Kostanjevica Monastery – Tomb of the last French King and the Rose Bourbon Collection

Kostanjevica Monastery, Škrabčeva ulica, Nova Gorica, Slovenia

Website of the Sanctuary

+386 5 330 77 50

From Monday to Saturday: from 9.00 - 12.00 h and from 15.00 - 17.00 h Sunday (only tomb): from 15.00 – 17.00 h

Tombs of the Bourbons

Charles X (1757–1836) became the king of France in 1824. He was an autocratic ruler whose actions did much to bring about the revolution in July 1830, when the entire family had to leave the country. Hi died of cholera on November 6, 1936, in the Coronini Palace, seventeen days after his arrival in Gorica. On November 11, he was buried in the church of Kostanjevica.

Franciscan monastery Kostanjevica Nova Gorica - Little St. Denis

In addition to this last French king, several other members of the Bourbon family found their final resting places in the church crypt:

  • Louis XIX (1775–1844), Duke of Angoulême, the oldest son of Charles X, died in Gorizia in the palace of the Counts Strassoldo.
  • Marie Thérèse Charlotte (1778–1851), Duchess of Angoulême, wife of Louis XIX, daughter of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (daughter of Austrian Empress Maria Theresa).
  • Marie Thérèse Beatrice Gaetana (1817–1886), Archduchess of Austria-Este, wife of Henri V. She had the crypt built so that the remains of the last Bourbons could all be gathered in this place.
  • Henri V (1820–1883), Count of Chambord, son of Charles Ferdinand and grandson of Charles X. He was the last member of the French Bourbons.
  • Louise Marie Thérèse (1819–1864), Duchess of Parma, sister of Henri V. After the violent death of her husband Charles III, Duke of Parma, she was the regent for her underage son.

In a niche in front of the crypt are the remains of Louis Jean Casimir, Duke of Blacas, Marquis D’Aulps (1771-1839). As the Court Minister of Charles X, he accompanied him into exile. He obtained property in Šmaver (San Mauro, Italy) and in Kanal.

Schedule of Holy Masses and Confession

  • Sunday at 7., 8., 10. and 18. h
  • Holidays during the week at 7., 10. and 19. h
  • Workdays at 7. and 19. h

Schedule of visits for the Tombs and library

  • Working days (from Monday to Saturday): from 9. – 12.h and from 15. – 17.h
  • Sunday (only tomb): from 15. – 17.h
  • For organized groups it is necessary to book in advance.

History of the Kostanjevica Monastery

A side from various legendary accounts about the founding of the church, there remains one historical fact. In 1623, Count Mathias Thurn had a small church built on this spot. After it was completed, an image of Mary was placed in the church so the faithful could meet in prayer and for liturgical devotions. The Count also had a small monastery built next to the church. The first permanent caretakers of the church and the monastery were the Carmelites who for 134 years enlarged and beautified both buildings. As a consequence of the 1781 decree of Austrian Emperor Joseph II, the Carmelites had to leave Kostanjevica four years later.

Franciscan monastery Kostanjevica Nova Gorica - Little St. Denis

The monastery and the church were closed for nine years. In 1811, Kostanjevica was entrusted to the care of the Franciscans who have managed it to this day. After the church was destroyed in World War I the Franciscans had it rebuilt in 1924–1929. The stucco was redone and the church was again resplendent in its former beauty.

The image of Mary with the baby Jesus

The image of Mary with the baby Jesus is situated in the middle of the main altar, surrounded by a frame of golden rays. This fresco of our merciful Mother, known also as Our Lady of Kostanjevica, was made by Leonardo Rigo. The fresco of The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the ceiling of the church was painted by Giovanni Moro, a Friulian artist.

Franciscan monastery Kostanjevica Nova Gorica - Little St. Denis

The stone memorial tablets in honor of the dead are distinctive of the church of Kostanjevica and indicate the closeness which the nobles of Gorica felt towards this place.

