Mljet National Park: Monastery of Sv. Marija
Historic Benedictine Monastic Settlement (13th Century) and walks
In the heart of the Mljet National Park on a small island near the southern shore of the Veliko Jezero is the monastery of Sv. Marija (St Mary). This site was established as the home of Italian Benedictines in the early 13th Century by the then ruler of Mljet, a Bosnian Prince (Prince Desa) and remained a centre of Benedictine power after the island passed into the control of near-by Dubrovnik in the 14th Century and right up until the 19th Century when the settlement was disbanded by Napoleon.
The buildings were later used as offices by various Austro-Hungarian civil servants (including their forest service) and were returned to the church in 1919. They were only eventually passed to the National Park in 1998 and seem now to have undergone extensive renovations. During our visit much of the monastic cloister was unaccessible due to ongoing archaeological works and restorations.
There is a small museum, and it is possible to visit the Monastic chapel and some of the smaller ancillary buildings. There is also a nice walk that circles the island and a path that meanders past two smaller chapels before reaching a view point at the summit of the island’s small hill.
By the ferry dock there is a restaurant and separate cafe which both do brisk business with people coming off or waiting for the National Park ferries. There are a number of small and secluded bays around the island where you can swim in the warm and brackish waters of the Veliko Jezero.
By ferry (in the cost of your National Park entrance fee)
Mljet National Park: on the southern side of Veliko Jezero.
Sunday, 10 February 2013