Legends always have some mystical touch because legends are stories where history meets fantasy. Stories about a person or an event whether fabricated or enhanced by imagination are not aspiring to be completely true but some of our stories are easily verifiable and you may retell them to your friends. We hope that these legends will motivate you to go visit places where they have supposedly occurred.
LEGEND OF ST BLAISE (SVETI VLAHO)
When Dubrovnik started to prosper, the greedy Venetian officials preyed on its independence. In 971 Venetian ships sneaked in and anchored at Lokrum island and the Gruž harbour pretending to look for provisions. St Blaise appeared to a priest named Stojko in his dreams and revealed their true intentions – attack on the city. He immediately notified the Senate and city’s defences were quickly organized. St Blaise has been the city’s patron saint ever since and his statues are placed all over Dubrovnik.
ULYSSES ON MLJET
Ulysses, the legendary cunning Greek traveller, allegedly stayed on Mljet. A legend has it that he was shipwrecked and cast ashore on Mljet, the home of the nymph Calypso. She bewitched him to fall in love with her and he thus stayed on the island for seven years. Almighty Zeus eventually intervened and Ullyses was free to go his beloved Penelope. Beware of modern Calypsos and fall in love only with the island itself!
RICHARD THE LIONHEART ON LOKRUM
English king Richard the Lionheart learned the hard way the dangers of sirocco gales. A legend has it that in 1191 on his way home from Third Crusade he was caught in a tempest. The king vowed to the Virgin Mary that if he survived he would build a church in her honour. He was cast ashore on Lokrum island and instead of building a church on it he arranged the extension of the Dubrovnik’s Cathedral. Since then the Benedictines have celebrated mass on Candlemas Day, one day prior to St Blaise’s feast day.
THE BENEDICTINE CURSE
This eerie legend is linked with the island of Lokrum. The Ragusan Senate sold the island at the end of the 18th century and the Benedictines had to be evicted from their monastery. On their last night of the stay the monks went on a spooky procession; with candles turned upside down they circled three times around the island chanting the curse: Whoever claims Lokrum for his pleasure, shall be damned! The curse was very efficient; we will mention famous unlucky owners of the island such as Maximilian I of Mexico, executed after dethroning, and archduke Franz Ferdinand. The latter one was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, the event triggered WWI which eventually led to the fall of the Habsburg Empire. Better be safe than sorry – avoid real estate deals here!
Text is taken from Dubrovnik – The Riviera and islands by J. Žilić, D. Pek and F.Kozina