Monasteries in Croatia

Franciscan Monastery

The large complex of the Franciscan monastery is situated at the very beginning of Placa, to the left of the inner Pile Gate, next to the Holy Savior Church. The Franciscan order arrived in Dubrovnik around 1234. The first Franciscan monastery was built in the 13th century in the Pile area on the spot what is today Hotel Hilton Imperial. However as the City was threatened with war, in 1317, decision was made to demolis ...
Founded: 1317 | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dominican Monastery

Dominican monastery is located at the eastern part of The City, close to the inner Ploce gate where it merges with the City walls. Dominican monastery is one of the most important architectural parts of Dubrovnik and major treasury of cultural and art heritage in Dubrovnik as the museum of the monastery exhibits many paintings, artifacts, jewellery and other items from the rich history of Dubrovnik. The Dominicans establ ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Monastery of St. Francis Assisi

The Monastery of St. Francis Assisi in Zadar, along with a church of the same name, was built around 1221. It was consecrated on October 12, 1282 by bishop Lovro Periandar. Throughout the centuries of its history the monastery was the focal point of religious life in the city of Zadar. It was also home to the Franciscan school, precursor to today"s University of Zadar. It had rich picture gallery as well as a coll ...
Founded: 1221 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

St. Francis Monastery

On the slope of the hill between the Forum Square and the upper circular street, lies the monastic complex dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, built in the 14th century at the site of a previous cultic edifice. The Franciscan community was first recorded in Pula in the 13th century. The church was built in 1314 in the late Romanesque style with Gothic ornaments, as a firm and simple building of the preaching Franciscan or ...
Founded: 1314 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Lokrum Monastery

The Benedictine Monastery is perhaps the most predominant of all points of interest on Lokrum island. The monastery is first historically referenced in 1023 and existed until some point in the 15th century at which point the Benedictine monks were forced to leave the island. Popular legend states that, upon their eviction from the island, the monks of Lokrum passed a curse on any who possessed the island. A portion of the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Franciscan monastery

On the cape to the south of the Hvar lies the Franciscan Monastery with a church of Our Lady of Mercy, built in the late 15th century. Hanibal Lucić's grave is under the main altar in the church. The cloister, with its monumental rounded arches with a well in the middle, dominates the whole of the Renaissance monastery. The bell tower, in Renaissance style, is the work of an artist from Korčula. Within the peace and qu ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hvar, Croatia

Kosljun Monastery

Košljun is a tiny island in Puntarska Draga bay off the coast of Krk, facing Punat. It is approximately 300 meters in diameter and covers an area of 6.5 hectares, but is rich in vegetation. The only inhabitants are a group of Franciscan friars living in St. Mary's Monastery. The earliest known settlement on Košljun was a Roman villa rustica belonging to a landowner of the Roman settlement on Krk. The next solid evidenc ...
Founded: 1480 | Location: Punat, Croatia

Visovac Monastery

The Visovac Monastery was established in the 14th century by Augustinian monks, who erected a small monastery and church on the island dedicated to the Apostle Paul. In 1445, it was enlarged and adapted by Franciscans, who settled on the island having withdrawn from parts of Bosnia when invading Turks had taken over. A new monastery was constructed in the 18th century. The oldest preserved part of the current complex dat ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Drniš, Croatia

Dominican Monastery

In at the place in Bol where once was a bishop"s palace today is the Dominican Monastery. It was built in 1475 and very close to it is a small church of Our Lady of Mercy. The most precious heritage of both monastery and church is the renaissance painting of Madonna and Child with Saints.
Founded: 1475 | Location: Bol, Croatia

Capuchin Monastery

Construction of the Capuchin Church began in 1701, completed in 1705 and dedicated to the Blessed Trinity. The Capuchin Church and Monastery were built in a stern and simple style, typical for Capuchin Monasteries. A small wooden turret has also been preserved. The Franciscans, interestingly enough, who lived on alms that were collected during the harvest, found the arrival of the Capuchins troubling, because they were af ...
Founded: 1701 | Location: Varaždin, Croatia

