On the paths of Petar Zoranić (24.06.2019.)
Late spring days are the best occasion to visit the ancient Croatian town of Nin, which is also the hometown of the poet Petar Zoranić of Nin. You should see what he describes in verses of the first Croatian novel “Mountains” as a place carried over the seas “on a golden apple by a fairy” and brought under the mountain of Velebit. Let the Petar Zoranić Park in Nin be your starting point on that magic journey to the world of fantasy and distant days.
You must be wondering who was Petar Zoranić? He was born in Zadar in 1508 and wrote the dedication to his novel “Mountains” in the royal town of Nin. He dedicated his masterpiece to the canon of Nin, Matej Matijević. Although very little is known about his life, except that he was a descendant of the old noble family Tetačić of Nin, that moved to Zadar in the end of 15th century due to malaria and Turkish invasions, this court scribe left an important trace on the culture and history of both Nin and Croatia. His intention at that time was to incite the love for the homeland - Nin and Zadar archipelago - among his compatriots. These days, you should let “Mountains” lead you in a positive direction and in discover of natural, cultural and historical heritage of the Nin area. In “Mountains” Petar Zoranić had a role of a traveller-narrator. You should also become travellers who observe the world around you with the eyes wide open and who transfer their impressions to others, so they would also encounter the beauty of Nin and its surrounding.
Journey in imagination, but also in a real life
Start your journey in Nin as Zoranić did, then go toward the foot of Velebit mountain and Starigrad Paklenica, continue with Lika, Dinara and Šibenik before coming back again in the old royal town. You can make that journey only in your imagination, walking through Nin, discovering its cultural and historical monuments, listening to guides or museum workers, or you can actually take your car or another vehicle to get to mentioned parts of Croatia in order to find out what Zoranić left in legacy to future generations. And while he went on his imaginary journey with the wholehearted help of the fairy Hrvatica, you should discover everything that Nin offers. And it offers a lot – from culture and history to richness of plant and animal world.
Visit vast sand beaches with healing mud, salt work where you can see the traditional way of salt harvest or the sanctuary of Our Lady of Zečevo, whose feast is celebrated on first Monday before the Feast of the Ascension.
If you really wish to visit places described by Zoranić in”Mountains”, than you should visit Starigrad and National Park of Paklenica. You will notice that the life of Starigrad inhabitants is inseparable from Velebit, the mountain which gives them strength and power. As in other places in Croatia, agitated history also left traces in Starigrad, where you can find remains from Antiquity, but also the tower of Večka, which dates from a period of Turkish invasions.
Romance with a dose of adventure
After the visit to Starigrad, you must visit the National Park of Paklenica and its canyons. Over there you will find second largest black pine reserve in Europe, as well as numerous endemic plant species. Your journey would be incomplete without a stop in the Northern Velebit National Park and Velebit Nature Park, just like Zoranić did. Take the road over Velebit towards the southern Lika region, where Zoranić stopped for three days with shepherds. When you see it, go to Dinara and climb to its highest peak. Those who seek for adrenaline and adventure can try free climbing, mountain biking or another form of adventure tourism. If you suffer from unrequited love, like the poet did, adventures on Dinara mountain might help you cure your love pain. When you have enough, move toward Skradin and Krka river, visit Krešimir town of Šibenik and come back to Nin. We are sure that the black-winged stilt, a bird which is one of symbols of Nin, will follow you on your journey, just like the fairy Tinker Bell followed the boy who wouldn’t grow up – Peter Pan.
Foto: Marija Dejanović
Church of st. Nicholas
Did you know that a widely known symbol of Nin is the Romanesque church of St. Nicholas from 11th/12th century, built on a hummock and also used as the coronation church? National folk legend has it that in Nin seven kings were crowned, and during the coronation, accompanied by a magnificent escort, the crowned ruler would ride to the Church of St. Nicholas where he was presented to the people. From that hummock, as a sign of his royal power, he would strike a sword to all four cardinal points.