Because, with its amazing location, facing the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of the Europe’s most beautiful walled towns. and one of the most prestigious tourist places in the Mediterranean Sea.
Regardless of whether you are exploring Dubrovnik for the 1st time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the charm of the old city. Dubrovnik is immersed in amazing architecture and sculptural detail, and features stunning churches, museums and abbeys. An invaluable resource for travellers looking for cheap accommodation in Dubrovnik can be found here.
The Franciscan Friars Minor monastery
A long time ago, the Franciscans have had their own monastery in the suburbs of Pile, outside the city walls. The circumstances and danger from attackers forced them to move inside the walls and to demolish their former residence. The construction of the new monastery began in 1317 in the area between Stradun (Placa) and the Minceta fortress. Protected by thick walls and strong Gate of Pila and Minceta fortress, the Franciscans have built a luxurious oasis with the monastery with beautiful cloister, belonging church, pharmacy and an excellent equipped library. The historic record testify of an extremely luxurious and decorated church of Friars Minor, with many valuable works in the interior, such as the paintings by Caravaggio and Rafael. Unfortunately, the whole complex was damaged in the earthquake of 1667. Only late gothic doors with the sculpture of the Our Lady holding her dead son (Pieta) remained to this day. The church was later reconstructed and is now one of the most beautiful in the city, even though it never lived up to its previous fame. Amongst other artifacts, you can see an altar painting by Celestin Medovic and the final resting place of Ivan Gundulic.
The pharmacy of Friars Minor was one of those unusual attractions that Dubrovnik is famous for around the world. It is one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe founded in 1317, and the oldest that have been operational from the beginning, considering it is still operational today! It was first used as a monastery pharmacy for the monks, and was later opened for the public. Besides its practical use, the pharmacy is important for many kept historical documents, like numerous recipes or medicine and pharmacology books.
The library evolved along with the monastery, and through the centuries became home to an important and valuable collection. Unfortunately, after the earthquake of 1667, there was a big fire that ruined most of the collection that were being kept from the very founding of the monastery. Still, diligent Friars Minors were patiently involved in the creation of the new collection, which by its extent and value soon reached the former library.
There are several hundred incunables today with a total of more than 70.000 printed books and numerous manuscripts. It is interesting that it also has a musical archive with more than 10.000 compositions save. There are works of more than 1.800 compositors, 240 of them are national compositors.
Gate of Pile
Gate of Pile are actually made from outer and inner gates and two connected bridges. When you enter the city through the Gate of Pile, the first part of the bridge is made of stone, but his ending is a wooden mobile bridge, which was lifted each night and lowered each morning, which have kept the city safe from night raids. The stone bridge with arches with the practical stone benches by its fence was projected by a famous Dubrovnik constructor Paskoje Milicevic in the 15th century. At the end of the bridge, above the outer gates, there is a monument for the passengers, of the city’s patron St Blaise. If you miss it, don’t worry, there is another monument of St Blaise above the inner gates :). When you pass the curvy path through the Gate of Pile, you reach Stradun and Great Onofrio Fountain, and on the left you can see the Friars Minor monastery.
Gate of Ploce
Like the Gate of Pile, Gate of Ploce also gave outer and inner gates and a combination of the stone and wooden bridge. The first part of the bridge over the trench is built from stone, while in front of the outer gate there is a mobile wooden bridge. Next to the outer part of the Gate of Ploce there is a Revelin fortress, which is not a part of the walls itself, but is a part of the city’s fortification system.