Franciscan Monastery Kostanjevica in Nova Gorica
Kostanjevica, a friendly hill overlooking Gorica, is where Count Matija Thurn commissioned a small monastery to the existing chapel, and bestowed both to Carmelite monks in 1649. The Carmelites have made extensive additions to the monastery in later years. In 1811, Kostanjevica was put into the care of Franciscan monks who have held on to it to this day. The church and monastery were severely damaged in the First World War, and much of the valuable art collection was lost. Only a few precious paintings were saved and these are displayed in today’s monastery.
The cultural and historical significance of Kostanjevica is further underscored by the crypt of the Bourbon dynasty, holding the remains of the last descendants of this French royal family. In 1836, the forcefully abdicated French king Charles X of Bourbon withdrew to Gorica where he died soon after. The crypt beneath the altar of the monastery church holds the stone sarcophagi of the last members of this family, with the exception of his wife who was interred in Graz.
The Škrabec library, named after father Stanislav Škrabec who was the biggest Slovenian linguist and a resident of Kostanjevica for over 40 years, is one of the greatest treasures of the monastery. It was established when the rich library from Sveta Gora which kept precious prints from the 16th century and on was transferred to Kostanjevica. Today, the library has circa 10,000 books and even 30 incunabula, of which the oldest dates to 1476. One of the most compelling treasures is the grammar book by Adam Bohorič, written in Latin and titled Arcticae horulae succisivae from 1584, with an inscription of the author himself. In 1952 the library was put under protection as a cultural monument.
Since 2004, the former garden of the monastery features another highlight: the Bourbon rose collection which is one of the most comprehensive and largest Bourbon collections in the world.