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The school of the Michelangelo of the miniature

Pauline monastery, Crikvenica

"The castle, monastery, hospital, children’s home, resort, hotel… All that construction is of the past, which in 1412 Nikola IV Frankopan erected on the foundations of the old church, not at all suspecting that he had built a “multipurpose” castle. Nikola, indeed, immediately had a clear vision – he built a monastery for the Paulines, however in the spirit of heroic times he also gave it some elements of fortification. It is located on the eastern part of Crikvenica, surrounded by a high wall whose remains are still visible, a large park plus the monastery building and a single-nave church, which is the oldest part of the complex."

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In the beginning this was the abandoned Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, until a monastery was built in this place – a large structure fortified with a round tower, with an enclosed courtyard and a large cistern. It is not by chance that Nikola Frankopan chose the followers of St Paul the Hermit, who the people called “the white monks” because of their white habits. The order that came to Croatia from Hungary, for the four hundred years that the Paulines were in Crikvenica, for the whole of Vinodol it was a nursery of spiritual culture, education, art, sciences, medicine, pharmacy and other activities. Juraj Julije Klović Hrvat (Georgius Julius Croata), born in Grižane in 1498, died in Rome 1578, was a famous miniaturist, known as the ‘Michelangelo of the miniature’, acquired his initial education in the monastery. He worked at the monastery in Crikvenica until 1786 when the Pauline Order was abolished by a decree from Austrian Emperor Joseph II. This was a great blow for the development and culture of Crikvenica, the monastery library was broken up, the extensive monastery artistic and scientific treasure plus the valuable historical Glagolitic records were taken. Since then the monastery has passed through many redevelopments. In 1893 the monastery-castle was renovated and converted into a health resort, later into a children’s home and holiday resort. The current successor of the foundation, the Hotel Kaštel, dedicates great attention to the memory of the Paulines and the Frankopans. At the main entrance, on the lintel of the courtyard doorway, the Pauline Order's coat of arms with two lions breaking bread under a palm tree continues to testify to its Frankopan roots.