Vinodol's springs and washboards

The Valley of Vinodol is a beautiful combination of nature and human effort. Stone stupi (steps) cut into rocks, trails and walkways, gromače (dry stone walls), studenci (water wells) and washboards prove what human beings can create with their own hands to make life easier, and to avoid disrupting the harmony of their natural surroundings.

This project offers a different kind of the Vinodol, an image of hard and toilsome life on the land and off the land.

In the process of discovering this side of the Vinodol, can we become closer, not only to nature, but also to ourselves? Let us try!



A spring is a natural water source of which there are many found in the Vinodol. However, during the long summer months, many springs used to run dry, and the need for water was great.

This is the reason water had to collected, walled-in, protected and made available to people. This is how these structures, commonly known as studenci (water wells) were created; a result of human needs, efforts and work.

More than fifty (?) springs have been explored and recorded in the surroundings of Drivenik, Grižane and Bribir, although their actual number is greater – the springs were walled-in by beautiful, carved stone in the second half of the 19th century. It is the work of local stone-masons who often decorated these small structures by various ornaments, which also proves their aesthetic value, along with their utilitarian value.

Although many older springs were undated, the following years were carved into some stones: 1842 (Kričina), 1866 (Drivenik), 1876 (Barci), 1877 (Podskoči), 1881 (Miroši), 1889 (Grižane).

In the beginning of the 20th century, activities on the protection of springs were intensified, probably stimulated by the local authorities. This is the reason why the majority of Vinodol’s springs were created in the first half of the 20th century, most of them in the 1930s. Application of new technologies in this period is visible in the use of concrete. However, beautiful stone frames around metal gates which close and protect the spring were often carved in during the construction (for example, Marušići, Barci, Belgrad, Bašunje …).

This period was marked in some settlements by laying down of the water supply system from the closest spring to the settlement in order to make water more available to the inhabitants. This was a result of the locals’ efforts. In 1902, water from the Belgrad’s spring of Dobrovica was led to Kamenjak, in 1935 from the Jurišino spring to the centre of Bribir, in 1942 two taps were built in Goričine (Drivenik) from the Babljak spring, etc.

Most springs had been in use until the 1970s, but when the water supply system started supplying the settlements of Vinodol with water, the springs were abandoned and forgotten.



Next to the most of Vinodol’s springs, there is an arranged washboard (perilišće) where women used to wash their laundry. Washboards come in different shapes, they were made of stone or concrete, and water flew from the springs up to one or more pools. Sides of the pool  are bent inwards, which enabled women to wash laundry. There was always a brentišće nearby, a stone- or a similar elevated surface on which a woman would lay down her brenta or kabal (large bucket).  Some washboards also had troughs – kamenice,  which were used to water cattle.

Washboards were taken care of and regularly cleaned by all inhabitants. This is why washboards were not only places where laundry was washed, but also where the children played, people socialised, sang and made jokes.

daily care and work


One of the daily taks of the women of the Vinodol was bringing water from the spring to the house. The water was necessary for washing, cooking and drinking for people and cattle (blago). Women used to carry water in a brenta, a wooden (later tin-) open vessel of the capacity of cca 25 liters, which they would fasten to their backs with oprta or plašćenica. A family which had a cow or sheep needed about five brentas of water daily, and on laundry days, even more.

Washing demanded a lot of attention and time. If laundry was washed at home in a parilnjak, several brentas of water should have been brought from the spring. White laundry used to be lušijano (whitened using ash), and afterwards, clothes were brought to the washboard in a kabal (bucket), washed, beaten by a palica (stick) and washed out thoroughly.

Water was brought from the spring in the wind and the rain, in the summer heat and the cold. A woman with a brenta was an everyday sight in the Vinodol until the mid-20th century. A monument placed in the centre of Grižane reminds of these times.


We suggest you to take a walk through the Vinodol and see some of the following springs and washboards:



Most of the springs and washboards of Drivenik (a total of 15) were created in the period between 1928 and 1941. However, the most interesting is the Stari spring located under the hill-fort of Drivenik in a remote place, away from the road and the settlement. The name indicates its old age, which is also confirmed by the year 1866 chiselled in the stone arch above the open side of the spring. This simple, small spring was created by dire human need for water.

