It is one of the oldest pharmacies in this part of the world (according to some it is the third oldest surpassed in age only by the ones in Bagdad and Padova). It is the oldest when continuity is taken into account because it has been working from the time of its foundation to this day. The historical facts about the pharmacy from its establishment to the earthquake in 1667 have mainly been burnt along with the archive and the library. The chronicler friar Vital Andrijašević wrote that the ground floor of the monastery was a pharmacy and aromatory up to 1681. In the beginning it was just a monastery pharmacy to help the sick friars. Franciscan law and rules let brothers take care of sick brethren (VI Chapter). The pharmacy became a public one mainly for humanitarian and charity reasons.
At first the pharmacy was situated on the ground floor of the monastery between the sacristy and the hall of the Captol so that it would be accessible to the citizens. In 1681 the pharmacy was moved to the upper cloister near the monastery's hospital. The pharmacy was moved within close proximity to the monastery hospital which was situated in upper cloister in 1618. It remained there until the fall of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Pope Benedict XIV. banned the public character of the pharmacy in 1714. The tradition and the years the Friars Minor spent in pharmaceutical work was so great that pope Pious VI. allowed them to go on with their work in 1794.
With the beginning of the twentieth century the pharmacy was again returned to the ground floor, but this time it was situated at the entrance of the monastery where is still situated and active today. The premises where decorated and furnished by a benefactor of the monastery Ignacius, a knight of Amerling. There is a memorial slab bears witness to this fact. A lot of the original furniture and equipment which was used in the old pharmacy for centuries unfortunately found no place in the new pharmacy because new techniques of modern pharmacy where already being applied. Hence the friars established a museum in 1938 which depicts the old pharmacy and its former spirit. This was situated right by the new pharmacy on the premises of the upper cloister. The pharmacy was taken away from the friars and nationalized in 1947. The pharmacy has a collection of very valuable books on medicine ,pharmacology and thousands of recipes of which only a few have been exhibited as part of the pharmacy's inventory which dates back to the 15th century .It is important to explain the difference between old and new pharmacies . Old pharmacies were like small factories which made medicines from natural ingredients while new pharmacies mainly just sell manufactured medicines .In this one may see the historical significance of the museum and that which is exhibited in it. In 1955 the interest of visitors to see the pharmacy was so great that the friars returned it to its original premises in the lower parts of the cloister where it was situated in 1317.
Source: Franjevački samostan Male braće