Visiting „The night of sand diggers and fishermen“ event will help you explore the unique past tradition of Privlaka near Zadar.
Today, tourism is the most important field of economy in Croatia, at least in its coastal region. Many small and big towns and places depend on tourism as their main source of income and economic development and if we look the results and the tourist offer of Croatia, they are doing an excellent job. However, we often forget that the tourist boom is of a recent origin, and that towns and villages had some different traditions than just being top travel destinations, and which should not be forgotten.
One of such places is Privlaka, small settlement near Zadar, right next to Nin in the north part of Dalmatia. Modern Privlaka is a popular tourist place, situated on a rather large peninsula that faces Vir island. It has beautiful beaches with pine forest, excellent restaurants, great accommodation of each type: rooms, apartment, campsite, villa. In Privlaka there is also another, very attractive feature: therapeutic mud that helps with various health issues and it is ideal for rheumatic diseases, arthritis and asthma. That is why you shouldn't be surprised seeing people covered in black mud as it is a common sight on beaches during summer months.
However, in the past, up to the middle of the last century, Privlaka was one of the main places on Croatian coast that was known not for tourism or mud, but for sand digging. Hardworking local people used to excavate sand from the shallow Adriatic sea in front of Privlaka and its surroundings. People would go out to the sea with wooden boats, and extract the sand with special perforated 'baskets' that were manually pulled from the sea, a method that demanded great physical strength and endurance. After they made enough loads, they would sail on their ships to sell sand across the Adriatic coast. The sand from Privlaka was mainly used in construction, and after the town of Zadar was heavily damaged during WW2 aerial attacks with bombs, the sand was used for reconstruction and further urban development of the town.
Sand digging is not the only activity that was associated with Privlaka. Alongside that, people engaged in agriculture (viticulture) and fishing. Old fishing techniques are still in use and people of Privlaka managed to keep that tradition alive. But regardless of all that, sand digging, which is now a thing of past, left the strongest mark on the village and its inhabitants and it is an inseparable part of their identity. In order to preserve the memory of sand diggers and local fishing tradition, each year „The night of sand diggers and fishermen“ event is held in mid-July in Privlaka, when video projections and photo exhibitions about sand diggers and fishermen are on display, together with the a capella singing concerts and food offer consists of delicious local dishes.
So if you are spending your holiday in July in Privlaka or somewhere in Zadar region, be sure to visit this interesting event that will enable you to discover Privlaka's identity, envision past times and understand better the people and the customs of this place and its surroundings.