Posted by: viewfromtheriva | June 22, 2014

An amazing discovery inside Sv. Frane Church!

Church_Sv_Frane_Split photo

I always enjoy taking friends to see Sv. Frane Church and it’s magical, open-air, 14thC Romanesque courtyard hidden inside.  For the past month or so the steeple above the clock tower has been undergoing repair.  A few weeks back, as I took some friends from Seattle through the side door leading to the courtyard (it’s to the left of the main entrance door), I saw what looked like some ancient iron relic lying on its side on the floor in the hallway.  At closer inspection it was clearly the church’s weather vane!

Sv. Frane's weathervane , waiting to be repaired?

Sv. Frane’s ancient iron weather vane , waiting to be repaired or thrown away?! Notice the badly corroded and broken segment on the far right.

The weather vane before time and the weather caused it to be removed

The weather vane before time and the elements  caused it to be removed

It was really weird to see this relic looking like some cast off waiting to be chucked into the dumpster!  Worse, anyone realizing what it was could have easily walked off with it!

weather vane vertical

Where it was attached to the steeple was severely corroded–probably from centuries of water damage eating away the iron.  Hopefully it will be repaired and when the work is done to the actual steeple,  re-attached.

What an amazing find!

If you haven’t been to Sv. Frane church, you really should.  It’s one of the most important in Split and all Croatia, and easy to find–right at the end of the city’s waterfront Riva.

Stately, but rather plain, it was built in the 13thC on the foundations on a 5thC Christian church and today is the resting place of some of the city’s most illustrious citizens:  Marko Marulić (1450 -1524),considered the father of Croatian literature, as well as composer Ivan Lukačić (1587 -1648) and other luminaries.  Marulic’s sarcaphogus is located in the courtyard inside the church with a life size sculpture of Marulic in repose by Croatia’s most celebrated artist, Ivan Mestrovic.

The open-air, Romanesque monastery courtyard inside the church

The open-air, Romanesque monastery courtyard inside the church

What’s especially fascinating about the courtyard is what’s embedded to the walls–amazing fragments of some of the earliest Christian artworks in the world–some as far back as the 4thC!   It’s here where the Marulic  sarcaphogus is, as well as some turn of the century photos and noble family coats of arms from Venetian times.





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