Nin and its amazing history

Marko Radojević | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Let me tell you the story that started 10.000 years ago. There was a sea, there was a mountain, and there was our main character - a city that was built on a perfect position with a perfect distance between the sea and the mountain. The mountain protected it, and the sea gave it life. The city suffered a lot, but it gave a lot, too. It became the first place where the Croatian kings would rule from. It is the city with a long history and beautiful and sunny present. Besides other Zadar stories (on how to cycle around the city or about Zadar's history), now let me impress you with the town of Nin and its amazing history.

Church of St Nicholas

Watching the cover photo of this story, you might think that it is scenery from Ireland. But it's not. It is Nin and its Church of St Nicholas built between the 11th and 12th century, a coronation venue of seven Croatian kings.

Church of St Nicholas - Photo © credits: iascic


Only 15 km from the city of Zadar, well-protected and positioned, Nin is the town museum. Every house and every single stone can tell its own story. Nin is very specific for its unusual position. It is actually an islet connected only with two bridges to the mainland. Those two stone bridges originate back to the 16th century, and still, they are the only connection with the mainland.

Stone bridge and an areal view of Nin; Photo © credits: Panomania

Grgur Ninski - the bishop of Nin

Before that time, Nin was an important town for the Croats, as the place where the Croatian church autonomy begins. Additionally, in the 10th century, Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin) was born here. Grgur Ninski was a bishop and thanks to him the Croatians have the religious service in the national language, not in Latin, with a usage of the Glagolitic script. Grgur Ninski is widely respected and important figure of Croatian history. His statue, more precisely his toe is an object of pilgrimage in Split and Nin (both statues made by magical hands of Ivan Meštrović). People come from all over the world to visit Nin and Split, and one of the most interesting and the most curious things to do is to touch the toe of the bishop's statue.

Grgur Ninski Statue in Nin; Photo © credits: darioracane

World's smallest cathedral

Nin is also home to the "world's smallest cathedral". Church of the Holy Cross (Croatian: Crkva svetog Križa) was built in the 9th century in Pre-Romanesque style. It actually doesn't serve as a seat of a bishop, but its international fame came through its characterization as the smallest cathedral in the world. This church is located in the very center of the town.

Church of the Holy Cross in Nin; Photo © credits: Böhringer Friedrich

Condura croatica

1966 was the year of a great discovery. By accident, Condura croatica was found. It is a boat that dates back to the 10th century. The original is held in the museum in Nin, and two replicas are in the Nin and Zadar harbors.

Condura croatica; Photo © credits: ivansmuk

Nin is a place full of history that will surprise you on every single corner. Besides amazing beaches and camping sites that can be busy in the middle of the summer season, the town of Nin is a place to go if you don't like overcrowded sites. The city that lives in the present but with a strong historical scent. Nin and its amazing history are an eternal inspiration of many artists and a big magnet for worldwide tourists.

Street in Nin; Picture © Photo: xbrchx

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