A story of Orašac - history, tradition and hospitality

Orasac Dubrovnik
Gospa od Orašca Sanctuary
Gospa od Orašca - original painting
Photographs: private source

Story about Orašac is story about its people, Croatian tradition and peaceful life on the coast of Adriatic that haven't changed much through the history. It is a story of who we really are, where we belong and where we are going to.

On many photos and postcards from Croatian coast and its islands, besides the famous sights a well trained eye can also see drystone walls. These are a symbol of existence and hardness of life that habitants of this area have gone through while living here for ages. This is something that does not get mentioned often in boring catalogues filled with facts and numbers about places you visit. After reading these, you end up not really knowing the destination you read about, and not getting the idea of all the warmth and atmosphere of this beautiful country.
Drystone walls are endless witnesses of stone cutting, its separation from solid rock, its collection, assembling and construction for preserving fertile soil for survival, and not for artistic purposes.

On the slopes around Orašac these walls have somehow been tamed. This tells you that people here had been living in better prosperity and had a chance to direct their strength not only to stone harvesting but also to more prosperous interests. It used to be a place of many seamen and captains, land owners and artists as well as an escape for aristocracy from the enclosed walls of City of Dubrovnik.


View of Orašac View of Orašac

Blessed by many fresh springs, fertile soil and clean air, people of Orašac successfully grew oranges, grapes, olives, peaches, cherries and vegetables. Up to the present days they have been enjoying these fruits of the Adriatic climate.

Another bless, not less important, has been the bless of Our Lady of Orašac or Lady of Sorrow, presented by an old painting that by the legend was washed out by sea after ferocious storm close to a stream estuary, called "Dobra voda" or Good water. On a same stream many years later the church of Our Lady of Orašac was built. It is the only sanctuary in Dubrovnik - Neretva County, feasted July 2nd every year. The old painting is still being kept in the Church and can be visited. It went through many calamaties : at one occasion it was stolen and miraculously recovered. It also survived the fire and it was badly damaged. It also survived the Croatian war for independence remaining untouched. Unfortunately some others were not so lucky.



View of OrašacView of Orašac


What is Orašac, what does it mean and why it is so hard to pronounce?


Again the name tells you a lot about people of this country. Like Hrvatska, or Croatia, is our homeland, Orašac in Croatian pronunciation can mislead you to something harsh and sharp. This happens often with Croatian language, which is harder to pronounce than other Slavic languages. This is a result of many centuries’ battles for existence of hard work on this bitter landscape or against our enemies.

Orašac means Walnut Valley, Noyer valée, Walnuss-Tal or most symphonic Valle del noce. A legend says that people of Orašac where growing walnuts until the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic, when a fleet of fifteen ships was built and all walnuts were sawed for their construction.

Valle del noce or Orašac is a peaceful cohesion of crystal clear Adriatic sea, fruitful slopes of vineyards and orange fields, simplicity, honesty and hospitality of its people, blessed by culture, tradition and love for our homeland.


The beach of Orašac


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