History and tradition of Vinodol




Vinodol was inhabited in the Stone Age. In the 2nd century BC, the Romans had named it “Vallis vineariae” and built a road to Dalmatia which was passing through the area. They had also built the fort in Badanj. When the Croats settled in, Vinodol got the name under which it is known today.

Wine grapes, especially the autochthonous sort Žlahtina, are cultivated to this day. The princes Frankopan and Zrinski left a deep mark in the history of Croatia during their reign of many centuries, which is especially visible in Vinodol, where they had built many forts, churches and convents. In the area of the former Vinodol principality, the princes Frankopan had built nine castles, and their representatives were signatories of the Vinodol Codex from 1288.

In today’s Vinodol area, there are still three of the nine existing castles – in Bribir, Grižane, and Drivenik, and another one, dating back to ancient times – Badanj. The Vinodol Codex was drawn up in the former centre of church power in Vinodol area. This Codex is written in Glagolitic script, and it is one of the oldest European legal documents – second in line following the Russian «Pravda»,.

The “Michelangelo of Miniature Painting” Juraj Julije Klović Croata, the greatest representative of world miniature paintings was born in Vinodol.

Sacral heritage


Sacral architecture of Vinodol is extremely interesting and diverse. Pre-Romanesque art is visible in the foundations of the Gothic Church of St. Stephen in Drivenik and in St. George’s Church situated on the hill between Bribir and Selce.

St. Peter and Paul’s Church, Church of St. Anthony the Hermit in Bribir, and St. Martin’s Church in Podskoči were all built in Gothic style with some elements of Renaissance, as well as St. Martin’s Church in Grižane, and the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Snow in Belgrad, which was completed in this particular style as well. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Snow is extremely valuable because of its many Glagolitic inscriptions, as well as the extremely valuable bellows organ from the 18th century.

Out of paintings, especially valuable is the painting by Jacop Palma Jr. called “Washing of Christ’s Feet”, which is found in St. Peter and Paul’s Church. In this church are also located Renaissance custodia and the Renaissance relief of Mother of God with Christ. The Church of the Blessed Virgin’s Visit to Elisabeth in Tribalj is mentioned as the place of judicature based on the Vinodol Codex.

The Princes Zrinski and Frankopan encouraged the building of churches and endorsed art, and this is why during their reign in Vinodol over thirty churches, chapels and crucifixes were built.




The traditional heritage of Vinodol is rich and interesting and it originates from the way of life through the centuries, as well as from various historical influences.
The ladies’ folk costume of Vinodol is black, decorated with lace, embroidery and red details, while men wear white folk costume, embroidered by the red or black wool.
People of Vinodol cherish the tradition of singing «through thick and thin», and the traditional instrument following folk songs is Istrian long flute. Next to this flute, other traditional instruments are fidulice, mišnice and tamburitzas.
Traditional architecture of Vinodol is conditioned by the climate, the ground, way of life and available finances. Stone is the basic material which was used to build the houses of Vinodol with court-yards. Distinctive entrances into court-yards and houses – portuni (doorways) – are especially interesting.
Mesopust (carnival) is one of the oldest folk traditions and it refers to getting rid of winter, evil and to the coming of spring. The joys of carnival last from Epiphany until Ash Wednesday, and the fortunes and misfortunes which marked the previous year are written down in the form of a funny octosyllabic verse – the sentence, which is read on the day of the mesopust.
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