Dominican Friary, Dubrovnik

The 14th-century Dominican Friary (Dominikanski Samostan) in Dubrovnik features a lovely Gothic cloister, a working medieval well in tranquil gardens, and a fine museum of religious artwork.

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History of Dominican Friary

Dubrovnik's Dominican Friary was founded in 1315 and built with the help of the local government and many local and foreign craftsmen. The monastery was constructed against the city wall to strengthen its northeastern flank.

Like so many buildings in the city, the monastery was extensively rebuilt after the earthquake of 1667. Over the centuries, the monastery has played an important role in cultural activities in the city.

What to See at Dominican Friary

An impressive stairway with a stone balustrade leads to the south church door, a Romensque work of Bonino of Milan. Above the door is a Romanesque statue of St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican order. In 1419, the door was surrounded by a Gothic ogee arch, surmounted by a statue of Christ. 

Inside, the 14th-century church has a wide single nave. A drastic re-design in the 1970s resulted in the complete destruction of the old High Altar and sanctuary. Hanging from the central arch is a splendid rood cross by Paolo Veneziano (c.1300-62), given to the church as a votive offering in 1384. It is said to be one of the largest painted crucifixes in Europe, at 500 cm tall.

The monastery's Gothic cloister (1456-83) was designed by the Florentine architect Maso di Bartolomeo and crafted by Croatian masons. The graceful triple arches of the cloister surround a peaceful Mediterranean garden.

In the center of the cloister garden is a 14th-century well, which still works. During the 1991 war, several hours each morning were spent drawing water from this well. It is estimated to have provided water to 50 percent of the city's bombarded population.

The bell tower of the Dominican monastery is a major landmark in the Old City. It was begun in the 16th century and completed in the 18th century.

A major highlight of the monastery is its Dominican Museum (Muzej Dominikanskog Samostana), which displays fine religious art from Dubrovnik, Venice and elsewhere.

Paintings, triptychs, silver church vessels, and a reliquary purportedly containing the skull of King Stephen I of Hungary are part of the museum's rich collection.

Especially notable among the paintings are St. Blaise, St. Mary Magdalene, the Angel Tobias and the Purchaser by Titian and a 16th-century Annuciation by Niccolo Ragusino of the Dubrovnik school.

Getting There

Dubrovnik's Dominican Friary is located off a narrow passageway behind the Sponza Palace leading to the Ploce Gate.

Quick Facts on Dominican Friary

Site Information
Names:Dominican Friary
Dates:14th C
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:42.641753° N, 18.110940° E
Address:Dubrovnik, Croatia
Lodging:View hotels near Dominican Friary
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Frommer's Croatia, 1st ed. (Frommer's, 2006).
  2. Eyewitness Travel Guide to Croatia (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2005).
  3. Dubrovnik - Lawrence Lew, O.P.

More Information

© Br Lawrence Lew, OP
© Br Lawrence Lew, OP
© Br Lawrence Lew, OP
© Br Lawrence Lew, OP
© Br Lawrence Lew, OP

Map of Dominican Friary, Dubrovnik

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