The Ancient Village of Bakar, Croatia
Did you know that Bakar was one of the first cities in Croatia to have electricity?
It is fitting that this small city located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County was built upon the treasures and natural resources that could be extracted from the land. To this day this enchanting village still has so much to uncover with numerous archaeological excavations and historical research projects always taking place; wherever you turn a new piece of the past unveils itself. The fascinating facts of Bakar are enough to make you want to come and discover how such a quaint city took part in defending themselves in monumental battles, founding modern inventions, and the fabrication of fantastic authentic products. Did you know that Bakar was one of the first cities in Croatia to have electricity? or that one of the oldest mare graphic stations in the Mediterranean is located in Bakar? To add to its uniqueness the city of Bakar is located in a picturesque peninsula along the Bakar Bay which is 4.5 km long and 600-700 m wide penetrating into the Adriatic Sea at depths of up to 40 meters.
The main promenade, like most coastal villages, is dotted by romantic ancient stone buildings. Numerous historical sites adorn the old city center of Bakar along with the neighboring settlements of the Bakar region. A few of them include the bell tower and stunning Church of St. Andrews. The church was originally built in the 12th century however, it has endured numerous restoration and renovation projects as various earthquakes and battles lead to its destruction. St. Andrews still proudly holds its title as Croatia’s third largest church. Hotel Jadran is also an attractive place to visit and stay. The hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Croatia, as it originally opened in 1905. Its romantic atmosphere and beautiful setting along the newly renovated coastal city square adds to its charm and warmth. The medieval fortress of Frankopan and Zrinski Castle dating back to the 16th century not only holds numerous secrets about the tumultuous history of Bakar but add to the architectural beauty of the city. One of the most mysterious buildings in Bakar is the peculiar Turkish House designed in ancient Ottoman fashion most likely in the 14th century. The owner and architect to this day remain unknown however, numerous tales believed by the people of Bakar are left yours to uncover. On the outskirts of the city lie ‘The Dry Stone Walls’. The walls were originally constructed by the women of Bakar whose husbands were out to sea for months on end. The walls are also a wondrous sight to see as they may quite possibly be on one of the most stunning vineyards of Croatia. Perching out on the side of the cliffs on the eastern side of Bakar Bay the “Belina” grape vines are used for the production of Bakar’s famous sparkling wine, Bakarska Vodica.
Contrary to popular belief Bakar does not only include the Bakar Bay, the Bakar region stretches out to the top of the Risnjak Mountain at 1528 meters above sea level. National Park Risnjak is one of Croatia’s nine national parks spanning across 63 kilometers of mountainous terrain providing visitors with unforgettable views and excellent hiking and biking paths through endless forested valleys.
The region of Bakar includes the settlements of Bakar, Hreljin, Krasica, Kukuljanovo, Plosna, Ponivke, Srkljevo, Praputnjak and Zlobin. Worth visiting are Hreljin Castle and the remains of an ancient settlement dating back to the 13th century when Hreljin was once an important residential, commercial and defensive center of the Bakar region. Situated 321 meters above sea level the lookout point is breathtaking. St. George’s church bell tower and the remains of the church of the Holy Virgin Mary are truly worth the hike.
We would highly recommend visiting Bakar in the summer months when the Margaret’s Summer Days commence. The highlight of the summer occurs on the 13th of July, on Saint Margaret’s day, the patron saint of Bakar, when the entertaining reenactment of a historical battle occurs on the Bay of Bakar followed by concerts and a mesmerizing fireworks show. Be sure to check out all the local specialties and souvenirs including the Bakar Biskot biscuit.
Although, if you blink you might miss it, the town and its surroundings are truly worth the visit; Bakar is enchanting and captivating at the same time. Experience it for yourself!