The Mystery of Rajčica
With Croatia’s growing popularity as a hit travel destination, cities such as Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Split and Hvar are enjoying growing numbers of visitors every year. Some guests arrive on cruise ships or drive to Croatia on their own, while most fly in from various countries all over the world. One thing many of these visitors have in common is that they have heard of certain places and things in Croatia that everyone visits and are an absolute must –see! Places such as the Old Town of Dubrovnik or Diocletian’s Palace in Split are visited by millions of guests every year. In fact, if one of your friends just returned from a trip to Croatia, at least one of these destinations was surely visited.
However, this blog is not going to be about one of those popular places or attractions. We are going to pay some much deserved attention to a special place that is so far ‘off the beaten path’ than even most locals have not been there and many have not even heard of it. Only exceptionally curious travelers willing to stray from the typical Croatian holiday itinerary will get to see what is nestled in the small clearing of a valley between two villages, deep in the Dalmatian hinterland.
The Rajčica water wells are one of the newest undiscovered gems of Croatia’s cultural heritage. One of the biggest reasons they have remained hidden from wander-lusting eyes for so long is because of their hard-to-reach location, which has just recently gotten a little easier with the construction of new roads and development of hiking paths in the area.
The narrow path leading to where the wells are located is marked only by a small sign off the side of the road, easily missed if you do not know exactly where you are going. After parking along the dirt road, a short hike downhill helped build our anticipation for when we would finally catch sight of the mysterious Rajčica wells. Our curiosity only grew as we neared our destination and the sound of metal bells rang louder. Once we reached the clearing, we were met with a most beautiful surprise – a dozen horses playing in the water and grazing in the valley.
Very little is officially known about the 10 natural wells, encompassed by carefully layered stones. Were the wells constructed along a busy route to the Adriatic as a spot to rest horses and quench their thirst as our companions were doing that very day? Or were they constructed to be used by locals as baths, as the stone steps leading in and out of each well might suggest? We do not know the answers to these questions as the wells have yet to be studied properly, partly due to their hidden location but also due to the mysticism that surrounds them.
Legends about the Rajčica water wells have been passed down through generations by local villagers. According to these legends, the wells have been around long before the Ancient Romans started roaming the land we now know as the Dalmatian province of Croatia. Also, according to legend, the wells have never gone dry. Regardless of what these legends and local villagers might say, there is no denying that the wells are quite intriguing and many people are looking forward to finding out the true origins and history of the Rajčica water wells.
While we wait for the wells and their history to be thoroughly investigated, we will make sure they remain preserved, protected and that their story gets told by those of us willing to stray from the typical route and explore lesser known Croatia destinations!