Recently, following the huge success of the “Da Vinci Code” (I never read it since the story is a pure rip off of “The Holy Blood, Holly Grail” controversial book – which I adore!), Knights of the Temple became popular again.
Mysterious aura that surrounds them is only enhanced by the numerous stories, wonderful ruins and creepy legends.
Croatian Dalmatian coast was one of an important strongholds due to the significant position on the route from Venice to the Holy Land. Even an important monastery in Šibenik was donated by the Hungarian rulers of Croatia in those times. But the rule of the Templars was not so good and the folks of Šibenik rebelled even knocking down one of the defensive walls of the monastery. Other important strongholds in Dalmatia included Vrana – which was their seat at the time – and the fortress of Ljuba overlooking the entrance to Pag channel.
Ljuba is now nothing more than just a pile of rocks and few standing walls. When approaching from a distance, the defensive wall and the moat can be seen. Now just showing the immense size of this place!
Surprisingly, little is known about the fortress and we only know that once belonged to the Templars and later was destroyed probably preventing it from falling in the hands of Turks who were a serious threat in this area for over 200 years.
Ljuba is located on a long, about 3-4 km long peninsula stretching from the Ljubac bay towards the island of Pag. The peninsula is known for some of the oldest human remains in Dalmatia! Illyrian hill-tombs have been found everywhere and Roman remains are found in the base of the peninsula. Apparently, a local roof-tile “factory” was in operation just bellow the hill exploiting the clay this area is still famous for.
Another great feature of this place is the sharp ending of the peninsula making it impossible to attack from the western side. Still over 60 meters above the sea level, this part is both scary and magnificent but watch your step not to slide into abyss!
The best way to get there is to leave the car at the end of the paved road and then just walk. The road is in good condition for biking as well and the entire area is filled with sharp contrasts between the mighty Velebit and the picturesque lowlands of Ljubac.
The road also boasts one curiosity – the Footstep of a Giant!
Is it real or just a joke of Nature?
The Ljuba is included in our Trail of the Templar day trip that includes visits to Vrana and Ljuba on a full day trip from Zadar area.