Egypt isn’t the only place home to mummies. Croatia has them too right in the Istrian Town of Vodnjan. The Croatian mummies of Vodnjan rest inside the town’s parish church of St. Blaise (Crkva Sv. Vlaho), a well-known pilgrimage site, attracting some 15,000 worshipers each year.
The church is a story itself. It was financed by the townspeople and cost a hefty 13,000 gold coins. In order to get the church built, locals put aside 10% of their salary and 10% of their wine and olive oil. St. Blaise took around 40 years to complete with construction starting in 1760 and ending in 1800. Today, the church stands as the largest in Istria and certainly one of the most magnificent, all thanks to the dedication of the local townspeople.
Within its walls, the church houses 370 relics that belonged to 250 different saints. The relics include a fragment of the Holy Virgin’s veil, a particle of Jesus’ cross, thorns from Jesus’ crown and of course, Croatian mummies–remains and body parts of saints that have been preserved. The preserved remains come from St. Sebastian, St. Barbara, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Leon Bembo, St. Giovanni Olini and St. Nicolosa Bursa and according to legend their bodies are said to have magical powers.
The church is also the home to the Collection of Sacral Art, the largest in Croatia. It contains over 730 exhibits dating back to the year 400 until the 19th century. The collection features stone reliefs, 15 sculptures and 15 paintings on canvas and wood, jewelry and various books and manuscripts.
St. Blaise is open to visitors in March and June from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, and on Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. From May to September, working hours are between 9:30 a.m and 1:00 p.m and 2:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. On Sundays, the Church is open between noon and 6:30 p.m.
Visits between October and December are available only through scheduled meeting.
The price of visiting Croatian mummies is 50 HRK / 6.75 €, while children up to 14 years of age have 50% discount. A museum can be accessed as well, and is paid separately (prices are identical). Both localities can be accessed for 75 HRK / 10 € (adults) or 25 HRK/ 3.20 € (children).