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Bell tower of monks and soldiers

Gomirje Monastery

"At the site where today the westernmost Orthodox monastery in Europe stands – the Gomirje monastery with the Church of Roždenije St John the Baptist – in past times was a Frankopan castle with a church dedicated to St Mary. Gomirje was first mentioned as part of Modruš County in 1461. After the Ottomans had destroyed the castle with the church, the settlement was demolished and the population was dispersed, and soldiers of the Orthodox faith were brought in for defence."

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With the arrival of the Orthodox population at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century, the monastery was also founded in 1600. In 1621 Vuk Krsto Frankopan erected a tower next to it which in 1719 was turned into a bell tower, and thereafter a church was attached to it. The monastery is a three-nave structure with a semi-circular apse, a bell tower at the front and a cupola. The interior is divided into the parvis, the nave and shrine whose cross vaults are illustrated in the baroque style. The story of the origin of the monastery says that with the first of Gomirje settlers there came one monk who was quite old and wasn’t able “as a military priest, which was then the custom, to go with the army against the enemy and be there for the soldiers for religious consolation”. So the people of Gomirje in that time accepted “about seven”, according to others six, monks who they themselves brought from the Dalmatian monastery of Krka, a region that is assumed to be the origin of the Gomirje settlers.