The Church of St. Andrija the Apostle
The church of St. Andrija the Apostle is the parish church of Bakar, and it has acquired its present shape during the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th century since it was built at the location of an old church. It was sanctified on 28th August, 1853. This monumental building is the oldest and largest church in Bakar. It takes the third place in its size in the entire Croatia, only the cathedrals of Zagreb and Đakovo are larger. Therefore it may be easily concluded that it was the most important sacral architectural achievement in the mid-19th century in the entire national area. The oldest church in this location was built in 1130 or 1167, in any case in the 12th century. It was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. After it was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1323, it was thereafter repaired, and it changed the church and town’s patron to that of St. Andrija (St. Andrew). At the beginning of the 18th century, more precisely in 1708 and 1718, left and right aisles of the church were added, and in 1710 the bell tower was built, which is still in place today. In the beginning of the 18th century, according to the legend, a strong earthquake hit Bakar and destroyed the church, but the bell tower remained untouched. The reconstruction of the church took place twenty years later. What makes this church special is a crypt that is located below the sanctuary with two corridors and about 80 graves in which more eminent citizens were buried, along with the church constructor, bishop Vjenceslav Šoić. During the Turkish invasion many bishops stayed in Bakar, therefore the church preserved the status of co-cathedral which seizes in its size, architecture, and artwork.
The Church of Mother of God of the Port
On the north-east side of the town of Bakar, outside the old medieval city centre, near the sea, where once used to be a port, the Church of Mother of God of the Port is situated. It can be concluded from its name that mostly sailors and others who were linked to navigation in other ways visited the church. This church was, therefore, a votive shrine for sailors from these regions.
The first and the oldest inscription about this church derives from one Glagolitic document dating from 1445, suggesting that the church had been founded earlier in the past. Through the history, the church was restored, upgraded, and expanded several times. In 1641 the famous Croatian noblemen, the Zrinski family, who governed the town of Bakar during that time, restored the church. Twenty years later, after the renewal of the church, Bishop Ivan Smoljanović native of Bakar along with other eminent villagers, prolonged and enlarged the church which stands the same today. It is interesting to note that the area around the Church of Mother of God of the Port used to serve as the central county cemetery, which may be seen from many gravestones built into the interior walls of the church, from which many have an artistic value.
Also, there is a legend related to the period of Turkish invasions in this area. According to the legend, one night the Turks silently approached the church that was situated outside the town’s walls and stole a gold-plated silver crown from the sculpture of Mother of God. When they took off running with the stolen crown, a miracle happened. Some kind of supernatural force stopped them and until they returned the crown, they could not move any further. Eventually, they left the crown in a nearby bush and then ran off. Sometime later, the people of Bakar found the crown and returned it to the church where it belonged.
St. Margaret’s Church
On the south side of the town, opposite of the Church of Mother of God of the Port, stands the St. Margaret’s Church, the patroness of Bakar. The Church of St. Margaret as it stands today was built in 1658 with the support of a remarkable governor Petar Zrinski. However, about two hundred years earlier in 1450, Martin Frankopan ordered to build a chapel in St. Margaret’s honour, and the governor Petar Zrinski transformed the chapel into today’s church. The most famous and the most valuable piece of art in this church is a canvas presenting St. Margaret, and it is the most known art work of the Slovenian painter Valentin Metzinger.
The Church of St. Križ (St. Cross)
The Church of St. Cross is situated in the heart of the old city centre sheltered from a plain site. A small church, not much larger than the surrounding houses, may go unnoticed on a first site, yet the Church of St. Cross has been here since 1764. The church has maintained its authentic medieval appearance, offering a mystic and spiritual intimacy of the simple but lavish interior.
You can feel a spirit of the old times, where the altar has remained in the same place as before, and where a priest performs the mass with his back turned to worshippers. A valuable gothic crucifix is placed on the altar, emphasizing the atmosphere of immersion deep into the ancient times. You will certainly not remain indifferent.