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 demolish that monastery to prevent its use by the enemy in the eventual case that the City might be besieged. The new monastery inside the City walls was constructed the same year, in 1317, but the work on the monastery continued throughout centuries.
The same year is taken for the establishment of Friars Minor pharmacy. The rule of the Franciscan order was to take care of the sick brethren. However this particular pharmacy was designed and founded as the public pharmacy, as well as for the needs of the monks, which is corroborated by the original location of the pharmacy being the monastery's ground floor. The establishment of the pharmacy provided a steady income to the order and solved their materialistic needs. Today the Friars Minor pharmacy is the third oldest functioning pharmacy in the entire world. Since 1938, when the idea of a pharmacy museum was realized in the Franciscan monastery, curios visitors may enjoy the wonderful exhibits from the history of this noble trade.
The large Franciscan church had been one of the richest churches in Dubrovnik at the time, when it was destroyed in the Great earthquake of 1667. The only element of the former building which has been preserved is the portal on the south wall. It was probably moved from the front to the lateral wall in the course of the restoration in the 17th century. According to the contract of 1498, this portal, the most monumental one in Dubrovnik at that time, was carved in the leading local workshop owned by the brothers Leonard and Petar Petrović. The portal has all the marks of the Gothic style, but the solid volumes of the figures show the Renaissance spirit.
The northern wall of the church closes the southern wing of one of the most beautiful cloisters of Dubrovnik. This cloister was built in late Romanesque style by master Mihoje Brajkov of Bar in 1360. The ambient is most harmonious, framed by a colonnade of double hexaphoras, each with a completely different capital. The Franciscan cloister is one of the most valuable late Romanesque creations on the Croatian shores of the Adriatic. The Franciscan monastery has another cloister built in the Gothic style, but it is for private use only and not accessible to the public.The cloister of Friars Minor Monastery is one of the most beautiful places one is able to visit inside the Old Town Dubrovnik. In combination with the valuable museum exhibits and the story behind Franciscan monastery and its centuries old pharmacy makes the Franciscan Monastery an unavoidable attraction of Dubrovnik, which every visitor should take time to experience.
The monastery owns one of the richest old libraries in the Croatia, famous all over the world for the value of its inventory. The book collection consist of over 70000 books, over 1200 of which are old manuscripts of extraordinary value and importance, 216 incunabulas and 22 tomes of old church corals made from 15th to 17th century. The collection of liturgical and art objects is exhibited in the large Renaissance hall, containing the inventory of the old Franciscan pharmacy, paintings by old masters, valuable specimens of gold-work and rare books.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.