Shrines have a special significance in the life of each believer. These are places of prayer, peace, hope, consolation, and encounter with God. In addition, the shrines are also cultural monuments that, thanks to the perfect blend of luxurious architecture and art, simply steal the attention of every passerby. In its only 56,594 km², Croatia can boast with many shrines that are known around the world, and the believers come from all cities, states and continents.
We decided to list some of the most beautiful and famous shrines in our country, and some of them can be watched live by our webcams.
Shrine of St. Mary – Marija Bistrica
We decided to start our list with the shrine of St. Mary, which is undoubtedly one of the most famous Croatian shrines. It is a national Marian shrine located about forty kilometers from the city of Zagreb.
Just as the Portuguese have Fatima, the Italians Loreto, and the French Lourdes - the Croatians have Marija Bistrica. For centuries, believers have come here from all over Croatia, but also abroad to kneel and pray in front of the miraculous statue of Mother of God with the Child in the Arm.
In the past, the statue has been hidden and preserved several times of threatening dangers, and since July 1684 its final home has been found on the altar, and since that date the first pilgrimages have begun here.
Today, their peace through pilgrimage and prayer of the Way of the Cross in Marija Bistrica finds millions of believers, and the inhabitants here friendly and kindly welcome all pilgrims.
In the vicinity of Rijeka lies the oldest Marian shrine in Croatia - Trsat. The traditional story and written documents testify to the miraculous and sudden creation of the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Trsat Hill in 1291. They say that the house stood there for three years and then simply disappeared and appeared in the Italian town of Loreto.
From that event, the first pilgrimage to the hill began, and today the Mary's Trsat church is one of the most visited shrines worshiped by numerous believers.
Beside the church, there is also a Franciscan monastery inside which is located the Chapel of the Liturgy Gifts.
Our Lady of Sinj
The greatest Marian shrine of Dalmatia is Our Lady of Sinj who deserved this important title in August 1715. After the Turks held Sinj under a long-term siege, suddenly one summer evening they gave up and ran away to Livno.
The locals from Sinj believed that this victory happened thanks to Our Lady of Sinj, whose picture had been in the fortress since the beginning of the siege.
As a sign of gratitude, they immediately collected eighty coins and sent them to Venice to create a gold cross and crown for the crowning of Our Lady.
Because of this truly inspiring and unique story, the believers with great devotion come to this Dalmatian region.
Our Lady of Refuge - Aljmaš
If you like to be a part of the procession on the feast of the Lady Day, we recommend pilgrimage in Aljmaš - the Marian shrine since 1704.
At this feast, thousands of domestic and foreign believers worship the Virgin through the common prayer. In 1864, the Church of Our Lady of Refuge was built here, which was unfortunately completely destroyed in the Homeland War.
Today there is a new church that, with its modern architecture, can be compared with the most contemporary buildings in the world.
In a quiet village of Zagreb, there is a little bit different Marian shrine - Remete.
While most of the other shrines, among other things, turned into "tourist sites" in this place it is insisted on complete peace and prayer in silence.
Although the shrine has been destroyed in various ways, burned and restored through history, it is still here, and the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin opens its door to all the believers to find their own peace, happiness and inner satisfaction.
Another shrine that has its main celebration at Lady Day is the Marian shrine of Ponišan in Split.
On that day, August 15th, the image of the Virgin Mary is bringing to the cathedral in the early morning, and in the evening there begins a procession in which the sailors and residents on their shoulders carry a silver throne with the Lady's icon. Ten thousands of believers, priests and Archbishop walk through the town to the shrine at Pojišan.
The picture of the Virgin Mary in the past was brought to Split and it stood there until the disappearance of potential dangers such as epidemics, wars, hunger and so on.
Shrine of St. Mary of Jerusalem
In Krapina, on the Trški vrh there is the so called "Croatian Jerusalem“. After the statue of Mary was brought from Jerusalem, a church was built in this place.
The interior of the church is decorated by the scenes of the Ascension of Mary, which is completed by many angels and evangelists. Some of the scenes also contain inscriptions, and there is also a miraculous statue of Mary with a child that Stjepan Blagović donated from Jerusalem as a gift to his brother Nikola.
Procession „Za Križen" on the island of Hvar under the protection of UNESCO
Among the many famous processions and pilgrimages in Croatia, it is especially worth mentioning the "Za Križen" procession on the island of Hvar, which has traditionally been held for five centuries.
Each year, at Big Thursday, right at 22:00 h, starts the procession from Vrisnik, Vrbanj, Svirče, Pitve, Jelsa and Vrboska which is about 25 km long, and at 7:00 am, everybody returns to the starting point.
This is a really unique procession, and it is witnessed by the fact that „Za Križen" procession was included on UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.
If you want to know how this procession looked on Hvar, watch the video recorded by our webcams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhmsROWlZBs&t=37s.
In addition to the procession on Hvar, we've also been part of the Our Lady of the Stone Gate, the patron of the city of Zagreb. Take a look at the beautiful traditional procession of many believers walking from Cathedral to Stone Gate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYjLcdu5fi0&t=13s.