The spring and washboard of Kokanj is located on an old walkway which leads from Cerovići, by the lake, to Tribalj. This spring, located in Drivenik, was created in 1942. Although it is made of concrete and is not one of the oldest ones, it is interesting to look at. It is a typical spring of Drivenik, in which the water was walled-in and directed towards the washboard. On the right is a space in which laundry was washed, and there is also a brentišće, while on the outside, there is also a trough used to water cattle. The nearby village of Kokanj and this spring, which served the needs of the locals, provide an image of the Vinodol as it once was. The village of Kokanj has been abandoned, and the same fate befell this spring.

By far the most beautiful spring in Drivenik is the Piralo. This beautiful stone spring with a washboard was erected in 1939 and is found in the vicinity of the main road leading from Tribalj to Drivenik. It is a true example of stone-mason’s craft of the people of the Vinodol. A stone arch, brentišća, small walls and channels were carefully chiselled in and composed into a beautiful whole.



The Grižane area is full of springs which were arranged and walled-in very early. Many of the older springs have remained undated, and some are marked by years like, for example, 1876 in Barci, 1881 in Miroši, 1889 in Grižane. However, most of them were erected or restored in the 1930s and 1940s.

Out of cca 30 preserved springs, we warmly recommend the visit to the spring and waterboard Bačevo in the centre of Grižane. The spring was arranged, closed by a metal gate and decorated by a beautiful carved stone frame in 1889 by the inhabitants of Grižane, as mentioned in the inscription at the top. The water was led to the washboard by pipes under the road. It is large, made of concrete, located under a large lime-tree in the shade of which you can take a little break.

In the area of Grižane, there are several beautiful old stone springs and washboards. One of them is the so-called Šmitova voda in the settlement of Franovići (it is also called Lešće). It is located by the Bribir-Grižane road, which is one more reason to stop and have a look.

From the springs, water flows through a narrow channel to the large pool in which laundry was washed. Around this pool, there are nine large stone blocks bent inwards, which made washing easier for the women. Another little channel was used to lead dirty water out to the field. The entire washboard was made from carved stone, and the spring was protected in 1941 and closed by a metal gate.

The following two stone springs and washboards are of the same type, and we recommend you to visit them and have a look around.

Jelenčićeva voda is located on an old walkway which leads from St. Anne’s Church in Barci towards the settlement of Jelenčići.

The Židovalj spring is located in Kostelj. An arranged walkway leads to this spring on the turn from the Grižane-Tribalj road to Karlići. The springs fits beautifully into the surroundings, and a large janjac (poplar-tree) is located in its vicinity.



Almost every village in the Bribir area had its own water, i.e. a spring and a washboard. About twenty have been preserved, out of which some cannot be reached or are in ruins. Most springs and washboards of Bribir were erected in the first half of the 20th century, some originate from the 19th century  (Kričina 1842, Lokvica- Podskoči 1877), while the majority of the washboards remains undated.

There are many beautiful stone springs and washboards in the Bribir area, out of which we recommend the following:

The Propasta spring – it is located in the settlement called Ugrini, in the vicinity of the main road to Bribir from Novi Vinodolski. The spring is nicely walled-in and open in the front. The year in which it was erected – 1909 – is chiselled in the arch over the opening. Brentišće and a small stone wall are placed on the side, and the water flows from the spring through a little channel to the washboard – a large pool surrounded by stone blocks on which laundry was washed. One of the pools is surrounded by small blocks.

Another spring is located in the settlement of Jargovo. Its location is very accessible. About twenty stone steps lead from the road to the spring and the washboard. The spring is open, arranged and nicely walled-in. On each side of the opening there is a little stone wall, which also served as a brentišće. Water flows from the spring through a little channel to the washboard, whose pool is surrounded by small blocks. Everything is made of stone, from the steps and paving to the wall, channel, as well as the entire spring and the washboard.

Make sure to end your tour of Bribir’s springs and washboards in Kosavin. This is where you will find a spring and washboard, special in terms of its location. It is located about 50 m from the Bribir – Selce road.

The spring is large, enclosed by stone blocks and open in the front, like most of the Bribir’s springs. It is undated. Next to it, there is a washboard made of concrete surrounded from three sides by a tall stone wall. Unlike other washboards, this one is elevated, and women could have washed their laundry standing up, which made the task easier. There are also two  brentišća  with taps and a stone which protrudes from the enclosing wall, used for laying down the kabal.

Visit this spring and you will enjoy lavish greenery, the murmur of water and the chirping of birds which fill the air much louder here, away from everyday noise and commotion.


Take a walk through the Vinodol!

Our springs and washboards, hidden in the greenery, are a part of ourselves. We cordially let you have a part of our intimacy with utmost confidence.

Enjoy them and keep them safe with us for generations to come. 

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