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The village of Murvica, island of Brač in Croatia

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General presentationGeneral information
Murvica is a hamlet of a few tens of inhabitants located on the southern part of the island of Brač in Croatia.

Murvica is part of the commune of Bol in the county of Split-Dalmatia.

Murvica is an excellent starting point to explore the monastic colonies which were created in the surroundings at the 15th century.

The toponym of Murvica comes from the name of the shrub “murva”, the bramble with blackberries, moreover called “dies” as former French (of Latin morum).

Under the Republic of Venice, Murvica was named in Italian Murvizza.


Murvica is distant of 6 km of the center of Bol; since Bol, a motor-road skirts the coast towards the west until Murvica.

The village is enough far from the shore - to be safe from pirate raids, like many localities - below karstic caves of the solid mass of Vidova Gora.

The village of Murvica (Kelovy author). Click to enlarge the image.


The Cave of Drakonjina (Drakonjina Špilja) or Cave of the Dragon (Zmajeva Špilja)
The Cave of the Dragon (in Croatian Zmajeva Špilja or Zmajeva Pecina) is also named Grotte of Drakonjina (Drakonjina Špilja), of Latin draco-draconis, dragon. It is called thus because of a mysterious sculpture in low-relief representing a dragon discovered inside. It is a 20 depth meters cave, divided into four rooms which constituted a monastery and a church.
The cave of the Dragon (author Roni Marinovic). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).In the first room of the cave is a vault, the chapel Our Lady and a furnace bridge dug in the rock. This chapel was built at the 16th century by monks glagolitic who wished to be established in an inaccessible place to protect itself from the Othoman Turks. At that time, the Othoman armies had indeed invaded the Croatian grounds on the continent, beyond the channel of Brač, forcing the Christian communities to flee; monastic colonies coming from Poljica found refuge in these karstic caves above Murvica. Since these monastic orders were eremitic, living an ascetic life of solitary prayer, these isolated caves, besides providing a sure hiding-place, were a logical choice to be established there.

Sculpture of the Dragon. Click to enlarge the image.The cave is carved fantastic reasons which represent scenes of the Book of the Revelation of New Testament, also known like the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse is an allegory of the fight between the good and the evil played by characters like animals with multiple heads, a dragon represents Satan and the heroic Lamb.

On the wall of left, in the west, is the sculpture most impressive which gave its name to the cave, that of a dragon, the open mouth, with a lion laid down above its head. On the east coast, above small vaults human figures, of which one symbolizes the moon, and of the birds are on their nests.

On the walls, around, holes of various forms and, at the base, stone seats are. The cave has also cisterns of water, tombs and niches for the solitary prayer.

The scientists are posed many questions in connection with this mysterious site; most between them think that it contains pagan elements of Slavic mythology coexisting with a Christian iconography. But these sculptures, if powerful and carried out so well, are certainly the work of a main stonecutter.

The cave of the Dragon (author Marilyn Cvitanic). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).The cave of the Dragon (author Roni Marinovic). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).The cave of the Dragon (Shana author). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).

The Cave of the Dragon is to approximately 200 m above Murvica, hidden to 300 m under more the high summit of Brač; a rather stiff path makes it possible to join the cave since Murvica in about twenty minutes. Since Bol the cave is at 2 hours of walk: to envisage a one half-day excursion. In reward, the cave of the Dragon offers a splendid sight on the island of Hvar.

Once opened with the visit, the cave was damaged and plundered: it from now on is closed by an iron door; the visits cannot be made that on go at least 24 hours in advance with a guide which has the key: Zoran (telephone: 091,514 9787); tariff: 50 kunas by anybody.

The Port of Dračeva (Dračeva luka)
Manuscript coming from the hermitage. Click to enlarge the image.Above port of Dračeva, one can see a church of the 16th century which was the church of the old hermitage of Dračeva Luka. The vaults of the interior are formed by the natural rock of a cave. The frontage presents a gate to the characteristic aspect, a rosette and a typically Dalmatian bell-tower.

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Interactive map of the island of Brać in Croatia
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