has a hall with three naves which incorporates a series of arches. Its outer wall is devoid of ornaments although the portal at the southern end of the hall has Romanesque elements. In 1419 a frame containing Gothic pointed arches was added.  The church underwent a drastic re-design in the 1970s.

The interior of the church is richly decorated and contains some fine stone furniture including a pulpit, gravestones and Renaissance niches. However, the most notable piece in the church is the large Crucifix dating from the 14th century which stands over 16 feet high. This was given to the church as a votive offering in 1384 and one of the largest crucifixes in Europe.

The monastery's Gothic cloister dates from 1456-83 and was designed by the Florentine architect Maso di Bartolomeo. The graceful triple arches of the cloister surround the cloister garden. In the centre of the garden is a highly decorated 14th-century stone well, which is still a source of water. During the siege of Dubrovnik (1 Oct 1991-31 May 1992) that took place during the Croatian War of Independence in the former Yugoslavia, the well was used as a source of water for an estimated 50 percent of the city's population.

In the east part of the complex is the Capital Hall, which was used by the Monks as a place for their meetings. It is entered from the cloister. The pavement contains around 30 gravestones from the 15th and 16th centuries which are the graves of noble Dubrovnik families. While in a room at the rear is the Renaissance sarcophagus of the Bishop of Ston.
Construction on the bell tower was started in the 16th century although it was not completed until the 18th century.

The complex contains a library with over 200 manuscripts, and a beautiful art collection, both of local and foreign artists. The museum which contains some of the most important items relevant to the art and cultural history of the city, includes Paintings, triptychs, and a collection of silver church vessels. It also contains a reliquary purportedly containing the skull of King Stephen I of Hungary and a large collection of ex-voto jewellery, a lovely chalice, the Gothic-Renaissance monstrance, and a silver cross.

Courtyard and well  Cloister              


Bell Tower from Cloister



              All  Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain

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