On the western side of the city, under the protection of the city walls and the unconquerable Minceta Fort, is the Franciscan monastery Male brace (Little brothers). This monastery and the Dominican one are a cultural, artistic and historical legacy of the Dubrovnik Republic. The old Franciscan monastery was once situated outside the city walls in the suburb of Pile. However, due to the threat of war which threatened the Republic in the early 14th century, the Franciscans were forced to move into the city, demolish the old monastery and build a new within the protected city walls. The construction of the monastery began in 1317 and lasted many years.
The monastery complex encompasses a large space, from Place (Stradun) to the Minceta Fort. Over the centuries, individual sections were affected and caved in, particularly during the great earthquake of 1667, when the beautiful church, one of the loveliest and richest at the time, was completely destroyed. All that was preserved of the original appearance of the church were the southern doors, vaulted with a sculpture of the Pieta of exceptional beauty and artistic value, framed with an archivolt in the Gothic style. This monumental portal even today testifies to the former beauty of the church, and is also one of the most significant works of the late Gothic period in Dubrovnik. It was constructed in 1499 by the Petrovic brothers, Dubrovnik master builders. The monastery cloister is considered to be one of the loveliest structures in Dubrovnik. The ambient of exceptional harmony, with its luxurious decor of stone, framed with a colonnade of double hexafores, each with a different and unique capital - the work of master builder Mihoje Brajkov from Bar, who completed these works in the middle of the 14th century.
This cloister is also a magnificent realization of the late Romanesque style on our coast. Furthermore, the monastery has yet another (upper) Gothic cloister which survived the great earthquake, for the purposes of the monastery and is inaccessible to the public. Still operating within the framework of the monastery is the pharmacy, founded at the same time as the monastery in 1317, making it one of the oldest in Europe (third by time of establishment), and perhaps the oldest in Europe in terms of continuity of operations from establishment to the present day. The monastery library is considered to be one of the most significant old libraries in Croatia and in the world. It is home to a wealth of cultural and historical treasures of Dubrovnik, including over 1200 old manuscripts of immeasurable cultural and historical value, 137 incunabula and 7 books of old church chorales. Overall, a total of 20,000 items.
The monastery museum collection is housed in the great Renaissance hall, which is entered through the cloister. The museum includes a complete collection of the inventory of the old pharmacy, a unique collection. There are also valuable items from the goldsmith trade, made of gold and silver, paintings of the old masters, exhibits of rare library items and more. The Franciscan church also has a specific and unforgettable ambient, where musical concerts are organized as part of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, as well as numerous other concerts throughout the year.