Ljubač

It's like the sea came out of nowhere! That is the impression someone might have travelling from Zadar, about a scene that suddenly arises after 15km travelling in the direction of Velebit. From the mild altitude near Dušević mlin, suddenly the sea „opens", whose surroundings give you an admiring panorama. Ljubač bay looks like it's a big lake. If you come from the side of Velebit you can enter the bay through Ljubač doors, above which Pag Bridge buckles. From the terrestrial side, opposite of Pag, and on the edge of Ljubač bay, Ljubač village is settled. Ljubač is about 8km southwest from Ražanac. Special impression leaves, along with the wide field, Ljubač hill. The history of this part of hard working Croatian land begun on Ljubač hill and its slopes.

Ljubač today has around 450 inhabitants, considerably less than 50 years ago, when the village had an elementary school up to 8th classes. Today a very few students attend classes in the combined division up to 4th grade, and the rest of their elementary education they continue in Ražanac. The reasons of demographic depopulation are well known. The oldest, but also the most numerous tribes are Perković and Dušević. The other family names are: Lazanja, Tičak, Ivanac, Miočić, Gažić, Marelja, Marušić, Matak, Bonato, Jordan, Borzin, Gruban, Stojić and Miletić.

Today, Ljubač extends from Ljubački stanovi till Provale, in a distance of about 3km. It has significantly expanded in all directions and also in the direction of the other two hamlets: Stojić and Gruban lay on a hill's lawn. All three hamlets belong to the same parish. The parish protector is St. Martin to whom the local church is dedicated to. The historic core of the village was laid above sea cliff, in the length of around 200m and in the width of around 100m. It has all the characteristics of the Dalmatian coastal village, with narrow streets, thickly built houses. In the Middle Ages, during Ottoman danger the village was surrounded by defensive wall. Today this fortification object is well presented by the remains of the walls in Šekuće.

History

We won't talk about the earliest Stone Age. Much more of material cultural heritage is from the Iron Age, mostly from 1st millennium BC, when the village was inhabited by the Liburns-Illyrian tribe, skilled cattle breeders, farmers and fisherman's, but also brave pirates. The most convincing evidence of their culture is Venac gradina, with an especially beautiful view on it from north side of Rtina. Near the castle ruins, on the site of Dvorne, a large number of graves were found, at the surface, but also by the entire hill, and the bigger ones are easier to see at first sight. Those are grave mounds-tumuli- and the largest one is Križarska glavica, closer to Stojići. Unfortunately, big part of his valuable cultural heritage was devastated, especially 40 years ago. Only small number of exponents found their place in Archeological museum of Zadar.

In the 2nd century BC, Liburnians were conquered by the Romans. During some period of time Romans built many summer villas-rusticas at surrounding area of Ljubač and Krneza. From the end of 5th century dates a dual basilica, a very valuable and unique monument that was just recently explored. Three grave mounds near votive church of Our Lady of Snow are the proof of Croatian presence in this area at this time. These sanctums of old Croatian culture were also devastated.

The hill that was already mentioned is a 3km long peninsula. A pleasant walk, with an amazing view, leads you to Vrtolom. In medieval ages, a fortress known as Old town Ljubljana was built above this slope. The town was first mentioned in the documents of Duke Andrija, where it was called Castrum Gliube. At that time it was ruled by Croatian-Hungarian rulers, but it was soon leaved to the Templars. Rich city life lasted until the end of the 17th century, until the end of the Ottoman threat. Then the city was abandoned because Venice no longer need it for defense. There are only few material remains left, but still enough to be able to visualize the whole fortress system. Gothic church of St. Marcela resisted the ravages of time. It was a single-nave church. From the center to the shrine the nave extends to both sides, finishing with three semi-circular apses.

Along with apses, the only thing that was partially preserved is northern wall with buttresses (supporting pillars).The most valuable thing that was preserved from the city is a chalice which is kept at the church of St. Martin. According to the legend, an ox threw it out of land by its „bucanje" ( scratching his horns to the ground).

The church of St.Martin looks the same since 1812. It is a small church with two smaller semi-circular windows on the sides. The front side is decorated with a single rosette with a cross built in it. At the top there is a bell tower with two bells. Ljubački stanovi can be proud of recently restored church of St. Ivan, but also with the remains of the church of St. Magdalena from 14th century.

Cultural-historical heritage is here presented in a populistic way, with no pretensions to be scientific. We believe that in the near future, and because of the abundance of material, Ljubač and its surroundings will be an archeological park- the first of its kind in Croatia.

Prof. Frane Dušević

 

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