59. Municipium Flavium Fulfinum and Mirine

Remains of the ancient town of Municipium Flavium Fulfinum from the second half of the 1st century AD and an Early Christian basilica from the 5th century AD.

In the area of Fulfinum (today known as Okladi), there are recognisable remains of different buildings from the Roman period. The recently investigated parts of the forum, the heart of the ancient town with a temple, basilica and tabernae, and parts of a large architectural complex of public buildings are particularly impressive. Although the site has been systematically researched in recent years, the town of Municipium Flavium Fulfinum is mostly still unexplored and has not been completely unearthed. Its name is known thanks to an inscription from the period of the Roman Emperor Domitian which makes mention of works on the town aqueduct. The inscription is kept in the Lapidarium collection in Omišalj. The structures and layout of the roads are clearly visible in the configuration of the terrain.

Since this area was used for agriculture in recent centuries, the remnants of the plastered walls of the ancient buildings have been partly covered with dry stone piles. Piers and buildings with floor mosaics have been partly buried in mud in the shallow waters of Sepen Cove. The town was established by Roman gromatici (land surveyors) as a completely new structure on land with no previous settlement. The Roman veterans who populated the town were given land that had belonged to the native people of Omišalj – the Fertinates. Such a lowland coastal town had no chance of surviving in spite of attempts to fortify it in the Late Antiquity period. The town gradually died out and eventually completely disappeared like Salona and many other Roman towns overwhelmed by the Migration Period.

Southwest of the forum, on the Mirine site, there is a Late Antiquity necropolis containing a row of smaller graves and several larger tombs belonging to the privileged, and also a basilica, probably dedicated to St. Nicholas, which has been preserved to just below the roof. Due to its excellent state of preservation, this church serves as a model of Early Christian sacral buildings. The church has the basic form of a Latin cross, thanks to its traversal nave – transept. In the narthex, which has been restored and partly reconstructed, there is an exhibition of movable archaeological material and an Early Christian sarcophagus that has been preserved in situ.

The atrium, which stretches along the southern wall of the church towards the sea, is the result of a later adaptation of the building to the needs of a religious community which eventually abandoned it when it could no longer maintain it due to its size. The Benedictines tried to maintain it by adapting a suburban residential complex with thermae, which is located to the west of the basilica and which has been archaeologically researched and can today be visited. Eventually, the Glagolitic Benedictines retired from this exposed coastal location and took up residence next to the entrance to Omišalj, taking the titular of St. Nicholas with them. The present toponym Mirine is the word for ruins in the local dialect, which is a Croatised version of the Latin word murus. Indeed, the Croats who came here in the Middle Ages must have found these ruins truly impressive.

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