OLD TOWN >> Dominican Monastery and Church

Dominican Monastery and Church

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The Dominicans established their monastery in Dubrovnik in 1225. This sacred building's construction began at the satrt of the 14th Century and was completed by the mid -15th Century.


The church built there is one of the largest Gothic buildings on the east coast of the Adriatic. The designs were drawn up by architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, and it was built by several Dubrovnik masters. The portal on the south entrance of the church was built by Bonino di Milano with Croatian assistants in the late Gothic style in 1418. The other, western entrance was built in the mid-15th Century following works on the street that runs alongside it and stairs were built up to the church. 


An interesting story is connected with those stairs. The unknown carver originally made the fence gaps equally spaced, but the authorities decided that the lower part of the fence should beconnected to each other, creating an unusual stone curtain. At the time the authorities wanted to protect public morals because curious and lascivious men would otherwise be able to see the bare ankles of girls as they walked up to church. At the time of old Dubrovnik, bare ankles was pure erotica.


Similar to the Franciscan monastery, this one has a landscaped cloister and a large library with the oeldest catalogue of books in the world "Cupientes emere libros" published by Anton Koberberg from Nuremberg in 1480.  The oldest known "Thomas' comment on Paul's letters " written by Thomas Aquinas is also kept there . Although the Franciscan cloister and library are better known in the world, the Dominican boasts great works of art. The crucifix at the back of the church's large nave was made by Paolo Veneziano and this work is one of the most important works from the late Middle Ages located in Croatia. There is also a masterpiece of world famous Tiziano who painted altarpiece "St. Magdalene" .


The church is home to works by the greatest Croatian and Duborvnik artists such as Vlaho Bukovac, Nikola Božidarević, Mihajl Hamzić, Ivo Dulčić and Lovre Dobričević. There are also notworthy works by Francesco di Maria, Santi di Tito, Francesco Zugno, Lorenzo di Credi (follower of Leonardo da Vinci). All these great works of art and much more, such as jewellery made of gold and pearls and can be seen in the museum which is located within the monastery. Summer working hours: 9h-18h, winter: 9h-17h.


A strange story is connected with this monastery also. It's home to the precious head and decomposed hand (known as Holy Dexter) of the Hungarian King Saint Stephen. No one do not know how they got there. Not only are there the mortal remains of the Hungarian king found here but many Dubrovnik nobles are buried there, which is why the Dominican Monastery is sometimes referred to as the city's main cemetery.

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