During the long history of Croatia, numerous holy places and places of power have been formed. Shrines, relics and energy sites are destinations for many tourists looking for something "more" on their vacation.
If you are one of them, read below about the most interesting places of special spiritual and energetic force in Croatia.
1. Shrine of the Mother of God of Krasno on Velebit - On the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, every year a large number of believers visit the shrine of the Mother of God of Krasno on Velebit. The legend of the Mother of God of Krasno dates back to 1219: “In the Krasno forest, shepherds grazed their flocks. One day they saw a miraculous flower on a stump and a picture of the Mother of God in the flower. The shepherds plucked the flower and took it to Krasnarsko polje, where there has been a chapel since ancient times. But the transferred flower suddenly disappeared, until the shepherds found it again on the same stump in the forest. When the people saw these events, they built a chapel in the forest in honor of the Mother of God and built an altar above the stump itself, where the flower appeared.”
2. Nakovana Fortress on the Peljesac Peninsula - According to archeological research, the town of Nakovana on the Peljesac Peninsula has been inhabited for at least 8000 years, which makes it one of the oldest places with a continuous life of humans. During antiquity, Nakovana was ruled by the Illyrians, whose center was on the hill Grad. This natural fortress was additionally fortified with strong walls and ramparts. The Illyrian treasure, however, was found by archaeologists in 2001 in Spila, where they found a long-forgotten Illyrian fertility shrine in a well-hidden hall. The place still attracts many interested visitors.
3. Stone Gate in Zagreb - The Stone Gate was one of the gates surrounding the historic old town of Gradec in Zagreb. When the great Zagreb fire broke out in 1731, all objects were burned, except for the portrait of the Virgin Mary from the room above the Gate, and it was truly a miracle that is still worshiped today. Today, a miraculous image stands in the passage, and many believers stop and pray in front of it. The walls around the painting are filled with plaques of thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary for answered prayers.
4. Temple of Augustus in Pula - Although much can be seen on the Forum Square, your eyes will be fixed on the Temple of Augustus. A typical Roman building, this temple has a story that dates back to 14 AD. Changing functions over time from the temple of Emperor Augustus, to the church and finally the museum. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during World War II, so what you see now is a faithful reconstruction. Today it houses a museum, so you can come inside to feel the special energy of this place.
5. Votive shrine of Our Lady of the Chapel in Rogoznica - According to legend, in 1722 a fisherman named John Bogavcic-Tuburko, working in the area of Cape Gradina, saw an unusual light. As he approached the rock from which the light erupted, he found a painting of Our Lady resting on it, a depiction of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. He took the painting home and stored it in the trunk, but it mysteriously returned to the same spot on the rock. This was repeated three times. Soon the villagers and their priest decided to build a chapel on the site, and a ceremony that continues to this day was established in 1776. The miraculous painting was destroyed in a fire in the church, and another, made in Vienna in 1888, was stolen in the 1960s. The ceremony takes place on July 2 in Petrovcica, where the image of Our Lady is transported by boat to priests and young girls dressed in white dresses on the shores of Rogoznica. This is followed by a procession that includes hundreds of boats and thousands of worshipers on foot, many of whom are walking barefoot for nearly 2.5 km.
6. Church of St. Blaise in Vodnjan - In the Vodnjan parish church of St. Blaise is kept a total of 370 registered relics or earthly remains of as many as 250 saints. An indisputable scientific explanation of their perfect preservation over the years has not yet been found; it is assumed that the body can be preserved for so long under certain circumstances: at low temperatures, if death occurred due to arsenic poisoning, or if the body is buried in soil rich in iron and tannin.
7. Church of St. Euphemia in Rovinj - Euphemia was a girl from Greece, in the 3rd century, who converted to Christianity. According to the old belief, she became a martyr of the emperor Diocletian because she preached a faith that was not accepted at the time. Encouraged by this, Diocletian threw her among the lions, but she was saved by the descent of an angel from heaven, without a single bite. By this miracle, Euphemia was called a saint and martyr of Christianity after her death. In the 18th century, its heavy stone sarcophagus with relics sailed from Constantinople to the city of Rovinj, where its inhabitants dragged it with animals to the site of the then Church of St. George, which became Euphemia's temple and eternal resting place that stands to this day. Saint Euphemia is also the patron saint of the city of Rovinj, whose day is celebrated on September 16. Many visitors come to Rovinj on that day, on a holy pilgrimage to pay their respects.
8. Perun Hill in Podstrana - In the names of various localities in Podstrana and surrounding places, unique traces of old Slavic beliefs have been preserved, which are the oldest evidence of the presence of Croats in today's Croatia. They provide an insight into the authentic culture and worldview of Croats before baptism. The most interesting is the hill Perun. On the top named Perunsko was the sanctuary of the supreme god of the Old Slavic pantheon - Perun. Perun was revered among all Slavic peoples until they converted to Christianity. As the god of thunder and lightning from his high throne on the hill, he dispenses justice and maintains order in the world. In Christianity, Perun was most often replaced by St. Elijah, and his son Jarilo by St. George. Thus, in Podstrana, on the site of the Perun cult, a church dedicated to St. George was later built.
9. Church of St. John of Trogir on Cape Planka - Church of St. John, a protected place of national religious heritage, is located on Cape Planka in a harsh desert landscape. Although the church is more than 10 meters from the sea, waves carrying destructive salt still manage to reach it. Over time, they surrounded the church with jagged rocks that now form part of the overall structure. One of the miracles attributed to the Christian saint John, Bishop of Trogir from the 11th century, is related to Cape Planka. According to legend, after the shipwreck at Cape Planka, he walked on the waves and saved the lives of King Koloman and all the sailors. In memory of him and his miracles, a votive church was built on this site in 1324.
10. Church of St. Constantius in Jezera on the island of Murter - Church of St. Constantius in Jezera was built at the end of the 18th century. St. Constantius is a protector against malaria, a disease from which the inhabitants of Jezera often died. Legend has it that the stones for building the church were worn by malaria sufferers. In the third stage of malaria, the patient has a high fever. Thus, patients dressed in thick clothes would carry stones along the hill, during the summer heat. Sweating, they would reach the top and recover since the cause of malaria dies at a body temperature of 39-40°C. The church was badly damaged during World War II, but was rebuilt in 1994 at the initiative of the locals. From Perugia, a reliquary with the relics of St. Constantius was brought to the church. Every year on January 29, which is the day of St. Constantius, a Mass is celebrated.