St. Jerome’s church and the area of the current Dominican monastery belong to a great monastery complex founded for the Augustinians in 1315 by the Devin princes who were feudal rulers of Rijeka, and completed by their successors, the barons Walse, in the first half of the of the 15th century.
The votive chapels of the Holy Trinity and the Immaculate Conception are the most important gothic monuments in Rijeka. The Holy Trinity Chapel, currently a sacristy situated beside the eastern cloister, was constructed in 1450 by Rijeka’s captain Raucher Martin and his wife Margarit, whose coats of arms can be found on the chapel entrance plaque, while the remains of the mural on the gothic ribbed ceiling attest to the influence of the gothic cultural circle.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Rijeka’s captain Gaspar Rauber and his wife Katarina constructed the Immaculate Conception Chapel, situated beside the northern cloister. The crossed ribbed ceiling with shallow relief heraldic motifs on stones, as well as the remains of the mural on the ceiling and the façade, are preserved from this late gothic phase. In 1676, the brotherhood of Rijeka’s patricians of the Immaculate Conception extended the chapel into a three-nave area. The marble altar from the beginning of the 18th century is the work of the sculptor-master Lazzarini, while the altarpiece is the work of the painter Ivan Simonetti from 1850.
In the middle of the 16th century, the Prior of the monastery Ivan Klobučarić, known as Fluminensis, was a painter-cartographer of Gradac and Vienna’s Court. Currently, his aquarelle paintings of Rijeka’s sights, which are of exquisite quality and historical value, are preserved in Vienna’s War Archive. In 1543, in the times of Prior Ivan Primožić, the visage of the monastery was finally defined, which is attested by the monument’s epigraphy.
After an earthquake in 1759, a single-nave gothic church was erected and extended towards the west, and its interior and main façade were redecorated in a baroque style. The monumental main altar represents the work of the sculptor Antonio Michelazzia from 1744, and the altarpiece “Mother of God with St. Jerome and St. Augustine” is a high quality work by an unknown artist from the end of the 17th century. The altarpiece is of monumental dimensions, illustrating the important appearance of the town of Rijeka in the background of two saints, while St. Jerome holds a model of the monastery of that time in his hand.
In the church are the marble altars of St. Monica and St. Ružarija who founded brotherhoods bearing the their names, whilst the altarpieces are attributed to the Venetian painter Francesco Fontebasso. On the side walls of the church are the altars of Nikola Toletinski and of Our Lady of Good Advice, with a small painting of the Mother of God from an older alter.
Among the numerous paintings of the Dominican monastery collection, there is a valuable work by the domestic painter Ivan Krstitelj Cosimini, the “Deputation of Shepherds” from 1687. In the monastery cloister, there are 23 sepulchral slabs of Rijeka’s patricians embedded peripherally. The following ones stand out due to their quality: captain Nikola Rauber`s sepulchral slab from 1482 with the figure of a knight in armour wielding a hammer; those of Martin Raunacher and his wife Margarita in red marble with a relief of their coat of arms. In the church sanctuary are sepulchral slabs of the feudal rulers Devin and Walse, Augustinian monks and Joseph Minollia, the donator of the main altar.
In the Resolution Square of Rijeka (Trg Riječke Rezolucije), which had served as a playground for the patricians’ children since 1700, the emperor Maximilian raised a stone flagpole known as the Stendarac to mark the loyalty of the city in the period of the Venetian occupation in 1508, and as a confirmation of its political rights.
In 1788, the Augustinian order was abolished by imperial decree and the complex was placed under the management of the priesthood of peace. In 1833, the City council repurchased the monastery area and redesigned it for the purpose of administration, but it was only with the plan of renovation in 1874 that the Municipal achieve the current appearance.