Church of St. Mary of the sea


Standing in the the fertile green and brown landscape of the Imotski field, by the the clear blue spring of the river Vrljika, the Church of St. Mary of the Rosary appears like a white-stone cottage in an idyllic rural landscape, the kind you’d love to rent for a blissful countryside weekend.

You wouldn’t be able to in this case, since this church is a part of the archaeological locale Opachac, a multi-layered site with remains dating back to the ancient times. So much is here: remnants of an ancient fort dated to the 5th century, the remains of massive foundations belonging to a medieval monastery and a cemetery with a large number of graves. The Church of St. Mary, or ‘Gospina crkva’, as the locals call it, (‘Our Lady’s Church’) rises above them all, quietly observing the world pass by since the day it was erected in 1719.

This lovely little church is a one nave rectangle building, sparsely decorated: it has a rosette and a simplified bell tower above the front entrance, an extra side door and loopholes. With other buildings in the area, you’d think this modest one wouldn’t attract a lot of attention, but back in the 18th century it was a coveted piece of property.

This modest building was the cause of a 100 year long dispute between the Franceschi family who built it on their own estate, and the Franciscan monks of Imotski who claimed right to it because it had been built on the remains of an earlier 14th century church that had been their property.The century’s worth of bickering ended when the monks finally built their own church in another location.

The Church of St. Mary remained peacefully sitting in the riverside landscape through it all, welcoming and friendly, becoming a favourite sacred place of the locals. Even nowadays, every August on the Feast Day of the Lady, thousands of pilgrims surround the little church before dawn, to prepare for the celebrations, and watch the sun rise and pour over the lush banks of the Vrljika river, signalling the birth of a new day.

See more about Imotski

№17 of 27 places in Imotski
№2156 of 2178 places in Croatia
№5 of 5 Churches and cathedrals in Imotski
№290 of 290 Churches and cathedrals in Croatia



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(7 review)
Евгении Анатольевич
very good!!!
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