Heritage fair

Tuesday 2011/05/03

All the grandeur of Velebit that was hidden under heavy, gray clouds, was revealed now, in all its glory, as we were setting off. Rowing from Starigrad towards Razanac, I kept turning over to take yet another look at this mountain's magnificent beauty.

Vatromet baštine

Rain cleared the air, dark clouds revealed golden skies, and Velebit proudly spread its glorious peaks over the horizon. I was able to make out the rocky southern side of Crnopac, southernmost part of Velebit, mighty Tulove grede, solid and regal like a huge stone built castle with double doors leading to the tunnel of Sveti Rok, separated, grass covered peak of Sveto brdo, Vaganski vrh peak, notches of Mala and Velika Paklenica canyon, outlines of Stap, Visocica and other pearls of Southern and Middle Velebit. When I set off towards Razanac, a small place on the other side of the Starigrad channel, Velebit was still stood in front of me, mirroring his image on silent sea.

A bit later on, riding from Razanac, I passed by numerous funeral signs set in stone, called mirilo, which are linked to post-mortem rituals. This is very characteristic of this area of Velebitsko podgorje region - people would stop at a special place at which a ritual was performed in order to separate the body and soul of the deceased, and set the soul to rest, placing two stones next to the body. The funeral procession continued the journey towards the church cemetery where the person was buried. Later on, people would return to the location of the two stones and build a mirilo as an eternal remembrance. Various marks were cut into the stone slabs, so that the soul would know its location. Family and friends would come and pay their respects here rather than at the actual burial site since, as it is believed, that is only where the body lies without the soul, while the soul was left on the mirilo.

I had decided earlier on to extend my predetermined daily route and go through Nin, that little town of major importance with a millennial history. Standing here, next to all these notable sights, reading about all of these amazing historical times of Croatian kings, bishops and other great men, I am feeling strangely fulfilled. I usually feel like this when I'm on Velebit, or in Lika, or on top of waves next to one of our thousand islands, or at a spring of a river... I remember what my brother-in-law, Drago Kardum, used to say about people who are not aware of their history and heritage, comparing it to a river that has been cut off from its spring. No matter how big the river is or how strong its current, without its spring, it will simply dry out becoming just an empty, ugly river-bed. I think these are the times when we should seriously think about that...

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