Skip to the main content

Original scientific paper

Island of Pag's Sacred Space. Contribution to Interpretation

Goran Pavel Šantek orcid id ; University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, 10000 Zagreb, Ivana Lucica 3, Croatia

Full text: croatian pdf 4.018 Kb

page 47-77

downloads: 1.531



This article is a continuation of the research and analyses on pre-Christian sacred space on the Island of Pag, which the two authors, Vitomir Belaj and Goran Pavel Šantek have published in the scientific journal Studia ethnologica Croatica, Volume 18 from 2006. The article starts with the assumption that the people in pre-industrial times observed the world holistically: as a unified whole composed of different and mutually connected segments. For pre-industrial man everything in the world which was surrounding him was interconnected and intertwined, and alongside nature and people, the gods and supernatural forces were also part of the system. Therefore it should not surprise us, that the pragmatic, pre-industrial man had found ways to ‘express’ his ideas on forces, phenomena and/or creatures governing the world, in his own landscape, which was the most important for his survival, in the same time carefully preserving the structural relations between different godly creatures, if he preserved the beliefs of the Slavs.
The article also presents the development of scientific findings on religiosity of proto-Slavs on the basis of the research of Jan Peisker, Vjačeslav Vsevolodovič Ivanov, Vladimir Nikolajevič Toporov, Radoslav Katičić, Vitomir Belaj and Andrej Pleterski. The research conducted on the Island of Pag pointed to the concluded that even though Peisker’s Zoroastrian interpretation of Slavic pre-Christian sacral sites was wrong, we should not reject all of his insights and the two-part structure he discovered. Namely, Ivo Pilar emphasized two points which were in accordance with Peisker’s theory: St. George and St. Vid which were discovered next to St. Mary as constitutive parts of a larger, three-part structure of Slavic pre-Christian sacred spaces, which were discovered and structurally analyzed by Andrej Pleterski and elaborated on the examples form Croatian regions by Vitomir Belaj. The background of all this research is the central Slavic myth on the divine battle between Perun/Thunder God and Veles/Snake, as reconstructed by Ivanov and Toporov through structuralist methods, and further elaborated by Radoslav Katičić, specifically regarding Southern Slavs and by Vitomir Belaj, from ethnological standpoint.
Numerous examples prove the correlation between the pagan sacral site from Pag and its model as presented by Radoslav Katičić and between the three-part structure of pre-Christian Slavic sacred space discovered by Andrej Pleterski. The specific value of the research on Pag was the discovery that the highest point of this structure, Thunder God’s place, the summit of St. Vid, served as solar observatory and hence the knowledge obtained in this way also included in the formation of the sacral structure, i.e., in cultural interpretation of space.


Pag, Slavs, mythology, Croats

Hrčak ID:



Article data in other languages: croatian

Visits: 2.722 *