I wandered into this place, expecting to find a small room with a few exhibits and a quick wander round - How wrong was I?
I paid my entrance fee, think it was 20 K, but will check this out later - at the entrance desk there were a few guide books/ post cards etc for sale.
to be continued.... More info and photos to follow.
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Knez or Duke Branimir Statue
This impressive 4 metre high statue was erected near to Donji most - the lower Bridge, in 2007, it commemorates one of the most important events in Croatian History that happened in this small town of Nin in 879.
Duke Branimir led a successful military take over from Zdeslav, who was siding with the Byzantine Empire both politically and religiously.
Pope John V111 recognised the dedication and loyalty of the Croatian people to the Catholic Church by giving his blessing to the people and the new Croatian State, during a special Mass in May 829. The first time in history, that the Croatian State had been recognised, and unusually the papal blessing was bestowed on a ruler who had taken the title by murdering Zdeslav. The Pope sent a letter to Branimar informing him of the Mass and confirming his blessing and recognition of the Croatian State
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This was on the 7th July 879. The 7th July is recognised in Nin as its Towns Day, while throughout Croatia it is celebrated as a 'Day of Croatian Diplomacy'
This is one of a few statues around Nin, and is certainly in a photogenic spot.
Branimar possibly means 'Defender of the Realm' or' Defender of Peace' and may be of Slavic origin. He had a wife named Marusa, but her ancestry is uncertain.
During the 9th Century, Nin was the seat of the first Croatian Bishop. Conversion to Christianity was prevalent throughout this area and the state.
Branimar strove for Croatian Independence and was also responsible for the construction and restoration of many churches. The Cathedral underwent extensive renovation, with many decorative features being added. Stone Carving was important in Nin, and the Duke established many Stone carving workshops.
In the Archeological Museum or Museum of Nin Antiquities (which is well worth a visit IMO) are examples of church architecture and stone cutting (along with some replicas) There is a replica of an altar screen, with Branimars inscription (The original is in the Archeological Museum in Zadar)
The Branimir Inscription is the oldest preserved monument containing an inscription mentioning a Croatian ruler as a Duke of Croats and the first time that Croat (Cruatorvm) is mentioned in a stone inscription.This was found on a stone altar fragment from a church in Sopot near Benkovac. It reads " BRANIMIRO COM[ES] … DUX CRUATORVM COGIT[AVIT]"
When St Michaels Church in Nin was demolished, parts of a stone beam were found (seven fragments), with Branimirs Inscription.
It translates as "In the time of Lord Branimir, Prince of the Slavs. I, the Abbot Teudebert,prayed that something (be done) to save my soul. Whoever reads this, pray for this sinner"
Abbot Teudebert, A Frankish Missionary, was the superior of the Benedictine Monastery of St Ambrose, who contributed to the decoration of the church.
Other inscriptions were found in Muc (part of the altar and is dated 888, making it the first dated Croatian monument) Zdrapanj near Bribir (which refers to Branimir as the ruler of Slavs) and a small fragment from Otres, a village between Benkovac and Bribir,
What Wikki has to say about the Branimir Inscriptions
Queens Beach - Kraljicina plaza or Ninska Laguna
A ten minute or so flat walk from the town leads to the historical and scenic Queens Beach.
Our visit was towards the end of September, so many of the facilities such as mini markets and bars were closed.
A sandy beach with stunning views over to the Velebit mountains.
There are small shrubs here that offer some shade.
The water was clean and inviting!!! Very few rocks/ stones, but some weed near to the shore. Plenty of small fishes swimming about too.
Well, you could walk out for quite some distance before the water reached above thigh level!
Late September, the water was adequately warm enough to swim/ float and just relax.
We spotted some open showers on the beach, but didn't use these.
Phil visited the nearby toilet and described it as being like the one in 'Train Spotting'! Yeeeuk,
I waited until I could use 'The cleanest Public Toilet ever seen' , which is in the car park by the statue of Duke Branimir
The 3km long beach is named Queens Beach as apparently, Tomislav, the first king of Croatia,visited the beach following his coronation at the nearby Duvanjsko Field and enjoyed relaxing here. He visited many times, with other members of the Royal Family, while on official visits to Nin. The Queen used to use the peloid mud, which had medicinal and beautifying qualities. Tomislav promised that whenever she visited the beach, it would be 'her beach' for her exclusive use.
The mud is still used today, particularly through July and August, when people visit for therapeutic purposes. The prescribed treatment is for 10 or 20 days. Mud is smeared over the body, then is baked dry in the sun, before bathing in the warm waters.
A plethora of ailments are thought to respond to the treatment including ; rheumatic diseases, female infertility, skin conditions and muscular problems.
The reeded area behind the Queens Beach has the largest amount of peloid mud in Croatia (or Europe even!)
Well, we didn't try the mud therapy, but a couple of days on the beach here, was certainly therapeutic for us.
The beach and lagoon as well as the nearby salt flats are recognised as the habitat for some rare plants and wild life as well as around 200 species of bird/water fowl. Near the entrance to the beach was an information Board with a 'Code of Conduct' for visitors. The plants and wildlife have Protected Status, particularly as some are endangered.