The tombs of the last members of the French royal family of the Bourbons can be found in the crypt of the church of Kostanjevica. These nobles were exiled from France in the revolution of 1830. At first they found refuge in Edinburgh, Scotland; from there they went to Prague, in the current Czech Republic. Finally they came to Gorica where they were received as the guests of Count Coronini. When they died, they were buried here and for this reason Kostanjevica is known as the “Little St. Denis”.

 

The Kostanjevica Monastery

Kostanjevica includes at least three cultural and spiritual experiences. It is a place of ecclesiastical art and a center of spirituality (church and monastery); it is a historical center (the Tombs of the Bourbons) and cultural center (the monastery library). The Franciscan Fathers have maintained these treasures for almost 200 years.

The independent vicaritat, established on Kostanjevica in 1947, was elevated to the status of parish of Nova Gorica – Kapela in 1953. Between 1950 and 1964, Kostanjevica was the headquarters of the Apostolic Administrator for the Slovenian part of the Archdiocese of Gorica.

In 1985, the entire complex of Kostanjevica (the monastery and its library, the church and the Bourbon tombs) was declared a cultural and historical landmark. As such, they preserve a part of the Slovenian national cultural heritage.

The Franciscan Library

The library has more than 10,000 books including 30 very valuable incunabula. Of particular interest are the books printed between the 16th and the 19th centuries.The most important book for Slovenian culture is the grammar book of Adam Bohorič “Arcticae horulae” (Winter Hours) dating from 1584 with the author’s autographed inscription.

This book was discovered in the library in 1951. The library was declared a cultural and historical monument in 1952 because of the many treasures it contains. In recent years, both the monastery and its library were renovated.

The Bourbon Rose Collection

In May 2004, in the former garden of the monastery, at the southern fasade of the Kostanjevica monastery near Nova Gorica, there was opened for the public a collection of Bourbon roses. It is one of the biggest and most complete collections of Bourbon roses in the world. In May and June there are thousands of them in bloom.

Franciscan monastery Kostanjevica Nova Gorica - Little St. Denis

Bourbon roses, the roses of the 19th century, have become mostly extinct in the world. In Nova Gorica, the city of roses, the last preserved representatives were given a special place and became the second largest public collection of the original Bourbon roses in Europe (the only larger one is at Roseraie de l’Haÿ near Paris). They flourish in the approximate vicinity of the resting place of the last French kings, the Bourbons, in the garden of the Franciscan Monastery at Kostanjevica.

Bourbon roses are truly special among roses, as they represent an important step in the development from old to modern roses. They were named after the island Ile de Bourbon in the Indian Ocean, which is today called Reunion. This means that the name is only indirectly connected to the last French kings, the Bourbons. The first were created by accidental cross-fertilisation of two old varieties of roses, the Old blush China and the Quatre saisons damask rose. Famous French and other gardeners raised about 1,500 varieties, which over several decades literally flooded Europe. Only about one hundred have been preserved to this day. They put an enticingly fragrant stamp on their time, when they adorned the residences of the wealthy. From them they created new, modern roses, which slowly ousted the antique roses from gardens.

Source:

Tombs of the Bourbons

Charles X (1757–1836) became the king of France in 1824. He was an autocratic ruler whose actions did much to bring about the revolution in July 1830, when the entire family had to leave the country. Hi died of cholera on November 6, 1936, in the Coronini Palace, seventeen days after his arrival in Gorica. On November 11, he was buried in the church of Kostanjevica.

In addition to this last French king, several other members of the Bourbon family found their final resting places in the church crypt:

  • Louis XIX (1775–1844), Duke of Angoulême, the oldest son of Charles X, died in Gorizia in the palace of the Counts Strassoldo.
  • Marie Thérèse Charlotte (1778–1851), Duchess of Angoulême, wife of Louis XIX, daughter of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (daughter of Austrian Empress Maria Theresa).
  • Marie Thérèse Beatrice Gaetana (1817–1886), Archduchess of Austria-Este, wife of Henri V. She had the crypt built so that the remains of the last Bourbons could all be gathered in this place.
  • Henri V (1820–1883), Count of Chambord, son of Charles Ferdinand and grandson of Charles X. He was the last member of the French Bourbons.
  • Louise Marie Thérèse (1819–1864), Duchess of Parma, sister of Henri V. After the violent death of her husband Charles III, Duke of Parma, she was the regent for her underage son.

