Discovering hidden pearls of my homeland Croatia, this time we have found a renewed Franciscan monastery in Karin (municipal Benkovac, county Zadar).

Main Photo by: Sandra Bortek

I remember my summer holidays as a kind when I drove to Dalmatia with my parents. At that time we drove for about 6 hours (today is about 4) and we made only few stops just to eat or go to the toilets. We had never stopped to see the sights. No, 30 years later my husband and I take as much time as we need just to discover hidden pearls of Croatia. Our drive to Dalmatia also last for about 6 hours or more because we take time to explore we stop whenever we see something interesting or when we plan ahead to visit some special places.

WOW for the beauty of Franciscan Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

I can`t remember how many times we`ve passed by the sign for the monastery but this time we suddenly turned the car and said „Let`s check it out! “ Karin is on the road D27 and it is a part of the old road to the Dalmatia.

As we`ve learnt, the monastery was renewed after being totally demolished during the war in Croatia (1991-1995). I have found this one picture on the internet that shows what was left from the monastery after it was blown up in 1993 by rebel Serbs.

Photo: Fra Visko Kapitanović

During the middle ages (IX-XV century) in the area between rivers Krka and Zrmanja and towns Skradin and Nin, there were more than 40 male and female monasteries. Today there are only four (three in Zadar and one in Karin).

Franciscan Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Photo by Sandra Bortek

Word Karin has origin in Latin and it come from the word CORINIUM that was used for Liburnian -Roman city situated over the spring of the river Karišnica. Goths destroyed the city in 5th and 6th century, and after coming Croats renewed the city that became the seat of Croatian noblemen. Nobleman Vonhila from Lapac married Klaudija (daughter of the king Zvonimir) and from that tribe Lapačani originate nobles of Karin that are first mentioned in 1349. Last man of the family Lapačana was Nikola Lapsanović that built Franciscan monastery in 1429. During the history, when Ottomans invaded this region they also used it, but in the monastery there was also a high school (18th and 19th century) and a Philosophy Study.

The monastery is a culture monument of Croatia since 1964 and after the war in Croatia the monastery was renewed (between 1997 – 2006). Unfortunately from the rich library fund that the monastery once had, only few ordinary books were found but from the old archive nothing was left.

We made a walk around the monastery and the river Karišnica that is also important part of the Karins`s surroundings as well as the Tuvina estuary of Karišnica. In the place where the Karišnica River opens into the Karin Sea we can find an interesting and protected habitat which is rather rare in Croatia. Salt and fresh water intermix at the low and silty shores of the estuary, creating specific ecological conditions which affect the plant communities. You can find here famous and healing mud that is good for rheumatic pains and problems but is also good for the circulation, detox, skin diseases and much more…

So, what do you think about this hidden gem? Croatia has a lot to offer and this is just a tiny bit of all the beautiful things that can be found.

If you`d have any questions about Croatia, feel free to contact me!


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