Watertravel & Waterside Destinations A stone bridge, the Donji most, connects the ancient island city of Nin with the mainland.

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The Tiny, Ancient City of Nin

Like Zadar, the city of Nin is quite ancient; unlike Zadar, however, it has remained quite small.

Nin's Church of St. Cross, said to be the smallest cathedral in the world, is shown here with a Roman-era artifact in the foreground, above, and closer up, below. For the visitor, Nin's small size is certainly a big part of its charm. You don’t have to imagine the town “as it once was” while ignoring the surrounding swirl of traffic and modern architecture. Of course, you might instead have to erase mentally the swirl of tourists who swarm through it. If you’re able to go outside the usual summer tourist season, such as in October when these photos were taken, then the tourist population will naturally be much lower.

Early autumn was beautiful, but one benefit of going in summer is that you can take advantage of the fact that Nin has what’s been called “Croatia’s best beach.” While most of the beaches in the country are composed of pebbles, not unlike the beaches in Normandy, Nin’s is delightfully sandy.

To get there, start from the point shown in the photo at top and, rather than crossing the Donji most into the old town, turn left and walk three kilometers north. Once there you might see people smearing themselves with mud from the swampy ground near the beach, which is reputed to have healing properties. If nothing else, it should lift one’s spirits to sit comfortably on the sand enjoying the warm sun while the other people provide the entertainment by smearing mud all over themselves.

Left: St. Aselus's church, built in the 18th century on the site of Nin's former cathedral. Right: Branimir, Duke of the Croats, lived in Nin and ruled from 879 until his death in 892.
Copyright Don Douglas