In a niche in front of the crypt are the remains of Louis Jean Casimir, Duke of Blacas, Marquis D’Aulps (1771-1839). As the Court Minister of Charles X, he accompanied him into exile. He obtained property in Šmaver (San Mauro, Italy) and in Kanal.

The Church

A side from various legendary accounts about the founding of the church, there remains one historical fact. In 1623, Count Mathias Thurn had a small church built on this spot. After it was completed, an image of Mary was placed in the church so the faithful could meet in prayer and for liturgical devotions. The Count also had a small monastery built next to the church. The first permanent caretakers of the church and the monastery were the Carmelites who for 134 years enlarged and beautified both buildings. As a consequence of the 1781 decree of Austrian Emperor Joseph II, the Carmelites had to leave Kostanjevica four years later.

The monastery and the church were closed for nine years. In 1811, Kostanjevica was entrusted to the care of the Franciscans who have managed it to this day. After the church was destroyed in World War I the Franciscans had it rebuilt in 1924–1929. The stucco was redone and the church was again resplendent in its former beauty.

The image of Mary with the baby Jesus is situated in the middle of the main altar, surrounded by a frame of golden rays. This fresco of our merciful Mother, known also as Our Lady of Kostanjevica, was made by Leonardo Rigo. The fresco of The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the ceiling of the church was painted by Giovanni Moro, a Friulian artist.

The stone memorial tablets in honor of the dead are distinctive of the church of Kostanjevica and indicate the closeness which the nobles of Gorica felt towards this place.

The tombs of the last members of the French royal family of the Bourbons can be found in the crypt of the church of Kostanjevica. These nobles were exiled from France in the revolution of 1830. At first they found refuge in Edinburgh, Scotland; from there they went to Prague, in the current Czech Republic. Finally they came to Gorica where they were received as the guests of Count Coronini. When they died, they were buried here and for this reason Kostanjevica is known as the “Little St. Denis”.

History and Church

A side from various legendary accounts about the founding of the church, there remains one historical fact. In 1623, Count Mathias Thurn had a small church built on this spot. After it was completed, an image of Mary was placed in the church so the faithful could meet in prayer and for liturgical devotions. The Count also had a small monastery built next to the church. The first permanent caretakers of the church and the monastery were the Carmelites who for 134 years enlarged and beautified both buildings. As a consequence of the 1781 decree of Austrian Emperor Joseph II, the Carmelites had to leave Kostanjevica four years later.

The monastery and the church were closed for nine years. In 1811, Kostanjevica was entrusted to the care of the Franciscans who have managed it to this day. After the church was destroyed in World War I the Franciscans had it rebuilt in 1924–1929. The stucco was redone and the church was again resplendent in its former beauty.

The image of Mary with the baby Jesus is situated in the middle of the main altar, surrounded by a frame of golden rays. This fresco of our merciful Mother, known also as Our Lady of Kostanjevica, was made by Leonardo Rigo. The fresco of The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the ceiling of the church was painted by Giovanni Moro, a Friulian artist.

The stone memorial tablets in honor of the dead are distinctive of the church of Kostanjevica and indicate the closeness which the nobles of Gorica felt towards this place.

The tombs of the last members of the French royal family of the Bourbons can be found in the crypt of the church of Kostanjevica. These nobles were exiled from France in the revolution of 1830. At first they found refuge in Edinburgh, Scotland; from there they went to Prague, in the current Czech Republic. Finally they came to Gorica where they were received as the guests of Count Coronini. When they died, they were buried here and for this reason Kostanjevica is known as the “Little St. Denis”.

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