Nin's beaches: Scenes and pleasure to be remembered
Health coming from nature
The Story of Salt
The story of wealth, singularity and sustainable development
Endemic, rare and types of plants which are threatened
In the Nin lagoon many rare and endemic kinds of plants can be found. It is interesting that this world is characterised by the nature, primarily the shallow waters and the very high salinity. The most impressive adaptation to the laws of survival is perhaps best illustrated by the plant type (Srcocornia fruticosa) – sometimes called, salicot, sea beans, pickleweed, glasswort or samphire, which grows along the muddy coast in very salty earth, so thickly that it creates fields which are called salt marshes. This plant is fleshy, it has a thick stem which is a real reservoir of water, and small leaves which prevent too much evaporation. Its cellular juice has a high concentration of salt, which enables it to take water from salty deposits (otherwise the plant would lose water ). The large amounts of this kind of plant are a source of food for other kinds, primarily birds such as the herons, waders and grebes.
Birds and other wildlife: a story of adaptation and perseverance
A recognisable symbol of Nin is the Church of St Nicholas, located in the field of Prahulje, it is very important for the rulers of the Croatian dynasty and for the history of Croatia and Nin. According to tradition, seven Kings were crowned in Nin, and every crowned ruler rode on horseback to the Chruch of Saint Nicholas, and it was in fact here that he would be presented to the people by the same symbolic ritual-on that mound he would cut with a sword the four corners of the world.
The parish Church of St Anselm located in the centre of Nin, was the Nin cathedral during the rule of Croatian Kings and later. It was built in the 6th century and restored during the reign of King Zvonimir in 1070 and through history suffered damage several times and assumed its present-day appearance in the 18th century. On one side of the Bell Tower the lateral chapel of St Marcela called „Our Lady of Zečevo“ leans against the church; the church is from the 15th century and contains the statue of Our Lady with the Divine Child in her arms. The chapel also contains Renaissance work, a tombstone of the Nin Bishop, Juraj Divnić. In 1646, before the Venetian attack, the statue was transferred to Zadar and ten years later returned again to the lateral chapel of the Nin church, where it can be found today. The Mother of God, who is worshipped here as Our Lady of Zečevo is especially celebrated in Nin and this church is its main annual holy place, in the Zadar diocese even today.
The Church of the Holy Cross called „the smallest cathedral in the world“ is the most valuable preserved monument of early Croatian religious architecture and one of Nin's symbols. By its position and beauty it dominates the area where it stands. It was built in the 9th century, in the Early Christian period. It is the only religious object in Nin which has remained untouched since its construction to date. It is 7.80 m long, 7.60 m wide, and 8.20 metres in height (inside measures) and the walls are 57cms thick. It was built on the remains of ancient houses which are visible even today. During the reign of Croatian Kings it served as a Court chapel for the nearby Duke's Court. A number of medieval graves were discovered around the church.
The Church of St Ambrose from the 13th century is a beautiful single-nave church with Romanesque-Gothic characteristics. It is located near the Upper City Gate where once the Benedictine Monastery of St Ambrose stood, whose original construction was mentioned as early as 941. The church got its present-day look when it was renovated in 1992.
The Baptismal Font of Duke Višeslav the first Croatian Duke who reigned around 800 is one of the most important monuments of church furnishing. This hexagonal stone vessel is witness to the time when Croats were Christianised, and during the Christianisation worshippers were baptised in it. The replica, can be found in the Museum of Nin Antiquities while the original is kept in the Museum of Croatian Archeological Monuments in Split.
The Bishop of Nin, one of the most prominent bishops of Nin was a strong advocate of the old folk alphabet, glagolitic and the old Slavonic language. The oldest literary and historical monuments of this region were written in glagolitic script which was obvious evidence of ancient culture and the awereness of national identity and patriotism. The historian Kerubin Šegvić wrote about this in 1925: „Among the cultural advantages which the Croatian people can take pride in is the fact that they have their own national script. Every nation upon being baptised and entering Christianity would immediately receive the Holy Books translated into their language along with the clergy who used it. When they were made Christian and gave a written promise to the Roman Pope to be at peace with the surrounding nations, the Croats were supposed to get, and got, holy liturgical books, their own clergy and their own Bishop of Nin in the 9th - 10th century. Glagolitic is the script in which our oldest literary and historical monuments were written. The Croats proudly point their finger to these monuments which are evidence of their ancient culture and resistant strength.“
The historical story of Nin is the story of prosperity based on salt as well as its long maritime tradition, together with recognisable boats called Condura Croatica.
