Cernik is a small place near Nova Gradiška where there is an unexpectedly large number of tourist attractions, from history, culture to gastronomy and oenology. But the real pearl of the settlement is certainly the large baroque Franciscan monastery!
During the periods of Turkish rule when Cernik was the administrative and military seat of the Sandzak (Turkish territorial unit), Islam spread from that area. Turkish travel writer Evlija Chelebi mentions that there are “twenty-one mosques” in Cernik itself. But already at that time the struggle of the Franciscans to maintain a Christian identity in the area began. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Franciscan parish in Cernik was founded.
A century later, when the whole of Slavonia was annexed to the Habsburg Empire, the construction of a monastery began and was completed in the middle of the 18th century. The last was finished monumental church of Sv. Peter with beautiful 7 baroque altars.
In 1757, a philosophical school began operating in the monastery, where the basics of literacy, knowledge of Latin and religion were given to almost all significant representatives of Slavonian culture of the 18th century. Among them is Matija Antun Relković, the most important author of the Croatian Enlightenment.
The monastery is square in shape with 3 wings and a church on one corner, a beautiful cloister and a park in the area. In addition to the beautiful Baroque interior of the church, the monastery has a valuable and extremely rich exhibition of biblical history with a large archaeological and paleontological collection.
Just a few minutes walk from the monastery is Kulmer’s Castle, the most impressive building of its kind in Brod-Posavina County.