OLD TOWN >> Franciscan Monastery and Church

Franciscan Monastery and Church

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The Franciscan Monastery and Church are located next to the church of St. Saviour near Onofrio's Fountain. The construction of the complex began in 1317 and works lasted for the whole 14th Century. The side of the church that runs along the Stradun is richly decorated with a Gothic portal that survived the great earthquake of 1667. The portal that adorns the entrance to the church is the work of local stonemason brothers Leonardo and Petar Petrovic from 1498. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed in the disaster and according to descriptions from that time, was much richer than today with 21 altars decorated in gold .


Inside the monastery it is particularly spectacular – highlights include the late Roman cloister with 120 columns from 1360 - the work Mihoj Brajkov. These columns surround the oldest Dubrovnik garden where orange trees and other plants still bloom. The centre of the garden houses a fountain with the figure of St. Francis .


According to legend, Francis of Assisi visited Dubrovnik on his world travels at the start of the 13th Century and it's since then that the Franciscans have worked in Dubrovnik.


The Franciscan Monastery is famous across the world for its pharmacy which is the oldest working pharmacy in the world. When it began working in 1317, it was the third oldest in the world after Baghdad's and Padua's. Both of those pharmacies have stopped operating as pharmacies since, whie the Franciscan one in Dubrovnik still works today. Inside the monastery you'll find the oldest articles that were used in teh pharmacy kept safe.


Other than the pharmacy, the monastery is also famous for its large library which was part damaged  in te fire following the great earthquake. Around 7,500 books were destroyed but today the library is home to 75,000 works, 216 of which are first editions. Many are extremely valuable such as Marulic's Judita. There are many unique musical works in the library too. Overall, there are more than 10 000 songs, making it one of the most valuable European music archives. The Franciscans spent a good part of their lives spent copying books. In the last war in the 1990s, the library ws hit by several direct missiles and five grenades fell on the monastery.


The complex also preserves valuable paintings by Lovro Dobričević and jewellery. It is interesting that after the fall of the Republic, Napoleon's army turned this wonderful building into a stable.


One more interesting story involving the monastery is that of the mascaron at the left hand side of the entrance to the church.


The Franciscan Monastery houses a museum that is open every day.


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