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Benedictine Monastery – Mljet

The Benedictine Monastery complex also includes Church of St. Mary at St Marys Islet in Mljet National Park. It was built in the 12th century and since then has been rebuilt on several occasions when the original Romanesque structure was complemented by additional Baroque and Renaissance details. Here are some photos from our last visit:

Views from the boat to Benedictine Monastery at St Mary's Islet
Benedictine Monastery at Mljet island – outside walls and tower – views from the boat

Small St Mary’s Church (in the left corner of the above photo) is the Monastery’s church. It forms the part of the same complex that is entirely encircled by high defence walls and watchtowers against passing by pirates and thieves.

Some parts of the monastery are opened to visitors, as well as a Church of St. Mary where you can see the numerous engraved stone tiles on the floor which are actually gravestones.

The Benedictine monks, while they were living on the islet, used to have a mill for which they used tide change as a powerful force. That’s why they also deepened and widened the narrow channel to enable the tidal surge to freely flow between lakes and the open sea.

Benedictine Monastery at St Mary's Islet - inside court, walls and towers
Benedictine Monastery at St Mary’s Islet – inside court, walls and towers

According to some sources, the monks abandoned the monastery in the mid-1800s and since then, the building was used as an office block and later on as a hotel. In recent years there is an initiative to restore the whole monastery complex to the original state. When we visited that was obvious that restoration works were going on and the monastery was well looked after.

Benedictine Monastery at St Mary's Islet, Mljet island - inside cloister with garden
Benedictine Monastery – inside cloister with garden

Nowadays, a handy small café-restaurant and souvenir shop are on the ground floor of the monastery complex. When we visited, they served a lovely coffee and cold drinks as well as some tasty pizzas and pasta dishes. The restaurant, busy in the summertime, has a fantastic location offering beautiful views of the lake.

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