Small Churches on the Marjan Hill

Small Churches on the Marjan Hill

If there is anything determining Marjan, hill-symbol on the west side of the Split peninsula, just as much as its dense pine forest, countless trails and recreational facilities or the Medieval labirinth of Varoš, than that is a series of Marjan small churches and chapels. Built during the time when Marjan was a spiritual haven for the citizens of Split who expressed their faith by going on a pilgrimage to their holly hill, those sometimes miniature churches were one of the most important witnesses of the way life developed in Split. For those fond of taking nature walks, tour of this spiritual circle can be a great opportunity for sightseeing Marjan and enjoying the peace offered by this hill to the citizens of Split and their guests.

St. Nicholas the Traveler

This church was built in 1219 by the citizen of Split Rako and his wife Elisabeth and donated to the abbey of St. Stephen on Sustipan. It was taken care of by the Benedictine monks, later hermits, and today the Marjan society, which, with the help of countless citizens of Split, repaired it in the year 1990. St. Nicholas on the Hill can be found on the southeast slope of Marjan, around two hundred meters above the Prva Vidilica (First Peak), from where a spectacular view spreads over the sea and the ships St. Nicholas protected since ancient times, along with their crew.

Our Lady of Good Council

In the former summer house of the family Capogrosso-Kavanjin, the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović set up, before the Second World War, an exhibition area for his works, and renovated it thoroughly. Among others, in the chapel of Our Lady of Good Council, built in 1513, he set a series of woodcuts depicting the life and passion of Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Seven Sorrows (Gospica)

Of several historic churches in the wider area of Kašjuni, the only church left preserved is Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, or Our Lady of Sorrows. All churches of Marjan follow the law of a western facade, while Our Ladies chapel had adjusted to the Suspas gally - from the east. The historians place her in 1362 emphasizing the bell cote and the relief of the Mother holding the dead body of Christ, work of the great Juraj Dalmatinac. The citizens of Split accepted Marjan as a Calvary, therefore the erected shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows is no surprise.

Our Lady of Bethlehem, Betlem

A simple single-nave building built at the same time as the one of St. Jeronimus, from the time of Marko Marulić, sometime before 1500 when the life of hermits becomes more frequent on Marjan. Inside, a beautiful stone altar was preserved, in its centre Crist's Birth, on the sides St. Jeronimus and St. Anthony the Hermit, and on the tympanum the Christ's Crucifixion. In the everyday life of Split this church is most famous for celebrating the midnight mass during the day on Christmas Eve.

St. Jeronimus on Marjan

Built in the second half of the 15th century, and dedicated to St. Jeronimus, or Jere , saint patron of Dalmatia. Andrija Alessi finishes and signs the altar in 1480. In the immediate vicinity are the hermit hermitages, walled in caves where hermit monks resided protecting the church.

St. Jure on the Marjan cape

On the Marjan cape during the Roman times there was a temple of the goddess Diana, patroness of the hunt. Next to its site is the pre Romanesque church of St. Jure, a single-nave building with semicircular apse built in the eighth or ninth century. A fragment of a pluteus of the altar screen was preserved dating back to the 9th or 10th century.

St. Benedict on Marjan

This little church was originally mentioned in 1362, and its remains can be found on, today, a very well known recreational area Bene, named after that very church. After extensive archaeological research, the walls of the church were partially restored in 2004, up to the average height of half a meter, and with a stone pillar which was certifiably a part of the former church.

Our Lady of Spinut

This church has been originally mentioned in 1096, and the historians say that there was a Late Antiquity - early Christian era sanctuary here, as the traces and remains of the oldest building show signs of the early Christian architecture and reveal that the church was founded in the very early centuries of the faith. A legend could be heard among the people that angels make processional pilgrimages to this church every Saturday.

St. Lazarus - St. Magdalene of the Poor

First mention of the church of St. Magdalene/St. Lazarus was found in a will dating back to 1412, also in a chronicle of an unknown citizen of Split a data from 1782 can be read saying that in that year around 600 souls died in Split and its suburbs from hunger, and that they were buried under the Marjan hill, in Veli Varoš next to the church of St. Magdalene, and some of them in Bačvice (Katalinić hill). Although the altarpiece shows St. Lazurus and St. Magdalene, the people celebrate only St. Magdalene.

St. Mikula on Stagnja

Coming down from Marjan into the city we come upon the church of St. Nicholas ad pedes montis - at the foot of the hill, in the midst of Veli Varoš, named by locals, since time immemorial, St. Mikula. The construction of the church is "described by the stone". On the lintel above the facade a writing was engraved translated from Latin it says: "With the help of Christ this temple was built by the famous Ivan and his wife Tiha, whom he married second after the first". On the altar partition inside the church a second engraving translates as follows: "This church was built by Ivan with his second wife, but using the property of the first, overtaken by death, and with his sisters". Church is the work of local craftsmen who, through the 12th century, merged the pre Romanesque and Romanesque style.

Our Lady of Soca

The church of Our Lady of Soca (Seoca), well known in Veli Varoš, was built in the 10th century. It had an area of only 45 square meters. The inhabitants of the surrounding streets are called by the citizens of Split, Sočani. In time of the Turkish invasions the villagers (seljaci) from the surrounding parts inhabited the outside of the city walls, hence naming the settlement Seoce. Legend among the people claimed that the bells of the church of Our Lady of Soca could be heard all the way to Rome.

Church of the Holy Cross in Veli Varoš

The old church of the Holy Cross was demolished in 1657, "to prevent the Turks from conquering it and turning it into one of their towers". It was located around 150m bellow today's church, the building of which commenced in 1680, and was finished five years later. An old Romanesque wooden cross was transferred from the old church, alongside with the statue of the Pieta and the three Capitels, and a Gothic chalice as a part of the liturgical utensils.