Cetina River Spring is one of those (many) places in Dalmatia that simply leaves you breathless. It was back in 2003 when we first visited, wife being pregnant for 8 months, followed by a VERY adventurous drive over Promina mountain to Drniš. This is an amazing part of Dalmatia!
So, a week ago, we decided to visit the spring again (and the Glavas fortress as seen few posts bellow). The day was fairly nice and an easy drive to Cetina village. There is a sign on the main road from Vrlika. It is located next to a big stone house (abandoned warehouse?) and the narrow, one lane road, takes you down to beautiful valley. Burned houses stand silent witnesses to war in the region and we saw very few people. Some taking care of their sheep and cattle, some sitting in front of their houses on the morning sun… The drive is fairly straightforward.
And then we came to one of most important archaeological monuments of our national past: the 9th century church of Sv Spas.
This is not the oldest still standing church in Croatia but it has the oldest still standing church tower in the country. It was erected by a local duke Gostiha in memory of his mother and sons. The old Croatian graveyard next to the church has been excavated in several campaigns and numerous interesting artifacts have been discovered in over 1160 graves. The area was attacked by the Turks in late 15th century and the people moved to nearby Vrlika. The church was badly damaged by the Turks. In the 17th century, the new inhabitants from Bosnia moved in and they were mostly of Serbian orthodox religion. Then the conflicts of the origin of the church started and haven’t finished till this day…
So we parked by the graveyard and explored around the church before walking up the road to see the spring of Cetina. Munching on Cornelian cherries, blackberries and wild apples we picked by the road, of course. 🙂
The spring can be reached from several directions but the easiest is from the main road that leads to the small orthodox church dating back to 1939. The narrow path leads right to the water…
There are several springs that form Cetina but this, Veliko or Cetina vrilo is the best known. It looks like a small lake from which water flows but looking in the center, an abyss can be seen. Quite a sight!
It is very, very deep and the divers got to 115 meters of depth (377 feet) but haven’t seen the end! There are several separate caves deep bellow and it does not look we will see the end of it any time soon. The caves are dangerous and in the summer of 2009, a Slovenian diver was found dead deep in the spring. His group, like many other, dive illegally and local authorities should work on preventing that penalizing them with enormous fines doing all we can to protect the spring.
The water is very cold but perfect for drinking right from the spring!
Cetina River spring is one of those hidden sights that does not attract hordes of people just because is not on main tourist route. But entire area of Dinara mountain is probably the prettiest part of the country filled with beautiful natural and historic monuments well worth exploring.
Follow us on Facebook!