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Blaca Hermitage: A must-visit Croatian cultural marvel

spots to visit in croatia

Blaca Hermitage (Photo credit: Kork/Public domain)

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience, Blaca Hermitage should definitely be on your list. Located on the southern side of the island of Brač in Croatia, Blaca Hermitage is a former hermit settlement of the Glagolitic script followers and later an observatory. This enchanting retreat is situated on the eastern slope of a valley between Bol and Milna, about 2 km north of the eponymous bay.

Blaca Hermitage is rich in history and culture. Its name is probably motivated by mud that is formed by occasional heavy rains. The hermitage was first mentioned in 1305 and became home to the Glagolitic followers from Poljica who fled to Brač in the 15th century when the Turks attacked. 

They were given permission by the prince of Brač to settle and founded a monastic community in 1552 under the Ljubitovic cave, cultivating the donated land. The monks also developed trade through their bay, Popova vala. After several disasters, the economy began to weaken, and the number of hermits decreased. However, the Renaissance building was renovated and expanded during the 17th and 18th centuries according to Baroque models, and a bell tower was added.

Blaca Hermitage: A Croatian cultural and natural marvel

Old manuscript (Photo credit: WolleKA/CC BY-SA 3.0)

What makes Blaca Hermitage unique is its monastic community, which was allowed to accept whomever they wanted into their ranks, without the influence of any church or secular institution. The members were both priests and laypeople who would be elevated to the rank of brothers after a certain time. 

Together, they participated in the selection of the elder, who took care of all members and common affairs. The area was one of the strongest economic entities on the island of Brač for a long time, and its part of the Milna port is still called Blataška riva.

Blaca Hermitage has a great monument value and is a unique cultural and natural monument in Croatia. It started as a cave surrounded by stones and over time, hermits built single-story buildings for various purposes, kitchens, cellars, ovens, etc.

Blaca Hermitage: A Croatian cultural and natural marvel

Old monastery kitchen (Photo credit: WolleKA/CC BY-SA 3.0)

During times of prosperity, luxurious multi-story buildings were constructed, including a Renaissance church built in 1588, which was expanded in the following century. The church houses 3 Baroque altarpieces, and in the ‘desert’, there are paintings from the Venetian school of the 17th century. 

Blaca Hermitage: A Croatian cultural and natural marvel

Monastery piano (Photo credit: WolleKA/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The hermitage has a complete civilian interior, rich inventory, astronomical instruments, printing house, archive, library, agricultural buildings, beehives, livestock stables, and various tools. What’s more, Blaca Hermitage is not only a place of historical significance, but it’s also a nature lover’s paradise. 

Blaca Hermitage: A Croatian cultural and natural marvel

Monastery goat-breeding (Photo credit: WolleKA/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Blaca Hermitage: A Croatian cultural and natural marvel

Monastery telescope (Photo credit: WolleKA/CC BY-SA 3.0)

It is registered as an immovable cultural property – individually, with the legal status of protected cultural property, classified as “sacral-profane architectural heritage” under the designation Z-1553. It’s no wonder that in 2005, two asteroids discovered from the Višnjan Observatory were named (10241) Miličević and (10645) Brač in memory and honor of this exceptional place.

spots to visit in croatia

(Photo: Kork/Public domain)

Blaca Hermitage is a hidden gem that offers an extraordinary travel experience to history and nature enthusiasts alike. So, if you’re planning your next trip to Croatia, make sure to include this enchanting retreat in your itinerary.

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