Benedictine Monastery, Island of Lokrum, Croatia

The small island of Lokrum stands off Dubrovnik and is taken up mostly with a nature reserve. It is a peaceful haven away from the bustle of the City, particularly if you walk away from the landing stage.

The Benedictine's founded their monastery here in 1023, so it was probably here that Richard the Lionheart would have taken shelter if the stories of his shipwreck here are true.

The monastery was twice enlarged and the bell tower moved before the 1667 earthquake hit. It destroyed most of Dubrovnik and turned the monastery into a ruin. It was subsequently made habitable and became associated with Padua, giving the old enemy of the State of Dubrovnik, the Venetians, a toe-hold in the area.

The monastery was abandoned in 1798. The French occupied the island during the Napoleonic Wars and built Port Royal Castle on the islands highest point (from where the photo above was taken). In 1859 Archduke Maximilian Hapsburg bought Lokrum and turned the remains of the Monastery into a palace.

The Monastery and the Botanical Gardens on the island were both hit by shells during the 1991/92 and neither have quite regained their previous state of repair.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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