Five must-see Croatian religious tourist destinations
June 30, 2022 – Throughout its rich history, Croatia has preserved many religious traditions, including imposing cathedrals, pilgrimage routes, important shrines and even a miracle certified by the Vatican. Get to know some of the many Croatian religious tourist destinations here.
Something fascinating about Croatia is not only the quantity but also the diversity of different tourists that arrive. Not everyone visits it for its countless beaches or thousand (plus) islands (although that’s more than enough reason), but also for particular purposes that deserve recognition. From health tourism, due to the country’s pristine air in the northern Adriatic islands, to adventure tourism, Croatia is also a favorite destination for worshipers and pilgrims. Five Croatian religious tourism destinations are not enough to do justice to the huge number of religious treasures that the country boasts, but they can certainly serve as a starting point for anyone who wants to know more about the religious heritage in Croatia.
Less than 40 km from the city of Split is what is perhaps one of the most important cities not only in Split-Dalmatia County but in the whole country, due to its historical, cultural and religious value. . Sinj occupies important pages in the long book of Croatian history, being a key crossing point to the Adriatic Sea, as it successfully repelled a final siege by the Turkish army in 1715, ending a conflict of possession with the Venetians Empire that lasted nearly two centuries. In that year precisely, around 700 locals managed to defend Sinj against an army of 60,000 Ottoman soldiers.
Photo: Mario Romulic
Although military prowess is still celebrated to this day through the Sinjska Alkaa very famous equestrian contest in the city, this event also motivated a very strong devotion to “Our Lady of Sinj”. For many at that time, it was believed that she had interceded for the people of Sinj to achieve this great feat. Thus, to this day, a procession takes place every August 15 that brings together thousands of faithful walking behind the figure of ”Our Lady of Sinj”, in addition to being visited many times throughout the year. by worshipers arriving to offer their prayers.
Ludbreg is located in Varaždin county, in northern Croatia and only an hour’s drive from Zagreb, well known for its reputation as the center of the world. Ludbreg is a very calm, peaceful and picturesque town that is worth visiting for its large green parks, as well as being a very important and popular pilgrimage destination, something that dates back centuries. Ludbreg is where only miracle in Croatia certified by the Vatican is registered.
For those unfamiliar with this miracle, The Real Presence website stipulate that in 1411 in Ludbreg, in the castle chapel of Count Batthyany, a priest was celebrating mass, during the consecration of wine, the priest doubted the truth of transubstantiation, and the wine in the chalice turned into blood. Not knowing what to do, the priest embedded this relic in the wall behind the high altar. The worker who did the work has sworn to keep quiet. The priest also kept it a secret and only revealed it when he died. After the priest’s revelation, the news spread quickly and people began to come on pilgrimage to Ludbreg.
It was not until 1513 that the miracle was further investigated and confirmed by Pope Leo X.
Island of Krk
The whole island of Krk is home to one of the most popular and visited pilgrimage routes in Europe, which joins the great pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. According to the Krk Tourist Board, ”as the first section of the Croatian Camino route, Krk path joined the European Routes of Santiago network, the Camino de Santiago being the most popular”. Camino Krk is a 150 km circular route around the island of Krk in Kvarner Bay.
Perhaps one of the reasons the Krk Trail is one of the continent’s most popular pilgrimage routes is due to its spectacular scenery, clean air, and religious value for pilgrims. In addition, the 150-kilometer route promotes the various destinations on the island of Krk, some of which you can discover in this article.
Zagreb, in its broadest sense as a tourist destination, is a must-see for anyone adding Croatia to their travel bucket list. However, we are talking about a city that is difficult to cover in its entirety even in the most ambitious itinerary due to its enormous historical and cultural offer. While it is true that including the Croatian capital in a list of religious destinations one might think is referring to one of its many cathedrals and churches, we will tell you more about a sanctuary with a very deep meaning for Zagreb devotees.
Image: M. Vrdoljak/Zagreb Tourist Board
According to the Zagreb Tourist Board, Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate) is the most important shrine in Zagreb and is also one of the most popular attractions in the Upper Town. “The Stone Gate is part of the remnants of the city walls that once surrounded the Old City. Although it was first mentioned in 1429, it is believed to have been built in 1266. Throughout the city’s long history, it has undergone many reconstructions and been devastated by a fire more once. The last such fire destroyed much of Gradec on May 31, 1731, burning houses near the stone gate. The door displayed a painting of the Mother of God, which miraculously was not damaged by the fire. To commemorate the event, grateful citizens built a chapel under the arch of the old stone gate. The chapel, which still houses the painting of the Mother of God, has since become the largest shrine in Zagreb and is regularly visited by people who come to light a candle and thank the Lady for protecting them.
In the district of Trsat, in the city of Rijeka, there is the largest and most important place of pilgrimage in western Croatia: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat. Undoubtedly, visiting the sacred image is one of the most essential activities when visiting the city of Rijeka, which in itself has a rich tourist offer and especially in terms of religious tourism since this is where is the famous Cathedral of Saint Vid, a Baroque Catholic cathedral from the 17th century, as well as the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, are located. But Trsat is also a region that must be visited for its religious value since, in addition to housing a Franciscan monastery, it is there that thousands of pilgrims gather each year to pray to Our Lady of Trsat.
Image: Rijeka Tourist Board
According to the Rijeka Tourist Board, the foundation of the sanctuary is, according to tradition, linked to the miraculous transport of the barn from Nazareth and his stay in Trsat (1291 – 1294). Shortly after the house of the Mother of God was moved to Loreto, Prince Nikola I of Krk built the first small church on the spot where Trsat’s barn stood. Marija`s Trsat became a focal point of pilgrimage, whose reputation was enhanced by the stunning painting of the Lady of Trsat, which was a gift given to inconsolable Croats in 1367 by Pope Urban V for the loss of the Saint Barn. In the 15th century, the Sanctuary was taken over by the Franciscans, who have remained its guardians until today.. On June 8, 2003, Pope John Paul II attended a long pilgrimage procession.
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