The Dominican Monastery is situated on the eastern side of the city, encompassed by the tall city walls and protected by the powerful Fort Revelin. The monastery is one of the richest treasuries of cultural, artistic and historical heritage of old Dubrovnik.
With the financial assistance of the Dubrovnik authorities and with the hard work of the residents of the entire area, who were ordered to work on the building, the construction of this great urban complex continued until 1301. In the beginning, the monastery was situated outside the city walls, at an important defence position for the Republic. It was quickly included into the entire defence structure of the city, thus creating a whole together with the city. It was only partially damaged by the earthquake, and with its magnificent monumentalism, which is not as apparent from the external street side, it is one of the loveliest architectural monuments of old Dubrovnik. By its position, ambient and beauty, this unique monastery and urban complex, together with its individual structures, is harmoniously joined into one entity. It was constructed gradually over several centuries, from the 14th to the 16th century, with some reconstruction occurring later. Elements of varying styles are visible, Romanesque and Baroque, while the majority of elements are an interweaving of the flowery Gothic and Renaissance. The works were conducted by many domestic masters, from Dubrovnik and Zadar, in cooperation with the Italians. The magnificently embellished courtyard, with its columns, cloisters, beautiful trefoils and stone well in the centre of the courtyard were carved, built and embellished by the domestic masters Utisenovic, Grubacevic and Radmanovic and others according to the original plans by the master Masso di Bartolomeo from Florence in the middle of the 15th century.
This courtyard is considered to be one of the most splendid realizations of Dalmatian flowery Gothic architecture of the second half of the 15th century. The sacristy in the Gothic style was constructed by renowned domestic master Paskoje Milicevic from Dubrovnik at the end of the 15th century, who also constructed many other significant structures in Dubrovnik. As a show of gratitude, his name is engraved into one of the walls of this church with public praise, and he was buried in this church, as were many other deserving citizens of Dubrovnik. The south portal, richly embellished, is the work of Bonino from Milan.
The monastery has a very rich collection of art, in particular, valuable paintings by the greatest Dubrovnik painters: Polyptych (15th century) by Lovro Dobricevic, Triptych (16th century) by Mihajl Hamzic, and several paintings by Nikola Bozidarevic. Particularly interesting is Bozidarevic's Triptych, in which an accurate model of Dubrovnik from the early 16th century is depicted in the arms of St. Blaise (Vlaho). The collection includes several works by Vlaho Bukovac, the distinguished Croatian painter born in Cavtat (20th century), in particular the altar painting 'The Miracle of St. Dominic' and well as pieces by modern Dubrovnik painter Ivo Dulcic. Of the old masters, the most well known paintings are the crucifix by the great Venetian artist Paolo Veneziano, a work of great artistic value (14th century), Tiziano's altar painting St. Magdalene (16th century) and icons of masters from Crete and Venice (16th century), the diptych by Flemish masters (16th century) and others.
The monastery has a precious museum collection, including valuable artefacts of golden art by domestic masters. Of particular note are the lovely chalice, the Gothic-Renaissance monstrance and the silver cross. The monastery library and archives house valuable manuscripts, including 220 incunabula. Several of the manuscripts are decorated with exceptionally lovely initial letters.
During the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the monastery church is the venue for concerts of sacral chamber music, and offers the visitors an unforgettable experience in the exceptional acoustics and special ambient of this beautiful church.