When you walk by the sea in Nin, stop by the Lower town bridge by the prominent statue of Duke Branimir. The past and the present are interwoven here and you are standing in front of the statue of a ruler who strongly marked Croatian history by his visions and works.
In the long line of historical personalities important for the life of Nin and the whole of Croatia, the name of Duke Branimir occupies a special place. There is a special reason: Nin is the cradle of the Croatian state and, most certainly for all its residents a place of especially strong emotive feelings, and Duke Branimir is the ruler to whom much credit should be given for the recognition of the Croatian State.
He lived in the 9th century, and ruled from 879-892. During his reign the coastal area of Croatia strenghtened its independence which is also confirmed by Pope John VIII. who accepted it as an independent country of the Christian west, this giving the Croats recognition because of their loyalty to the Catholic Church.
Branimir on thr 7th June 879, for the first time in history was recognised as a legal ruler and Croatia as a legal state, actually in Nin, which became its legal seat. It is not surprising therefore, that here in 2007-1,128 years later-in memory of the first recognition of the Croatian State, a four metre high statue to the great Croatian ruler-Duke Branimir-was unveiled. The recognition of the Croatian State on the 7th of June is marked as the Town's day, and in Croatia as the Day of Croatian Diplomacy.
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.