Kloštar Podravski - monastery and history of the settlement
The Franciscan monastery on the medieval estate of Gorbonok was founded in 1292 and was, like the church, dedicated to St. Stephen. The monastery probably functioned until 1538, i.e., 1552, when the Ottomans ravaged the area and the inhabitants fled. Most historians and researchers agree that the Franciscan monastery was located on the site of today's parish church in Kloštar Podravski.
According to some, the Franciscans came to the abandoned Benedictine monastery at the end of the 13th century, which is why the parish church, which was built at the beginning of the 18th century, is dedicated to the holy abbot Benedict. This church was indeed built on the walls of the old church, which means that, apparently, by the 18th century there was something left of the Franciscan monastery-church complex that should be further explored by archaeological excavations.
Franciscan monastery and church of St. Stephen were located in the part of the manor which functioned as a large fortified settlement (lat. oppidum). In the developed and late Middle Ages, oppidum was a settlement under the administration of a local nobleman from which he supplied himself and the garrison of his nearby fortress. Although the oppida were not rich and respectable settlements, they had the opportunity of developing economically due to the right to hold fairs. The Franciscans used to live in such arranged settlements, and here they had their serfs who paid taxes and whose work supported monks and priests. The Franciscans obviously enjoyed the protection and affection of Gorbonok’s owners who signed contracts and made wills in front of the Franciscans who served as credible witnesses and to whom they bequeathed part of their property. In addition, they demanded to be buried in their monastery church, and even noblemen from neighboring manors wanted it. This is proof that the Franciscans in Gorbonok enjoyed the support of several noble families from Podravina.
The monastery marked this area so much that, after the reconstruction of the settlement in that place, it was given a new name Kloštar (name for the monastery) instead of the original name Gorbonok which had been completely forgotten. This was probably due to the fact that the settlement was rebuilt on the site of a former Franciscan monastery (cloister) and not on the site of the Gorbonok fortress.
The beginnings of the development of the modern Kloštar Podravski Monastery can be traced back to the 17th century thanks to the organized defense system built on the border between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, which is called the Military Frontier or Border. A kind of continuity with the Middle Ages was achieved by building a parish church on the site of the former Franciscan monastery and church in the 17th century, and a parish court next to it. Also, a typical frontier or border settlement developed around it. The settlement was formed around the church and along the main roads where the frontier buildings (stations and warehouses) were located, as well as houses of the frontier people who lived in Kloštar Podravski.