Lokrum Legends

author Ivana Dabrović
project Lokrum Legends: The Benedictines And Richard The Lionheart Exhibition, Lokrum, Croatia
written by Dubravko Bačić


The Island of Lokrum is an iconic place of Dubrovnik’s leisure, a locus amoenus, an Arcadian refuge and a favorite summer excursion site. A mysterious island of a rich, unhappy and exciting past, Lokrum is now a nature reserve of the ubiquitous Mediterranean flora and exotic fauna. It is inextricably linked to the Benedictines – from the 11th century, when they were first mentioned, to the point of their forced departure in 1798, modest and hard-working monks lived on Lokrum, cultivating it for their needs, and building a (now abandoned) spacious monastery and church (today visible only in the archaeological height). In the summer of 2016, a multimedia exhibition titled, Lokrum Legends was set up in the cellars of the former Benedictine monastery. The exhibition’s concept and architectural solution was authored by architect Ivana Dabrović and associates. Programmatically, two topics have been singled out in this year’s exhibition display, both of them inspired by centuriesold legends. The first is about Richard the Lionheart, the English King, for whom legend says that on his return from the Third Crusade, he was shipwrecked and was cast safely ashore on Lokrum. In the storm, he pledged to build a votive church on the place of his rescue. The second thematic unit is dedicated to the life of the Benedictine community that, according to its renowned slogan, had been staying on the island for centuries.