Secret Dalmatia Blog - Travel Experiences in Croatia

Gradina Bojnik – ancient fortress at the mouth of Zrmanja river

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The winters are not as they used to be… The temperatures are high, bura wind rare and the rain is quite common. But the good thing is that this is perfect time for hiking and exploring. So, yesterday we took off in the afternoon to see the big and ancient Bojnik gradina at the very mouth of Zrmanja river. The gorgeous December day was perfect for spending time outdoors. This place was on my list to visit for a while but, there are always more important things to do and more interesting places to see… I did some research and not much is written about this place. All we know is that is was a Liburnian fortress/settlement probably guarding the entrance to Zrmanja and more inland settlements of the ancient Liburnians.

Gradina Bojnik
Gradina Bojnik

The fortress/settlement was about 5 hectares large and the area is still encompassed by walls clearly seen on the satellite image. Of course, now they are just a pile of rocks but this was once an important and impressive fortress!

The view!
The view!

The view of Novigrad sea and Karin sea, as well as of the entire region is stunning! On the northern side, the settlement was protected by the steep cliffs of the Zrmanja river canyon. Views of Velebit and this stretch of the coast are unparalleled offering great strategic advantage for the locals living in this area.

Velebit in the distance
Velebit in the distance
Zrmanja leaving its canyon
The very mouth of Zrmanja river
The cliffs protecting western sides
The cliffs protecting western sides of Bojnik

The entire surface is quite flat and it looks like a nice place for a settlement. Fresh water just below, fertile fields all over, fish and seashells in the nearby sea…  Liburnians were known for their great ships and for being merchants all over the Adriatic. The small Novigrad Sea would offer them a superb protection as can be accessed only through a very narrow Noigradsko ždrilo straight.
More puzzling are the large walls beneath the settlement. Massive, megalithic blocks can be seen everywhere as part of some ancient roads and even additional walls. It shows that the settlement was of great importance and great wealth.

The ancient road coming out of the settlement
The ancient road coming out of the settlement
More blocks...
More blocks…

Leaving this long abandoned settlement, we saw more walls and road like structures.

The road
The road

Bojnik, just like numerous other abandoned, historic places in the region, is just one of great hiking destinations. A unique combination of a great natural beauty and a mysterious historic monument. Just the way I like it! Few dozens still left to see in North Dalmatia alone…

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