Sanctuary Sunday in Cres Town: A Hidden Discovery

Since I published a post a few days ago about our earlier adventures in Zapuntel on the island of Molat in June, I was reluctant to send out another so soon, but I was just so excited about something I discovered on the island of Cres this Wednesday morning that I decided to go for it.

Mike and I spent our last night on board our September sailing journey to the Kvarner area on the little harbor front in Cres town. Cres is a beautiful island which I will describe in more detail in a post coming later because of its wild natural areas, sweet romantic old town and its incredible history. But I’ll be short and sweet today, I promise.

As we walked around Cres town after spending Wednesday night there, I walked by several churches all within the same vicinity. Five of them were just a short walk from one another: there was the 14th century Franciscan monastery, the 15th century St. Mary of the Snow inside the town walls, a tiny chapel right outside the town walls next to a restaurant and a dilapidated larger one right outside of the old town area.  As I walked a little further I came to a really tiny fifth one that I almost passed by because it looked abandoned and a little run down. But I took a picture of the outside of it as it was right next to a neighborhood and a cute little vegetable garden.

The small chapel sat next to a neighborhood right outside the old town of Cres.

Something made me want to go peek inside the tiny circular window on the church door even though the chapel looked pretty run down. Maybe I’m just nosy. I like to call it curious.

Anyway I looked inside and I saw a crucifix and an altar and what looked like a bunch of gray overturned chairs. It was dark so I couldn’t focus much, and it looked really blurry.

I then put my iPhone up to the little hole of a window and took a bunch more snapshots of the inside and hurried off  to catch up with Mike, who always seems to be race-walking as I wander slowly through the narrow alleyways and streets of these ancient towns.

When I caught up with him in front of the Franciscan monastery, I said, “You should see all the junk they have stacked up in that tiny chapel,” and I went to pull up the pictures I had taken. And I did a double take. Here’s what I found:

The tiny Chiesa de San Magdalena in Cres is filled with Roman amphorae from the 1st century.

I was floored. It was about a hundred or so ancient Roman amphorae (vessels used for holding wine and olive oil) covered in dust laying on the floor of the chapel. Some had numbers on them like they had been catalogued for later placement in a museum or something. At least I hope that’s where they would go. Can you imagine? A 15th century chapel filled with Roman artifacts.

And that is Croatia in a nutshell, folks. You just never know what you are going to find. It could be antiquities from the Roman days sitting in an old chapel or it could be the 2000 year-old Roman well-preserved boat that was recently dug up off the harbor of Poreč, another beautiful coastal town in Istria. Once we drove to Pomer, the small town next to ours, and found a mosaic floor from a Roman villa in a glass case displayed next to the bus stop.  Oh, and there is an ancient Roman quarry that is a ten-minute walk from our apartment where the white stone was used to build not only the Roman arena in the Pula city center, but foundations of the city of Venice.

A bus stop in Pomer has an amazing mosaic displayed nearby.
Mosaics from a Roman villa displayed at a bus stop in the town of Pomer, near the villa they were found.
This Roman quarry is a ten-minute walk from our apartment in Pješćana Uvala.

Somehow it felt different stumbling upon the artifacts locked away in that chapel though. Like they weren’t really meant to be seen. Hidden away. I felt like I had made a discovery. I really did. Imagine how the people felt who had really discovered them in some shipwreck off the island of Cres. Maybe I’m just easily impressed. Either way I thought you should see it.

Happy Sunday and love to all.

8 thoughts on “Sanctuary Sunday in Cres Town: A Hidden Discovery

  1. That you find life, in all its vagaries, always amazes me, but more importantly gives me hope for carrying on. From a random cat on cobblestones to Roman artifacts to mind-bending mosaics – all make me hopeful that we will survive this crazy mixed-up world. Thanks! 💗

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