To reach the beach, we followed the instructions in our ' Rough Guide' which was to "follow the waterside path from the landward side of Donji Most (lower Bridge), passing a small boat harbour before ascending to meet a small crossroads, where you carry straight on for about twenty minutes, passing Camping Ninska Laguna on the way"
We didn't time ourselves, but I'm sure it took us less than twenty minutes from the cross roads.
We enjoyed our visit here so much that we returned the next day. We caught the bus from/to Zadar about 30 minutes away.
Keep an eye on the time and allow yourself plenty of time to walk back to the bus stop on the outskirts of town. On the second visit, the bus was nearly 10 minutes early setting off!
There is car parking near the beach - free out of season, but there is a charge during the Summer months.
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More Roman remains
The town of Nin have been settled 10000 years ago, while the present day town on the islet developed 3000 years ago. It used to be one of the biggest commercial port on the eastern side of the Adriatic, during rules of the Liburnians. At that times the town had 40.000 inhabitants.
When Romans conquested Nin they demolished the whole town to the ground and start building completely new settlement. The islet was connected to the mainland by the stone bridge while the town was completely fortified. In Roman times the town had 20.000 inhabitants, including its close surroundings.
The church of St. Ambroz
Next to the Upper Gate (Gornja Vrata grada) we found small stone made church dedicated to St. Ambroz, one of the saint patrons of Nin. This one nave church is 13th century construction built in Romanesque-Ghotic style. The church of St. Ambroz belonged at first to the Benedictine Order and was second ever Benedictine abecy in Croatia.
By the time of my visit the church was under reconstruction works.
Knez is Croatian name for the prince, Branimir was ruler of Dalmatian Croatia from 879 up to 892 when he died. He was brought to the throne of Croatia by the Anti-Byzantine coalition under the Roman Pope. Branimir was recognized by Pope John VIII as the Duke of the Croats - Dux Chroatorum. During his reign Croatia retained its sovereignity from Frankish and Byzantine rule and become a fully recognized state.
During Branimir's reign the Croatian Bishop of Nin recognized the supreme ecclesiastical authority of the Ronman Bishop.
The Church of St. Anselmo
In the 9th century the royal town of Nin became the seat of the first Croatian bishop, and according to legend it was Saint Anselmo. This parisch church, a former cathedral, has very long construction and renovations history spanning the 6th to the 18th centuries. The side chapel is the only remaining part of the original church.
The treasury, preserving in the side chapel, has over two dozen exibits, most of which are gold.
The Church's treasury
Such a small churches in such a small towns as Nin is usually are very modest in its interiors. The church of St. Anselmo, however, preserves some very valuable artefacts from the passed times which tell us that it used to have more important role then it has today. The town of Nin excisting almost 2000 years and in it was one of the first bishopry in Croatia.
Remains of a Roman Temple
The town of Nin was one of the main settlements of the Liburnians until the arrival of the Roman conquerors, and since then the proud Municipium named Aenona. Aenona was rich town and one of the most important Roman towns in the eastern Adriatic. The Temple, remains of which you can see on the pictures, was the biggest Roman Temple in this part of the Adriatic.
During the Roman rule, whole town was fortified but unfortunately not many researches have been done about it.
The City Museum is absolutely a must see, it is rich of archaeological findings throughout the history of the place and its surroundings. The set of findings leading visitors from the pre-historic times to Liburnian era, than Roman domination and finaly up to 6th century when Croats came in this part of Balkans. Roman town of Aenona become Nin, the oldest Croatian royal town. Among other, museum displays the Duke Višeslav's baptismal font and two old Croatian boats (from 11th c.) called Condura Croatica.
The City Walls
In the Middle Ages, the town of Nin was well fortified. Its location, situated on a small island, made it to be the stronghold for the croatian Kings who choose it for their seat with a good reason. In its long history it was the place where noble Croats lived, but not only, in the Roman times Nin was endeared place for the aristocracy.
Gornja vrata - the Upper Gate
If The Upper Gate exist there must be The Lower Gate too. Not so big, not that good preserved but there it is, on the opposite side of the town. The Lower Gate was erected at the same time as its sister (or brother) aswell as the city walls which only partly survived.
Donja vrata - the Lower Gate
Donja vrata, The Lower Gate, is the main entrance into the old core of Nin. The gate was erected in the 15th century but its present look dates back to the 18th century. There were two defending towers, on each side of the gate, but none of it survived. Most probably the stone, from which the towers were built, finished as the construction material for later built houses. It doesn't matter because even without the defending towers Donja vrata looks very attractive.
Crkva sv. Križa
The church of St. Cross (sv. Križ), from the 9th century, is coloquially called the smallest cathedral in the world. This church of unique style is among the most important of old Croatian church architecture. It belongs to the representative monuments of the early Middleages architecture because of its original form. The church is of central plan with blind niches and its groundplan is one branch Greek cross. Because of its form and positions some scientists said it used to serve as a town clock too.
The church was built on the destroyed antique Nin, remains from the Roman times can be seen all around the it.
This is a beautiful Queen's beach in Nin. I love sand beaches so I liked it there. Good music is playing all the time so I enjoyed to take a sun-bath.
Although you have to go about 150-200m far to get to the deeper water.
Oh yes, there is also a "healing mud" as I was told when I asked people why are they all muddy on their knees, elbows and fists. I went to try it myself, but it was black, greasy, and really smelled, so I decided no to use it.
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