The island of Lokrum in Dubrovnik, paradise on earth

    Effective part of Dubrovnik, when visiting the city you cannot leave out the fascinating and mysterious island of Lokrum and visit the ancient millenary monastery founded by the Benedictine monks in 1023. It is a very green islet, of a romantic beauty, an oasis of peace, of sunshine , open and clean sea, small bays, pine forests, laurel and lush subtropical vegetation.

    The island is cloaked in a deep sense of mystery and is the subject of several legends, which contribute to increasing its interest, not only naturalistic therefore, but also historical-mythological. According to one of them, in 1192 Richard I of England (the Lionheart) found safety on the island following a shipwreck on the way back from the Crusades, and as a sign of gratitude he decided to have a church built on the island . However, under pressure from the citizens of Dubrovnik (then Ragusa) the church was not built on the island, but in the city itself.

    Even more interesting is a second legend, which originates from the moment in which Napoleon dissolves the Benedictine order and expels all the monks who then lived on Lokrum. From there began the legend that the chased monks launched a curse on the island, sprinkling the perimeter of melted wax during a strange procession. The curse would strike anyone who tries to possess and live on the island.

    After Napoleon, the monastery and the island came into possession of the Habsburgs, and the Archduke Maximilian renovated the monastery in neo-Gothic style, making it his summer residence, embellished with plants and animals (to admire an important colony of peacocks) imported from South America and from Australia. From there began one series of tragedies, starting from the archduke, assassinated in Mexico. Later the villa passed to private owners, until it was bought back by the Archduke Rudolph of Habsburg. Rudolph also died in tragic circumstances, his mother gave the island to the Benedictines, until the property was bought by the Windischgrätz princes. Through successive marriages, and strange family events, Lacroma returned as a dowry to a member of the Habsburg family and it was for this reason that the Yugoslav government asked for his kidnapping. The controversy was settled with ample compensation for the family, but the widespread legend of the island's curse did not fade.

    Today the old residence has been transformed into a botanical museum-park inserted in the nature reserve of which the island belongs since 1964 and in 1976 it became a special reserve of wild vegetation. In addition, today a restaurant can be found in the ancient monastery. There the ferries arrive in about 30 minutes, and from there several itineraries depart to visit the island, including the one that leads to the so-called "dead sea", a small lake in the center, or the one that leads to the nudist beach, at the far end. southeastern.

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