If you want to know about an important part of the history of Nin in the shortest possible time, a visit to the Museum of Nin Antiquities is advised, whose exhibits are displayed in seven separate rooms. All the most important historical periods in the development of Nin are encaptured, and each is divided into several themes accompanied by rich archaeological, theme and item guides, reconstructions, models, photographs and ground plans.
There are numerous churches in Nin, those which once existed and are preserved to date are a real treasure of valuable artistic items. Part of them are kept in the collection of Church art, the Gold and Silver of the town of Nin, which can be found in a specially prepared area next to the parish Church, the one time Cathedral. There you have the opportunity to see items from the period of the foundation of the diocese of Nin and earlier. The collection also contains exceptionally valuable reliquaries of the heavenly patron saints of St Anselm, St Ambrose and St Marcela from the end of the 8th - 15th century. Also kept here are wood carvings and votive gifts given to Our Lady of Zečevo. The Church treasury „Gold and Silver of the town of Nin“ also contains: a Judas silver coin, the ring of Pope Pio II from the 15th century, the painting of the appearance of Our Lady and other valuable objects.
For some, their natual wealth is gold-for Nin they have salt, a source of existence, but also a traditon which recently was converted into a unique institution and tourist attraction-the Museum of salt. If you want to see a traditional way of salt production, if you are interested in souvenirs from salt, or would like to taste “the flower of salt“, by many called the „caviar of salt“-you are in the right place which will take you to a really special world of the salt pans of Nin, so different from what you have seen, experienced or tasted so far.
In the very centre of Nin, on the location of the once Roman forum, the remains of a monumental Roman Temple can be found, the biggest on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. They date from the second half of the 1st century AD., from the reign of the Roman Emperor Vespazian 69-79 AD. His name is found on the inscription carved on the frieze from the facade of the Temple. The ground plan of the Temple shows two parts of the same size, the shrine (cella) on the western side and a porch in front of it on the eastern side. The outside circumference of the building was 33m in length and 23.5m in width. The shrine inside, was divided into three areas, separated one from the other by two columns on each side. Most probably sculptures of deities were placed in it. Entrance to the central area was through a portal from which fragments of the lintel and door post have been preserved. In front of the shrine there is a spacious porch which on its facade from the eastern side, had six fluted columns.
What was life like once upon a time? What was the occupation of the inhabitants of Nin? In the Nin area of Banovac the remains of a large Roman house, with an area of 17x30 metres were found. Together with these remains new insights into the urban life of the then Aenona ''emerged''. This is supported by the discovery of an area of a rare floor mozaic featuring animal, geometrical and plant decorations which have been dated to the 2nd century by conservationists and archaeologists.
Remains say: Nin as far back as the 9th century BC was a strong maritime and trading centre and an important port on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. It was founded by the Illyrian tribe of Liburnians, under the name of Aenona which had an important trading role. The ancient port of old Nin is one of the largest and according to findings the richest port area from that period on the eastern Adriatic. It was located in what is today Zaton, southwest of Nin. During low tide on the headland called Kremenjača near the tourist settlement of Zaton Holiday Resort the remains of the breakwater and ancient walls from the 1st century BC can be seen.
In the town of rich history and numerous archaeological sites, the treasure heritage which belongs to the history of this area as well as humanity is inexhaustible. Coin collectors-and not only them-are interested in Judas' silver coin, one of the 16 registered examples in Europe. Also famous is, the ancient gate of Nin and stone bridges. It is only possible to reach the old town on the island by crossing one of the two bridges built in the 16th century, or through the preserved Lower and Upper town gates (16th - 18th century). This is the path to investigating the town's sights and numerous valuable monuments from ancient times, the remains of the largest Roman Temple on the eastern coast of the Adriatic from the 1st century, the mozaic from the 2nd century and the remains of residential units from the Roman period around the Church of the Holy Cross in the centre of the town. Another precious sight for the visitor the Early Christian Church of St Andrew in Zaton, then in the old part of Nin, in Branimir Street there are embedded parts of an altar rail in a wall, which lay scattered after the total destruction of Nin; in the middle of Kraljevac Square, there is an original well crown from the 13th century, with the coat-of-arms of the Familyof Šubić of Bribir, in Višeslav Square part of a Corinthian column was placed, not by accident but it was placed by the local people, and is used on the occasion of the procession on the Holiday of Our Lady of Zečevo. Namely, according to tradition the flowers of Our Lady are laid on it and above the flowers the Statue of Our Lady is placed. After the belessing people take the flowers believing them to be miraculous. The Corinthian column is therefore called the rock of Our Lady; and on the historical island the remains of the city walls can be seen. And this by no mean is all-in the area of old Nin, past and present are joined in one story which to all visitors is interesting and whose testimony can be seen not only in books and museums, but also in the streets along which you walk and also the squares where you linger.