Our long postponed hike to Blaca was worth a thousand times the effort – actually a lovely 45 minute walk. This amazing enclave, nestled between the sea and the sky on the hillside of a hidden ravine, was once a refuge for Glagoltic monks fleeing the Turks on the mainland in the mid 16th century. Occupied for over 400 years until the early 1960s, Blaca became the thriving heart of culture, agriculture and commerce on Brac. Today you can still see the original furnishings, living quarters, kitchen with large hearth, church & out buildings.
Known for their learning, the monastery was a respected center of education, animal husbandry, agriculture, music and astronomy. Today you can still see the observatory, original telescope, ancient weapons, antique clocks, library and music room with its original piano and gramophone. The library houses over 8,000 original texts in ancient slavic Cyrillic and roman script as well as more modern scientific texts. The library also houses a well preserved printing press where the monks printed one book annually, setting the type with individual lead letters.
The monks also produced olive oil, honey and wine in large quantities as well as herding sheep and goats. They even had a small fleet of ships to carry their goods to the rest of the Venetian empire. You can see the grape press, cisterns and olive presses still today.
When we returned home, we had dinner with an old friend, who has lived on Brac his whole life and has a wealth of stories and legends. He told us perhaps the most interesting stories of Blaca Monastery, which shed some light on the almost mystical feeling we got from being there. Apparently Blaca is located at the crossroads of European ley lines connecting Stone Henge and the Pyramids. According to the geomancers, this creates an area of neutral energy, which intensifies emotion and spiritual states.
Another well kept secret is that there are actually 5 other hermitages between Blaca and Bol on the slopes above Mrvica and below Vidova Gora, the highest peak on the islands. It is said the first monks came to what is known as the “Dragon’s Cave” in the mid-15th century. Dragon’s Cave takes its name from the Dragon carved into the wall. Today you can see the ruins and carved facades of all 5 of these hermitages. Blaca was actually the last one built but is the best preserved today