The natural beauty of the Krka River has always attracted man to its banks. The colour of its water, the roughness and tameness of its banks, the rich and poor vegetation, the grey and bright atmosphere, the rock and soil are contrasts that both soothe and ennoble the soul.
The magical Krka, blazing its path from its springs to its mouth, has formed the cascades, and broadened in places not bounded by rock to form lakes. The lake-like sections of the River's course are places of peace and quiet, as though created for the spiritual connection of man and God. It is therefore no surprise that the Franciscans built the monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac on Visovac Island, right in the middle of Visovac Lake. The monastery, church, Visovac Island and Visovac Lake are a natural, cultural, historical and spiritual entity. At another tame expansion of the Krka River, called Carigradska draga, is one of the most important spiritual centres of the Dalmatian Orthodox Eparchy, the monastery of the Holy Archangel.
Visovac Island is situated in the middle of Visovac Lake. The Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy, and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac, have stood here since 1445. With their magnificent grounds, they form a unique entity.
Visovac Island is among the most important natural and cultural values of the Republic of Croatia. Since 1445, this has been the site of the Franciscan monastery of Our Lady of Mercy, and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac. With their magnificent grounds and surrounded by Visovac Lake, this forms a unique entity. During its stormy history, Visovac was and has remained an island of peace and prayer, and the Franciscan monastery is a fortress of spirituality and faith, and one of the key foundation stones of the survival of the Croats and the preservation of the Croatian national identity.
The monastery possesses a significant archaeological collection, a collection of historical church linens and dishes, and a rich library with many valuable books and incunabula.
The centre of worship for the Mother of God at Visovac is the painting of the Virgin. According to the legend, the Franciscans brought the painting with them when they were forced to flee Bosnia during the Turkish invasions, and they found new shelter at Visovac. Due to the centuries of worship of Our Lady, the island of Visovac is also called Our Lady’s Island.
Situated at the broad, calm part of the Krka River called Carigradska draga, it was erected on the foundation of an older, hermit monastery, and was first mentioned in the written records in 1402, as the endowment of Jelena Šubić.
The Monastery of the Holy Archangel is situated in Carigradska draga, in the middle of the Krka River canyon, and this part of the River was named Aranđelovac, after the monastery.
It was erected on the foundations of an older, hermit monastery, and is one of the most important spiritual centres of the Orthodox Dalmatian eparchy that is seated in Šibenik. A church stands next to the monastery and has the shape of a Byzantine building with a dome. The bell tower was built in the Romanesque style. Below the church there are ancient Roman catacombs, which are open to visitors.
The monastery houses a large and wealthy library with many historical manuscripts, incunabula and rare books.