Zlarin “Vrulja” (wellspring)
Water on the islands has always been extremely precious. The islands depended on cisterns, and wells were a real treasure. Freshwater was drinkable, and brackish water, one in which sweet water sources mixed with seawater, was suitable for washing clothes and cooking.
On the lower waterfront, called "Donja Banda" on Zlarin, there is "Vrulja", a source of underwater that mixes with the seawater.
At that place, local women and girls washed and leached laundry, clothes, blankets, sheets. They carried such washed laundry in wooden troughs, "maštelci" on their heads, often without holding this heavy load with their hands, as women in these parts used to do. To be able to carry a heavy burden on their heads, they place a small, soft circular stitched cushion of colourful fabrics on their heads, doughnut-like shape, with a hole in the middle.
For Zlarin women, "Vrulja" was a place for washing laundry and socialising. They could do this hard work with conversations, jokes and singing. As the husbands of most of them worked far away in a foreign world to feed their families, this female togetherness was a way of providing mutual support.
The time of Zlarin women who wash laundry on "Vrulja" has disappeared with the use of a washing machine, and today only hauls of mullet can be seen at the source of the water. In the history of cinema, Zlarin and the motive of women washing laundry are immortalised in the 1937 German film Princess Coral (in the original: Die Korallenprinzessin).