Festival of the Sun and Light in the Church of the Holy Cross

What secrets, extraordinary to our mind, still imponderable ideas and ways of realisation are hidden in the Church of the Holy Cross? And in what way does the playing of the sun, light and shadow unmistakably, like a calendar or a sundial tell us about the season, month and even the hour?

The first Festival of the Sun and Light was a unique event held in the Church of the Holy Cross on the first day of summer 2009, the International Year of Astronomy. At the right time, in the right place!

This event –unique, just as this Church called ‘the smallest Cathedral in the world’ – is based on the evaluation of the astronomic and the architectural importance of the Church of the Holy Cross, a Pre-Romanesque building with a ground plan in the shape of a cross and a dome having special characteristics. Namely each side of the church has an oval opening and its construction and position in relation to the position of the Sun throughout the year –as explained by the scientist Mladen Pejaković – depends on the winter and summer solstice; spring and fall equinox and it was made in order to serve as a sundial and a calendar.

For this reason, watching the playing of light and shadow is an extraordinary experience for children and adults, scientists and all visitors. This is an occasion to promote the astronomical and architectural importance of the Church of the Holy Cross, which some experts have compared with Stonehenge. Along with the beauty of the play of light and shadow in this unique building and the excitement of the beginning of summer, this exceptional festival is visited by an increasing number of sightseers who enjoy this event, taking part in creative workshops and listening to various interesting lectures.
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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.

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