Dubrovnik Old Masters in the Dominican Monastery

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Dominican Monastery, Dominikanski samostan, Dubrovnik, Croatia

There seems to be a considerable amount of confusion on tourist review sites as to the difference between two monasteries in Dubrovnik.  One is for the Franciscans, and has an old and new pharmacy; the other is for the Dominicans, and doesn’t.  But it does have a lovely collection of art in its museum – not that I’ll be able to share this, because the old no photo rule came into play again.

But at least I could take pictures of the cloisters.

And what pretty and calming cloisters they are.  The elegant line of thin columns, the dainty capitals, the glimpses of greenery are all so charming.  There isn’t a great deal of decoration, but what there is lovely to look at.

Though the first Dominicans set up shop in Dubrovnik in 1301, it wasn’t until 1315 that construction of the monastery began.  Like so many projects, there were multiple stages of building, and the terrible earthquake of 1667 caused damage that required rebuilding work.  Nevertheless, what is seen today is basically 15th century Gothic, with the cloisters designed in the mid-1400s by the Florentine architect Maso di Bartolomeo.

In the center of the cloister garden is a 15th-century well, which replaced an earlier design.  The monastery often provided water for the locals, the last time being during the 1991 war.  The balustrade for the balcony you can just about make out is actually 19th century.

The bell-tower of the monastery is a major landmark – there is a better view of it from the city walls.   The building started to be built in the 14th century but it wasn’t finished until the 15th century.  You can also see a balcony in the corner, by the tower – that is 16th century.

The monastery has a little museum area where they have some interesting manuscripts, paintings and reliquaries.  The paintings are mainly by local artists, but they also have a diptych by Hans Memling, which was cool.

So In Summary

When we visited the monastery, it was incredibly quiet, with perhaps half a dozen other visitors during the whole of our time there.  The tranquility was particularly pleasant after experiencing the crowds of Stradun.  It was also great to see paintings by local artists, especially when you could see Italian influence on style and technique.

Further Information

There is a charge to enter the monastery, and though the Dominicans do have their own website, it mainly deals with religious matters and is only in Croatian: www.dominikanci.hr

How To Get There

This map is quite helpful to help navigate yourself there, it’s no. 6: www.godubrovnik.com






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