In the east part of the city and close to the walls is the large architectural complex of the Dominican monastery. It is a major treasury of cultural and art heritage in Dubrovnik. In its library are numerous illuminated manuscripts and a rich archive with precious documents. The monastery and church buildings were completed in the 14th century although the Dominicans established their monastery in 1225. The church is one of the largest Gothic buildings on the east Adriatic coast. Of a simple architectural design featuring a hall with a pentagonal Gothic apse which is separated from the central area by three high openings with Gothic arches. The Monastery complex acquired its final shape in the 15th century when the vestry, the chapter house and the cloister were added.
The beautiful porches of the cloister were built between 1456 and 1483 by local builders. The arches of the cloister are closed by Gothic and Renaissance triforas. In the middle of the courtyard is a richly decorated cistern crown.
The interior is rich in stone church furniture, a pulpit , gravestones and Renaissance niches.
Located on the wall in the north aisle of Lichfield Cathedral is an oval monument in memory of Theophania, daughter of Thomas Coningsby – Lord of North Mims. The white marble monument is richly decorated with foliated sculpture, cherubs and features the Coningsby Arms at the top with the Arms of the Deanery of Lichfield at the bottom.
On the west wall of the north transept in the Church of St Peter & St Paul is the monument to James Noel. The son of Viscount Campden, James died in 1681 aged 18 years.
The white marble effigy represents James resting on a pedestal where two infants sit on a cushion. The pedestal inscription has both English and Latin verses.
The large complex of the Franciscan monastery (Friars Minor) is located at the very beginning of the Placa and to the left of the Pile Gate. Spreading north along the walls as far as the tower Minceta, the lateral facade of the monastery church runs along the principle street of Dubrovnik. The monastery building was started in 1317. Some parts were destroyed and rebuilt several times. The large Franciscan church which was one of the richest in Dubrovnik at the time, was destroyed in the 1667 earthquake. The portal on the south wall is the only element of the former building which has been preserved.
The portal is believed to have been moved from the front to the lateral wall during the course of the 17th century restoration. It was the most monumental portal in Dubrovnik, according to the contract of 1498, and was carved in the local workshop owned by the brothers Leonard and Petar Petrovic. The figures of St.Jerome and St.John the Baptist are set above the door-posts with the Pietr in relief is represented in the central Gothic lunette. Above the lunette is the figure of the Father Creator.
The cloister was built by master Mihoje Brajkov of Bar in 1360. Framed by a colonnade of double hexaphoras with each having a completely different capital.
The Franciscan cloister is of late Romanesque design and considered one of the most valuable creations on the Croatian shores of the Adriatic.
In 1317 a pharmacy was founded in the monastery, the third oldest in the world and continues to function today. The monastery owns one of the richest libraries in Croatia, famous all over the world for its inventory. The collection has over 20,000 books, over 1200 of which are old manuscripts and 7 books of old church corals.
Shield set in the stone walls of the cloister
Located on the south wall of the chancel in the Church of St Peter & St Paul is a wall monument to the 4th Earl of Gainsborough and his wife, Countess Elizabeth Gainsborough. Erected in 1790, the monument is the work of the 18th century British born sculptor Joseph Nollekens.
Reclining upon a sarcophagus, the Countess is represented with her right arm pointing to medallions busts of herself and her two husbands. A weeping cherub sits beneath the medallions with an extinguished torch.
Located in the Pedilavium in Lichfield Cathedral is the bronze sculpture of Edward Sydney Woods who was Bishop of Lichfield from 1937-1953. The sculpture is the work of the American born sculptor, painter and illustrator, Sir Jacob Epstein and was created in 1958. Epstein was a member who founded the London Group in 1913 and he was knighted in 1954.
The Placa – west to east
Placa is derived from the Greek and Latin Platea which we translate as “street”. The present shape of the Placa was as a result of the earthquake of 1667 when Dubrovnik was rebuilt hastily after destruction and fires. The unified construction of two rows of stone houses, of equal height with similar fronts and similar interior arrangement, and built in the Baroque style now form the appearance of the Placa. The Senate of the Republic ruled that every house should have space for several shops on the ground floor. Placa is the main open urban area in Dubrovnik and favoured as a gathering place and promenade. It is the main business street of the old city centre and popular with processions and feasts. The street divides the old city into northern and southern halves and is the shortest route between the western and eastern gates. It was created at the end of the 11th century.
The Placa – eastern end
In the western end of the Placa, close to the Pile Gate, the street widens into Paskoja Milicevica Square where the Franciscan Monastery is located. At the opposite, eastern end the Placa widens into Luza square. This square was formerly used as a market place. A great number of important administrative and sacral buildings are situated around the square such as the Baroque church of St Blasius, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, Little Onofrio’s Fountain, Sponza Palace and the Mint. The main festivities take place on Luza square including the feast of St Blasius and the opening ceremony of the summer festival.
Street music along the Placa
Built in 1444, the Bell Tower with clock is right in the axis of the Placa. Standing 31 metres high, it is one of the symbols of the free city state. It was built by the local masters Grubacevic, Utisenovic and Radoncic. Prior to its construction, the clock was on the Rector’s Palace. The coloured brass face of the new clock with the hand showing the phases of the moon and the two human figures which strike the bell, were made by Luka, son of admiral Miho Zugrovic. A new plate with ciphers was made at a later date by the painter MAtko Juncic. The wooden figures were replaced by horses. In 1509, the noted bell-founder Ivan of Rab cast another bell with an epigraph by Ilija Lampridije Crijevic. Sadly hit by an earthquake and losing its stability, it leaned and became in danger of falling. It was therefore rebuilt in 1929 after the original drawings.
At the entrance to Repton School is Priory Arch. Dating to the 13th century, the arch remains a survivor of the former Priory Gatehouse. The Priory was founded around 1172 and was dissolved at the time of the Reformation.
Priory Arch features a triple chamfered pointed arch, nook shafts, moulded capitals and is Grade I listed.