Monastery of the Holy Trinity

The Franciscan monastery in star dates from the 18th century, and is also Baroque in style, with exceptional architecture, especially of the church yard, and monastery church interior, with its beautiful altar and paintings. In 1720, a faculty of philosophy was opened here.
Founded: 18th century | Location: Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Orebic Monastery

Our Lady of the Angel (Gospa od Anđela) is a monastery that is located near Orebić. The monastery was built at the end of the 16th century under the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), to which the town of Orebić belonged to between 1333 and 1806. It was built by the Franciscans and is of a Gothic-Renaissance style. The monastery is surrounded by dense pine wood forests and is located on a craggy stone crest 152 metres a ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Orebić, Croatia

Franciscan Monastery & Church of St. John the Baptist

Church of St. John the Baptist in Kloštar Ivanić is a late Gothic (stone) structure built in 1508 and it belongs to the largest of the Gothic churches in northern Croatia. The single nave church hall, with its extended sanctuary ends in a polygonal apse, with ornaments of fauna. The massive bell tower rises at the southern end of the sanctuary and is the junction between the church and the monastery. The tower is constr ...
Founded: 1508 | Location: Kloštar Ivanić, Croatia

Gomirje Monastery

Gomirje is the westernmost Serb Orthodox monastery in Croatia. It was built in the period of the first larger Serb settling in the villages of Gomirje, Vrbovsko and Moravice at the end of 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. The monastery is thought to have been founded in 1600. The monastery includes the church of Roždenije saint John the Baptist, built in 1719. In 1789, the monastery was devastated by fires and ...
Founded: c. 1600 | Location: Vrbovsko, Croatia

Krupa Monastery

Krupa monastery is the oldest Orthodox monastery in Croatia. It is located on the southern slopes of the Velebit mountain, halfway between the towns of Obrovac and Knin. The monastery was built in 1317 by monks from Bosnia, with the financial support from the Serbian king Milutin. During their reigns, King Stefan Dečanski and Emperor Dušan renovated the monastery. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the monastery was endow ...
Founded: 1317 | Location: Obrovac, Croatia

Krka monastery

Krka Monastery is the best known monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia and it is officially protected as part of the Krka National Park. The oldest extant mention of the monastery was in 1345, when it is listed as an endowment of princess Jelena Nemanjić Šubić, half-sister of the Serbian emperor Dušan and wife of Mladen III Šubić Bribirski, Croatian duke of Skradin and Bribir. The Catholic monastery w ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kistanje, Croatia

Kutjevo Abbey

The Cistercian Kutjevo monastery was founded in 1232 as a daughter-house of Zirc Abbey in Hungary, of the filiation of Clairvaux. The Cistercians planted the vineyards, which are still cultivated today. After the Turkish attack of 1521 (or 1529) the monastery was dissolved and subsequently destroyed. In 1689 the monastery estate was granted by Emperor Leopold I to Ivan Babić, a canon of Zagreb, who was named titula ...
Founded: 1232 | Location: Kutjevo, Croatia

Lepavina Monastery

Lepavina Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Presentation of Mary. According to an old local chronicle, the Lepavina monastery was founded around 1550, very soon after the emergence of the first Serbian settlements in this region. A monk from the Hilandar Monastery (on the Athos peninsula, Greece), Jefrem (Ephraim) Vukodabović, together with two monks from Bosnia, built a wooden church here. Howeve ...
Founded: 1550 | Location: Sokolovac, Croatia

Orahovica Monastery

The Orahovica Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery mentioned in 1583 when it was a seat of the Požega metropolitanate. It is thought to have been built before the end of the 15th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Orahovica, Croatia

Jastrebarsko Monastery

The original monastery in Jastrebarsko was Dominican in the 16th century., but by 1575, the last Dominican had left Jastrebarsko. In 1602, the Franciscans take over the Dominican Monastery. In 1704, the construction of the monastery begins. The entire structure was built in the form of early Baroque architecture, building the old Dominican structure into the new church and monastery, and the original Gothic structures are ...
Founded: 1704 | Location: Jastrebarsko, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.