The Reneval of Habsburg Summer Residency on Lokrum

The Benedictine Monastery and Maximillian’s Mansion on Lokrum island are currently undergoing renovations. I
„The renovations started 20 days ago and in addition to the reconstruction of the monastery and cleansing of the waste accumulated there over the years, the project also includes a garden study. The goals is to fix up the park access from port Portoč to the Benedictine monastery in order to have a fully cultivated garden and natural heritage on the island“ said the director of a Public Institution Lokrum Ivica Grilec at the recent press conference.
Only in 2019, there will be about 4 and a half million kuna plus VAT invested in the renovations, while the estimated value of the overall project is more than 100 million kuna.
Art historian Ivan Viđen mentioned the archeological reseraches that began in the late 90s on the remains of the first Romanesque monastery, saying that renovations and archaeological research such as this one aren’t news for Lokrum.
„This year we are working on the Gothic cloister. Special teams are assigned to carry out research whose results are important not only for scientific findings but also for the future presentation of the building. It is important to mention that through many degradations in the 20th century many parts of the monastery were blurred by refurbishments, upgrades and non-maintenance, and we want to find an earlier, more authentic appearance of the complex“ added Viđen. The special probes were placed at the western part of the monastery which was completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1667.
„When talking about the park surrounding the monastery, we have found that it is undoubtedly marked with the Maximillian phase. The second half of the 19th century emphasized everything exotic and Lokrum was a kind of experimental station for the acclimatization of exotic plant species. We have consulted a large number of archival materials in Split, Zadar, Trieste, Vienna and Dubrovnik and based on comprehensive research concluded that there are 2 300 plants in the west part, and about 800 more in the currently accessible part of garden. Emperor Maximilian, a passionate botanist sponsored two large expeditions and brought several varieties of orchids, bananas, pineapples, sequoias…and a total of 150 species of exotic plants from Brasil to Lokrum“ said Dr.Sc. Mara Marić, head of the Institute for Mediterranean Culture at the University of Dubrovnik.
Marić concluded that we can not expect gardens will look excatly like they used to look at the Maximillian’s time as plants are something that is constantly changing and developing.