FRANCISCAN MONASTERY, HVAR TOWN
I'm back with another post from Hvar town. I will share with you another historical sight worth visiting in Hvar town and that would be this gorgeous Franciscan monastery dating back to 15th century. These photographs were taken back in February on a gloriously sunny and warm day winter day. I remember regretting taking my puffer with me because as the day progressed, it became quite hot. Curiously, the weather lately hasn't been exactly spring-like, so I kind of feel jealous of my past self in this moment. It is nice to revisit these sunny photographs. Moreover, these photographs were taken long before the whole corona epidemic thing, so strolling a historical town on that particular winter weekend was an extremely calming and relaxing experience. As I said, today I'll speak about this historical monastery and will even take you inside of it. So, scroll down to see and read more.
I've been meaning to visit this historical Franciscan monastery for a while and I'm glad I finally got the chance to do so. As I said, we visited it back in February. We first happened about a back entrance of sorts by accident while we were strolling the streets. The doors to that back entrance were probably locked ( I don't remember whether I checked or not) as there was some gardening work to be done. It is probably not the official entrance anyway, but it is great we got to see the back garden of the monastery with its beautiful olive trees. Anyhow, we continued our descend to the sea level as we planned to enjoy the promenade. We had a coffee in a nearby coffee and then walked for a while, finally approaching the monastery. It is such a beautiful place. The pine and the cypress trees complement the monastery perfectly. Before going inside of the monastery itself, we admired the statues in front of it and the Church of Our Lady of Mercy. I can never get enough of historical stone churches. Something about them really moves my heart. Finally, we went inside of the monastery and pretty much had the place all to ourselves. The reason why you won't typically see any people in the background of my photographs is because there aren't any people there. Island Hvar isn't densely populated. Seeing that we visited in off season, there weren't any tourists apart from ourselves. I do consider myself a tourist of sorts. I only do local travel, opting to travel in the place where I live so I'm very much a believer in the whole ' be a tourist in your own area' movement and philosophy.
INSIDE OF A HISTORICAL FRANCISCAN MONASTERY, HVAR
Inside of the monastery, we found much serenity. There were several art pieces and statues to admire as well as some historical artifacts. There is also a fascinating museum you can visit, but it wasn't opened when we visited. Supposedly there are some extremely rare and valuable items in the museum, such as a historical coin collection and a map from ancient master Prometheus. There was nobody around when we visited, but that was alright since I have a degree in Croatian language and literature so I'm (generally speaking) somewhat knowledgeable about the history of this place. I can be my own tour guide if not most of the time, then at least sometimes. Not that I would mind a real one. Indeed, I must admit there were some details about this place that I didn't know about, such as their possession of Last Supper painting by Venetian masters Francesco Santacroce and Palme. There is always more to learn. Moreover, I do plan to revisit this place. Especially now that I learned there is also a library there. Next time I plan to check their working hours so that I can enjoy a visit to the museum as well. Isn't this monastery beautiful? I particularly enjoy the stone details. In places like this, one feels like the time itself has stopped.
This monastery is the final resting place of a renowned Croatian Renaissance writer and playwright Hanibal Lučić (also known as Annibale Lucio). He wrote one of the first European non secular plays Robinja (The Slave Girl). The play is about a noble born Croatian girl who gets captured by pirates and sold into slavery. Hanibal is also known for his love poetry and Renaissance sonnets. As a teenager I adored learning about his sonnets. I still remember vividly the first time I read one of Hanibal best know sonnets Jur ni jedna na svit vila in high school. I even drew the lady as she was described in the poem. As an adult I still feel the same way about Hanibal's poetry. The noble born Hanibal was buried here in 1553 in a family tomb under the main altar. Somehow it feels very fitting that this Renaissance was buried within this beautiful monastery. The monastery itself was build in 1461. In fact, Hanibal's father was one of the nobeles who helped build it. Supposedly, Hanibal's father donated a thousand gold coins for its construction. It is said that the monastery and the church were financed principally by Hvar's nobles and sea captains and commanders. It is a magnificent structure indeed, standing strong for more than 550 years. A testament to the rich cultural, spiritual and intellectual history of Hvar town. Plus, it's a truly beautiful sight.
Here are a few more photographs taken in front of the monastery and the church devoted to our lady of Mercy. I definitely recommend visiting this place if you find yourself in a Hvar town. It is a beautiful, educating and serene, both inside and out. If you don't decide to come in, you can also enjoy a view from the outside. The bell tower is beautiful and even the wall that surrounds the monastery and the church is absolutely beautiful. It is wonderful to see such an old structure (as in more than half of a millennium old!) so well preserved and taken care of. I imagine it hasn't changed that much since the way it was build. The whole area surrounding it, with the beautiful garden and the stone walls looks absolutely enchanting. It was a privilege and a blessing to visit it.
If you want to see more of Hvar town, you are welcome to check some of my previous posts about it.