A long history, cultural monuments, natural beauties, historical personalities, mystical phenomena are the origin of a great many legends. Springing from beliefs, evidence or inexplicable phenomena they are the basis of stories but also interesting events. Here, the visitor can relive legends and the past, enriched with new experiences, and even richer memories of Nin. Come and get to know them!
For almost 500 years Nin has celebrated the appearance of our Lady of Zečevo with a traditional pilgrimage occuring three times a year. It is based church records from the 16th century, connected also with the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who in 1516 appeared to the shepherdess Jelena Grubišić. There are several legends connected with this event, one legend has it that the Turks attacked the small island of Zečevo, burnt the church and the monastery, killed the monks and threw the Statue of Our Lady into the sea. The Statue ''swam'' to Nin and when it was in the middle of the bay, the church bells started ringing and never stopped. The people hearing the bells interrupted their work in the fields and went to the church where they found the figure of Our Lady. The second legend says that the Statue of Our Lady swam to the quay in Nin which today is called the Quay of Our Lady, and the people took the Statue to the church. The third legend however relates to the place where the figure of Our Lady is kept. Tradition says that the people placed it on the main altar of the church of St Ansel but the next morning found it on the altar of the nearby chapel. They took it back to the main altar, only to find it next morning in the nearby chapel. Worshippers, respecting this new place, concluded: Our Lady has decided herself!
The attention of guests and local people is also drawn to the legend about the coronation Church of St Nicholas the only preserved example of Romanesque architecture, which is located on the hill on the coronation field of Prahulje near Nin. In this most romantic monument, tradition has it, seven kings were crowned in Nin always following the same scenario: The crowned ruler would ride on horseback with an escort to the Church of St Nicholas, he would introduce himself to the people and as a sign of his royal power, he would use his sword to cut all four corners of the world. This romantic church today, like in the story, is the goal of many more romantic visits.
Also interesting is the legend about the origin of the name of Nin, one of the oldest Mediterranean towns of a three millenium long history. Scientists claim that during history Nin had seven names: Hemionoi, Ainona, Aenona, Enona, Elona, Nona and Nin. The poet Petar Zoranić of Nin in his work „Planine“ explains the origin of the name in a much simpler way: he says that the Assyrian King Nino founded a town in Dalmatia and ordered it to be called by his name.
There's also the legend about Grgur Ninski, the most famous of the sixty bishops of Nin who was an advocate and fighter for the Croatian language, Croatian national script in glagolitic, and glagolitic church service. Several legends are connected with his name. According to one legend, the fact that there are no poisonous snakes in the area from the Church of St Nicholas and Privlaka, is explained by the curse being put on them, after one snake bit the horse of the Bishop of Nin. He then cursed the poisonous snakes and said that they would not live like that in the future-and it happened! The second legend is connected with Grgur Ninski's toe. Touching it and making a wish at that moment means that the wish will come true .Is it a legend? Judging by many happy faces of the visitors of Nin and the shiny bronze toe the conclusion is: it is true! Try it!
King Zvonimir - the last great Croatian king - who ruled in the 11th century had his seat in Nin. The legend says that he had a summer residence in Nin where he liked to stay and enjoy the beauties of Nin. According to folk tradition, when he stayed in Nin, everyday he would ride from the Duke's garden (Knežev dvor) along the historical island to the field Prahulja and the Church of St Nicholas. Since, during his rule there were no wars and times were prosperous, it was obvious that the local people cordially greeted their king. Moreover, he was often seen sitting in the twilight on the hill by the church contemplating and looking at the beautiful sunsets of Nin.This is the way the legend has it about the place and inspiration for the wise and visionary royal decisions. It is you who will testify about the importance of this historical place and the making of wise life decisions or the enjoyment of the setting worthy of kings.
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.