Island of Brač Museum, Škrip
© Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

Behold Brač, an island paradise slash living museum

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Written by
Lara Rasin
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The island of Brač is touted for its sprawling beaches, 

Croatia, Hvar island, Bol. Panoramic aerial view at the Zlatni Rat. Beach and sea from air. Famous place in Croatia. Summer seascape from drone. Travel - image
© Ievgenii Biletskyi

wonderful white stone (which has been used to construct monumental buildings such as Diocletian's palace in Split),

Cathedral of Saint Domnius, Catholic cathedral in Split, Croatia.
© Anton Ivanov

and - maybe most of all - its boundless cultural wealth.

Island of Brač Museum, Škrip
© Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

The entire island of Brač could double as a living museum, being home to all sorts of treasures; from a unique 16th-century monastery to well-preserved artefacts spanning walks of life across millennia. We're bringing you the best of Brač's heritage (photos and video included!) - which is fabulously presented to all who visit the island thanks to the local centre for culture.

Pustinja Blaca ('Blaca Desert')

Pustinja Blaca is a monastery that was established in the 16th century by hermit Glagolitic priests. The Glagolitic script dates back to the 9th century - and is especially unique because Croatians were given permission by the Catholic church to use it in local churches (the first case of a people given such allowance to use anything non-Latin in the Catholic church).

pustinja, blaca
© Tomislav Marić

These Glagolitic priests came to the island fleeing from Ottoman attacks on the then-republic of Poljica, which was located at the foot of Mount Mosor near the city of Omiš. They first established a refuge on Brač carved out of stone, in a cave. The refuge soon expanded to include a church, residential buildings and a farm - all right in and on the cliff face. 

pustinja, blaca
© Tomislav Marić

The landscape was, and still is, wild and arid, but the priests managed to cultivate sprawling vineyards and olive groves around their estate and survive off of them for four centuries. Over the years, their original refuge continued to expand to include a library and a printing shop and the priests acquired merchant ships as well.

Today, the site is a museum which includes precious scientific, artistic, and historical inventory and documents - such as those of Father Nikola Miličević (1887-1963), the final hermit of Blaca and an avid astronomer.

pustinja, blaca
© Tomislav Marić

Blaca can be reached exclusively by foot, across paths paved over the centuries by the priests' mules and horses.

pustinja, blaca
© Tomislav Marić

A few arrival options visitors have are 1) driving in from Nerežišće to Dragovoda and walking for 30 minutes and 2) taking a boat trip from Bol to the Blaca valley and, also, walking for 30 minutes. In either case, the walk is 2.5km long and - and it's steep. Visitors are advised to dress accordingly and bring snacks and lots of water since the museum doesn't include food and drink services. 

Delve further into this fascinating site - and stir up some serious wanderlust - with a video showcasing the museum's story.

Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

Brač's history-rich regional museum is, fittingly, located on the site of the oldest settlement on the island - Škrip which was home to an Illyrian town in 1400 B.C. 

Island of Brač Museum, Škrip
© Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

Today, the Island of Brač Museum pays homage to the area's, and entire island's, rich history. It features ruins from the ancient Illyrian period.

Island of Brač Museum, Škrip
© Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

The name of the area itself, Škrip, originates from the Latin scrupus, meaning large sharp stones found in Roman quarries. During the Roman era, the region housed a Roman mausoleum and community, of which ruins, monuments and sculptures remain.

Island of Brač Museum, Škrip
© Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

The rich stone collection also consists of findings from late Antiquity and early Medieval times through modern history.

Island of Brač Museum, Škrip
© Island of Brač Museum, Škrip

The museum houses everyday artefacts from the agricultural and stone masonry traditions prevalent on the island, too. In its 16th Radojković tower, you'll also find a collection dedicated to the island's anti-fascist movement during WWII.

The Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery, Bol

Named for modern art sculptor Branislav Dešković (1883–1939, born on Brač, this fine arts gallery hosts works by a bevy of big names. On its ground floor, you'll find pieces by Branislav Dešković himself, along with Ivan Meštović, Ivan Rendić, Antun Augustinčić, and others. Continuing the permanent exhibition on the first and second floors are works by Raoul Goldoni, Ljubo Ivančić, Emanuel Vidović and more. The museum's temporary exhibitions often feature artists originally from Brač.

Many of the displayed works draw off of the themes of the Adriatic, the Mediterranean, the sea, and Brač itself. The spirit of the museum is reflected in a current virtual exhibition held by the Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery and its parent organisation, Brač's centre for culture. The works are focused on depicting beautiful Brač. They span the 20th century and feature artists including Ignjata Joba, Ljube Ivančića, Jerolima Miše, Slavka Šohaja, Šime Perića, and others.

Find a selection of wonderful works from the online Brački krajolik ('Brač landscape') exhibition below. Imagine the mingling aromas of salty air, wildflowers, and pine trees as you embark on a virtual walk through the island.

© Ignjat Job via Brač's centre for culture and the Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery
Masline ('Olive Trees'), 1935, oil, 45x60 cm© Ignjat Job via Brač's centre for culture and the Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery
Pučišća, oil, 53,5x47 cm
Pučišća, oil, 53,5x47 cm© Karlo Mijić via Brač's centre for culture and the Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery
© Ljudevit Šestić via Brač's centre for culture and the Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery
Jelina kuća u Sumartinu ('Jela's house in Sumartin), oil, 24,5x36,5 cm© Ljudevit Šestić via Brač's centre for culture and the Branislav Dešković Fine Arts Gallery

As soon as it's safe to travel - you know where to find some of the best treasures of the beautiful island of Brač.

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