St. Mary of Snow, Čučerje

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August 31, 2009

Today Vjeko and I did something wonderful. We went looking for «The Old Statue». This is a peak just to the south of the pilgrimage chapel of St. Mary of Snow (Sv. Marija Snežna) above the village of Čučerje. Čučerje is one of the oldest Zagreb Prigorje (Submontana) villages and parishes. It was recorded in 1201. It has a nice baroque church of St.Mary, in fact a rebuilt Romanesque church.

We drove past the last bus stop as far as we could among the homes and vineyards, and when we finally relinquished Albertus Maguns, we were almost at the ridge so it took us just about 1 hour of light upward hiking to St. Mary. Mind, this was the day after a storm so visibility was excellent, sub was warm but refreshing and there was a little cool breeze. As the trails are surrounded by thick young forest the vistas are not great but there are some good views of the Lipa-Rog massif at the eastern end of the Central Medvednica, as well as some views of the main chain, occasionally far out some 100 km in a wide range of some 270 degrees due south. This is important to bear in mind as we proceed.

At St. Mary’s we found the well and we located to spots that might be the site of the old chapel, as described in the famous Gušić guided if 1924 of which I am proud to have a copy (which we actually use!). One is just across the road from the new chapel (which must be at least 100 years old as it was described in 1924 as having been in existence for a while), at the brink of the precipice, another some 30m south where the firemen from Vidovec built a wooden railing at an widening spot near the road. In both cases we find traces of rock, possibly foundations, for a wooden chapel. The stone would have been mostly reused for the new chapel, which is a darling tiny structure, one elongated rounded apse without windows maybe 2 by 3 m, housing unbelievably cute primitive frescoes (maybe a few decades old) showing the lady above the Medvednica hills, the church at Čučerje and two groups of attending saints.

We returned to the first crossroads, and climbed the hill of the Stari Kip (Old Statue), which was easy as there is no other hill around. At the top, there is one rounded ara with steep sides with a lot of rock at the peak, ideal for setting a statue of a Slavic (?) idol. We got really enthusiastic, but then we went to the other, southern peak, which is maybe less steep and more accessible, but would have had an absolutely fantastic view of 270 plus degree SW, S, SE, and a view of the foil of the Medvednica massif N, plus the pot effect, i.e., being surrounded on about one half by the lower range of hills, an ideal castle position. Stari Kip was not a castle but could have been a very old settlement plus sanctuary. The northern peak would fit better by its format, the southern by the location and view. Most lkely both (there is about 50m distance) formed one whole. We will now try to work the Stari Kip into already established network of ancient sacred spots in the Zagreb Prigorje. Needles to say, it communicate as far as the West Papuk in Slavonia, so it links up to the sacred system of Central Slavonia.

High as we were, we returned to the car, rolled down to Čučerje and took the road toward Dubrava suburb. On the way we noticed the sign on the left, St. Barbara st. St. Barbara is a hill with a chapel many have mentioned but nobody, apparently, ever decided to go see. So we followed the “street” to its and on a top of a steep hill (378m), and there, as a local told us was indeed a stone chapel, destroyed a few decades ago (apparently nobody knew about it, nobody cared, there are no record, photos or anything – that is Croatian mentality at it its clearest, my friends) and the stone was old as building material.

The chapel is gone but the hill is still there and the view is magnificent (St. Jakob, Medvedgrad, the Medvednica ridge, and again 270 plus SW, S, SE). We will have to work it into the web of sacred spots which is rapidly getting thicker. By the way, as Barbara’s evil father was killed by a lightning, and as Barbara protects from thunder, etc., how about herself having inherited Peru’s or some other Thunderer’s spots. We will work on it. Jackpot!

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