The walk along the route of Our Lady of Sinj is a truly unique experience. The route of Our Lady of Sinj is a pilgrimage trail, used for thousands of years from several directions, to walk towards the largest Marian shrine in southern Croatia.
Every year in the nights between August 8-15, just before the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, thousands of pilgrims, especially young ones, start their traditional walk towards Sinj, while the main religious ceremony takes place on August 15. Pilgrims arrive from several directions, mostly from the south from Solin and from the north from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the central pilgrimage site, the Marian shrine in Sinj, there is a painting of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj. Painted on canvas, it is 58 cm long and 44 cm wide. The painting does not depict the entire figure of the Madonna, only her bust coming out of the dark background. It is well preserved even though it had been folded in several places. These folds were most probably created by the monks who carried it in their bag while they were fleeing from Rama in 1687 when Christians had to leave their homes due to an imminent enemy threat. Monks carried the painting from Rama to Sinj then, later on, to Split through Dugopolje and Klis where they temporarily found refuge in the old Benedictine abbey on Sustjepan in 1688. In 1691, monks finally brought the painting to the church in Sinj and placed in on the altar. This marks the beginning of the history of pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sinj.
Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia issues warnings for pilgrims every year, urging them to use the marked road routes and to walk in lines or groups on the left edge of the curb. Drivers are also reminded on certain dates to be careful and to follow instructions and orders given by the traffic police. In spite of good traffic regulations during the pilgrimage periods, unfortunately, accidents were known to happen. Because of that, pilgrims can use the traditional walking and horse routes as well as the abandoned “Rera“ railroad route, not only during the annual celebrations but throughout the year.
Walking along the marked trail is a unique experience, which makes you feel at one with nature.
Most of the trail is isolated from the traffic jams and takes you through picturesque areas filled with historical heritage. Forts, medieval tombstones, old settlements, museums, sacral objects, remains of old paths and bridges, lookouts and cafes all represent resting places and checkpoints where you can get a stamp imprinted on the last pages of this guidebook as a memory of this unforgettable journey you’ve undertaken with the strength of your muscles and your spirit.
The “Our lady of Sinj Route” project has been approved within the scope of the IPA Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina program and its development commenced on April 9th, 2013. The project development lasted a total of 24 months and it was implemented by partners from the Croatian and Bosnian side: the cities Sinj and Solin and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service station Split along with municipalities Prozor Rama, Tomislavgrad and Livno. Implementation of the project was also helped by the Sinj Tourist Board, Franciscan monastery, Our Lady of Sinj, Franciscan monastery Rama-Šćit, Herzeg-Bosnia Canton Tourist Board and the Mountaineering Association Kamešnica, Livno.
Photography: Ante Gašpar, Ilija Veselica, TZG Sinj