The Franciscan Monastery Museum (Franjevacki Samostan-Muzej). This monastery was very photogenic, so we have MANY pictures. Please scroll through and enjoy!
This monastery museum is just inside the Pile Gate, off Stradun. You enter through the door at the end of the gap between the small church almost up against the city walls and the big monastery. Entry is 30 kuna (about US $ 4.50, but they also accept euros: we paid 3 euros each). Open 9-6 in summer season and 9-5 in winter.
Dubrovnik’s monasteries flourished in the Middle Ages, and the cloisters of this one are particularly fine. Just inside the entrance door, before you get to the table with the ticket seller, a pharmacy that’s more than 100 years old still serves residents. It’s possible this is situated here as the monastery had a pharmacy in the building since the early 1300s. Nowadays a small museum is in the original pharmacy (no photos allowed inside).
Part of the mission of the Franciscans was to contribute to the health of the citizens, so they opened this pharmacy in 1317, a tradition that still continues. We see jars, pots and other pharmaceutical supplies. Apparently the sick would come to a small window, which had limited contact with the dispenser, thus reducing risk of passing on disease. The small museum also has some old manuscripts and a painting of early 17th century Dubrovnik.
All interesting, but the real pleasure here is wandering around the cool cloisters. It’s quiet and peaceful and we can imagine monks walking and meditating here. Covered arcades run along the walls of the buildings on 4 sides, forming a quadrangle, which has a pretty garden and fountain. The garden even had some large, flowering cycads!
Two other features stand out: the pillars along the arcades, and frescoes along the tops of the walls. There are 60 Romanesque-Gothic double pillars and each one is different. We had fun trying to identify quite a few of them. We found faces of people, dogs, horses, a dragon, for example. Sadly, this monastery was hit during the 1991-1992 siege of Dubrovnik and we could notice that some parts of the portals inside the courtyard have a different, lighter-colored, stone. This is because they had to be repaired after the siege.
The frescoes are 19th century and many are also damaged. They depict the life of St Francis who is supposed to have visited the city in the early 13th century.
There’s also an ornate stone tomb, The Tomb of the Gucetic Gozze Family, by an unknown master 1371.
Also noticeable on a wall near the exit is a poster with the flags of many countries, with the name and signature of some well-known people from those countries who have visited here. We also had fun picking out some of those names, such as Jacqueline Kennedy.
The church next door (also enter off Stradun) has a beautiful Baroque interior. Another cool, peaceful place on a hot summer day! See next post.