Why you should visit the LOPUD 1483 Monastery in Croatia

By Rinshi Ansari

Croatia has a rich history, which is best illustrated by the abundance of attractions that are worth seeing. Most communities have a historic district with recognisable buildings. Both sections are necessary since there are variances between the shore and the continental portion. 

The middle and upland portions of Croatia have a mountainous climate, whilst the northern part of the country has a moderate continental climate. There is a lovely Mediterranean climate along the entire Adriatic coast. While winters are cold and snowy in the central and northern regions, spring and autumn are warm towards the coast.

Geographically diversified; low slopes and highlands close to the Adriatic coastline and islands; flat agricultural plains towards the Hungarian border (Central European region). There are 1,246 islands, with Korula being the most populous. The largest islands are Krk and Cres. Dinara has the highest point at 1,830 metres.

The most well-known location in Croatia is Dubrovnik, a shining example of seaside architecture, but it’s not the only one that’s worthwhile going to. The largest and capital city, Zagreb, which has a population of roughly 1 million, is also significant. Despite being a contemporary metropolis with all the latest amenities, it offers a relaxed atmosphere. The Slavonija region in the east, with its capital Osijek and the devastated Vukovar, is breathtaking.

And if you are looking for such a place to discover more in Croatia, you should visit this beautiful 15th century restored monastery called LOPUD 1483, which is set on an island off of Croatia’s Adriatic coast. It’s a place where spirituality abounds and silence rules. 

LOPUD 1483 is a rebuilt Franciscan monastery that has been looking out over the Elaphiti Islands and Croatia’s Dalmatian coast for centuries. It is situated on the northern peninsula of Lopud island, off the coast of Dubrovnik. LOPUD 1483, a five-suite monastery from the fifteenth century, is now open to visitors after receiving a thorough and attentive restoration by renowned art visionary Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza. It is available to rent exclusively for private stays and events.

The location was created in 1483 as a protected haven for rest and introspection.

Here, Franciscan monks had long since resided. But now, the location has been turned into an amazing private home where travellers seeking an unforgettable experience can spend the night. Renting the monastery that has been converted into a residence is simple.

This property is pure bliss and it took around 20 years of restoration work to breathe life into the building. It is located on the lovely island of Lopud, in the middle of the Elaphiti archipelago of 13 islands. But what’s fascinating is the romance that led to the project between the monastery and art collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Francesca visited Croatia in 1992 to restore churches. She met Father Pio Mario, a nearby priest, at that time. She viewed the existing monastery’s remains when he took her to the island of Lopud. She made the decision to save the abandoned church after falling in love with it at first sight.

She returned to Lopud with renowned American architect and designer Frank Gehry, who was born in Canada. The 20-year endeavour officially began when he advised that the building be restored. Because it was crucial to keep the building original, she preserved as much of it as she could.

The 13 tiny cells that the monks once occupied have been replaced by five spacious suites in the recently refurbished building. The lovely property, which is approximately 16,000 square feet in size, is currently a private rental for visitors. The establishment’s beautiful garden, which has more than 80 different plant species, is another standout feature.

Five luxury bedrooms with private bathrooms and views of the beach or the monastery’s healing gardens have been artfully created from the original 13 cells.

The interiors were carefully renovated using bespoke joinery and traditional plastering methods, fusing together historical Renaissance pieces from the Thyssen-Bornemiza collection with custom-made furniture by Italian designer Paola Lenti. The walls are decorated with tastefully chosen contemporary art works from the TBA21 Collection, which contrast with the historic architecture.

Every part of your stay at Lopud exudes elegance and simplicity, including the dishes that executive chef Marin prepared using locally sourced foods and homegrown ingredients.

Typical menu

Outdoor dining is a big part of the Lopud experience, from breakfasts on the sun deck to casual barbeques in the gorgeous upper gardens to sunset drinks atop the old fortress with a view of the Elaphiti islands nearby.

Diners who choose to eat inside can take in the Refectory’s revered surroundings and remarkable art collection or the Old Kitchen’s convivial ambiance while savouring wood-fired pizzas that have just come out of the authentic Croatian bread oven.

LOPUD 1483’s expansive gardens are drenched in mediterranean foliage, herbs, and natural animals and offer plenty of space for leisure, outdoor dining, and peaceful reflection. A stronghold that previously guaranteed the safety of the island’s residents by offering shelter and a line of defence against Ottoman pirate attacks is located at their centre, with magnificent views of the sea. Enjoy stunning views of the national park on Mljet and the neighbouring island of ipan from the fortress’s highest point.

Spend some quiet time strolling through the Sacred Garden that Arctic shaman Sa Andersson built. Independently of the nine unique stations, which are each inspired by ancient Norse and Sami healing practises, is intended for meditation and introspection.

The historic Franciscan Pharmacy, which was founded here by the monks who originally lived and meditated here, is located in another serene area of the grounds. Through a partnership between architects and horticulturists, we have given careful consideration to a modern interpretation of the Franciscan healing tradition and sensitively restored the monastery’s medicinal garden. Citrus fruits and aromatic, therapeutic herbs utilised in the Franciscan pharmaceutical tradition are now abundant in this region of the garden.

Sounds like heaven, right? What are you waiting for? Plan a holiday with your family and head to Croatia for your next vacation to visit this historical and magical place.

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