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Croatia -Dalmatia - Nin - The Cultural Heritage of Nin

Baptismal Font of Prince Višeslav

A baptismal font of Prince Višeslav origins from Nin, the first political seat of Croatia. According to some historians Višeslav was the first Croatian prince who ruled about 800 year. The baptismal font is an important part of the church furniture and testifies about the time of baptizing of Croats. It is a six-sides stone vessel into which by baptizing believing people were dived. The copy of the font is in the Archaeological Collection in Nin and the original is kept in the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments in Split.

At the edge of the six-sided font you can read the inscription:
"This spring takes the weak to make them enlightened. Here they wash themselves from their crimes which they took from their first parent, to become Christians, holy confessing eternal trinity."

This act was devout done by a priester John at a time of Prince Višeslav to the honour of St. John te Baptist, to speak for him and his proteges.

Church St. Cross- the Smallest Cathedral in the World

Among the most important preserved monuments of the oldcroatian church architecture, of an unique architectural style the church St. Cross from the 9th century ,called «the smallest cathedral in the world» dominates over the area with its position and beauty. It is put into the representative monuments of the earlymiddleages architecture because of its original form. It is a building of interesting central type with a groundplan in the form of a cross with a lot of irregularity in the groundplan-disposition. All the branches are surmounted by a cupola. The outside wall is decorated by a row of blind niches, three on the front and one on each branch. The cupola has an dominant accent on that building- it is in irregular, oval and elongated form and it is being narrowed on the top.A very significant detail on the church is a stone lintel above the door which is decorated by an interlacing-ribbon pattern and at the lower side there is the carved name of the district-governor Godečaj. In connection of the exploration of the church it is useful to say that near the church some earlymiddleages graves were found with relatively little findings which could be dated from the8th till the 15th century. On the explored terrain were found the destroyed parts of antique architecture in dry-wall technics. . There were also found parts of the material culture of Croats from the 8th century. It is meant that this belongs to the Croats who in the early Middle Ages inhabited the destroyed antique Nin. The church of St. Cross is a building of central type with blind niches and its groudplan is an one- branch Greek cross. Each side of the church has an oval opening. The scientifist M. Pejaković explained its dimension and position toward a sun through the whole year depending on winter and summer solstice . Its building was created and had a meaning to serve like o'clock or a calender. On the stone lintel there is an inscription of the Croatian župan (district governor) Godečaj, which is still not historically explained.


One of the most significant bishops from Nin (60 bishophs are known) is certainly bishop Grgur from Nin, the chancellor f the Croatian Court.In the 10th century he was the main fighter for oldslavic language and the peoples' alphabet and for using of glagolitsa in liturgy. In 925 the Croatian ruler Tomislav proclaimed himself a king with recognition of Pope. Bishop Grgur from Nin had at that time the leading church position in the Croatian state. At the church synods which took place in 925 an 928 the archbishop from Split asked for ruling over Dalmatian dioceses and over whole Croatia. Dalmatian towns were at that time a part of Byzant. At the second church synod (928) the church authority for whole Croatia and Dalmatia was given to the archbishop from Split, bishop Grgur was given the Skradin diocese, the synods forbid the priests to use oldslavic language in the liturgy, the liturgy language became Latin and as there were not many prriests speaking Latin, so the western liturgy kept liturgy in churchslavic language with Croatian details. In this way the Croatian Glagolitsa was saved and both bacame a part of our peoples' culture. This old language was at that time liturgic and literature language. In the Middle Ages it was replaced by a living Croatian literature language, in our times also in the liturgy.

The bronze sculpture of bishop Grgur awaits you proudly in the center of the old city of Nin (as well as in Varaždin and Split) «making» your wishes true if you touch his tomb. The sculpture is a work of famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović who gave his first sculpture to the city of Varaždin, and the second one to Split. The version in Split is more monumental und not fully like original. Meštrović said by giving the sculpture.... Grgur from Nin, he on the northern Croatia and he on the southern Croatia in Split- should be the proof for our succesful fight for churchslavic language and Croatian Glagolitsa. The sculpture in Varaždin was erected on the 20th of September 1931. The sculpture of an identical shape was erected in Nin on the 10 th September 1969 on the occasion of 900 anniversary of issuing a chart by Croatian king Patar Krešimir IV, in which he spread the kingdom on the sea and on the mainland and with which he called our sea Mare nostrum..



"Among the cultural advantages with which the Croatian people can boast is the fact that it has its special national script. Each people, by baptizing and joining the Christian community got immediately translated on its language the holy books and its clergy. When they got baptized and gave the written promise to the Roman Pope that they will be in peace with the neighbour peoples, the Croats had to get the holy liturgics books, their national priests and their national bishop from Nin, as we find him in the 9 th and 10 th century. The Glagolitsa is the script on which our oldest literary and historical works were written. The Croats lean proudly their finger against this monument, which is a proof of their primordial culture and resistant strength." - Citation: Kerubin Šegvić, Rogač 1925.g.


Is located on a hill-earthen grave in the field for crowning Prahulje near Nin and represents the most romantic monument of the history of Nin. "According to the people tradition seven kings were crowned in Nin and on the occasion of crowning the crowned ruler would arrive riding with the suite to the church of St. Nicolaus where he introduced himself to the people and made a sign with a sword to the four sides of the world. The church is the only preserved example of the Romanesque architecture with the central ground-plan and the cross-ribbed vault from the end of the 11 th and the beginning of the 12 th century."

Citations taken form the anthology "The history of the City of Nin".



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