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 established their monastery in Dubrovnik as early as 1225, however the building of the current church and the monastery were completed in the 14th century. The sight chosen for the monastery was strategically one of the most sensitive points in the defence of Dubrovnik, hence as early as the 14th century the whole complex was encompassed by the City walls thus becoming an integral part of Dubrovnik.
The St. Dominic church is is of simple Gothic architectural design: hall-like with a pentagonal Gothic apse which is separated from the central area by three high, Gothic arched, openings. The high rising outer walls of the church are bare, without any ornaments. The portal on the southern side contains certain Romanesque characteristics as the case is that only in 1419 Bonino of Milan added to the existing Romanesque frame a pointed Gothic arched ending.
The interior of the church is richly decorated. However the most notable piece is the large golden Crucifix in the central arch above the main altar, a work of Paolo Veneziano, from the 14th century. Besides Christ the crucifix symbolically depicts the four Evangelists in the corners of the crucifix. Below the crucifix are mourning characters of Mary and St Joseph depicted in the recognizable Byzantine-gothic style.
The monastery complex acquired its final shape in the 15th century, when the vestry, the capital hall and the cloister were added.
The beautiful porches of the cloister were built between 1456 and 1483. The porches were built by local builders: Utišenović, Grubačević, Radmanović, and others from the designs of the Florentine architect Massa di Bartolomeo. The arches of the cloister are closed with beautiful, Gothic and Renaissance styled, triforiums. In the middle of the courtyard is a richly decorated stone well crown. The courtyard of the monastery is a like a green oasis under the summer sun as the green vegetation is breathing freshness hence giving out a soothing and refreshing feel almost like the mid-summer breeze.
In the east part of monastery complex the Capital hall is located. Monastery community used to hold their meetings in this hall. The hall was built by reputed Dubrovnik architect Božitko Bogdanović.To enter the hall from the cloister one has to pass through the Gothic stylised doors. On the sides are two bifurcated arches with removed pointy ends while the pavement contains around 30 gravestones from the 15th and 16th century. The back room contains the Renaissance sarcophagus of the bishop of Ston while in the front are the graves of noble Dubrovnik families, the most notable being the grave of poets Dinko Ranjina, and Junije Palmotić.
Moving from the Capital hall to the south one reaches a spacious gothic-roofed chapel and the vestry. The inscription on the wall tells the story that the vestry was built in 1485 by the famous Dubrovnik architect Paskoje Miličević who also arranged the port in the same year. The final resting place of this great Dubrovnik architect is located in this vestry he had built. The vestry with founding columns which hold up the belfry were built by order of the Gundulić family. Beside the vestry by the order of Syracuse merchant Giovanni Sparterius, builder Bartul Garcianus made a chapel with circular window, decorated with gothic-renaissance elements. The chapel, vestry, and the Capital Hall are all covered under a flat roof which gave the south-eastern part of the monastery a spacious terrace.
Although the complex of the Dominican Monastery has in some of its elements different style characteristics, from the Romanesque to the Baroque, it is a harmonious and logical architectural unit, but nevertheless predominantly Gothic and somewhat early Renaissance. A special treasure of this monastery is its library with over 220 incunabulas, numerous illuminated manuscripts, and rich archive with precious manuscripts and documents. The art and artifacts collection in the museum is very rich, and the best paintings of Dubrovnik art school of the 15th-16th centuries have found their proper place here.
A large collection of ex voto jewellery is something that will tingle the imagination and interest of any woman whether they like gold, silver, or coral jewellery as the museum collection is quite impressive.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.