Croatian Island-Hopping Ferry Gets Its Due

Total Croatia News

December 6, 2018 — Little can match the illogical, often-obtuse yet romantic relationship a Croatian island has with the ferry connecting it to the mainland.

The bond between a community and its ferry runs as deep as the channels it traverses.

When the “brod” runs on time with a fully-stocked bar, it transforms into a nautical tavern, a hovel for secret lovers, a sea-faring hostel for nappers and community space for the rest.

Babies have been born — and likely made — on ferries; and empty caskets head to islands, waiting to be filled.

It’s why Šibenik’s residents and islanders rejoiced when local passenger ferry “Tijat” began a journey which will anchor it in the Croatian Register of Cultural Assets, according to

Tijat was also awarded the Croatian Union of Seafarer’s Blue Ribbon and proclaimed a national maritime treasure.

It is the only ferry from that era still in use, earning the boat a cult status worthy of its 1,500-member Facebook fan page.

Just check out its 60th birthday party.

Shoreline gazers and passersby in both Šibenik and Zadar habitually ignore catamarans zigging and zagging along the area’s archipelago, yet stop to photograph Tijat as it chugs by.

The 37 meter-long ship cuts an elegant figure, white as a seagull and comparatively slow — no rush — as hops along Šibenik’s islands. The ferry’s a floating anachronism of battered steel and visible rivets which were characteristic of post-World War II ferry ships built.

Tijat was launched in 1955 under its original name “Orhid,” along with two other identical ships. All three are still in use today, though the other two are now privately-owned.

At various points in its history, the ship served as a passenger ferry as far south as Dubrovnik and as north as the Kvarner area. Today, it connects Šibenik, Zlarin, Prvić Luka, Prvić Šepurine and Vodice.

The director of the City of Šibenik Museum Željko Krnčević said the ship reaches beyond a means of transportation.

“A ship is a man’s product, the work of his hands and not a lifeless object,” he told Morski.

Krnčević suggests the ferry be transformed into a “boat museum” which would chronicle the lives of its passengers, the Šibenik archipelago, and its own.

For more lifestyle stories on Total Croatia News, click here.


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