Saturday, February 16, 2008

Trogir. A Medieval gem.


C
roatia. A country that did not even exist when I was born and up until very recently, was hidden from the world behind the Iron Curtain. I now have a wonderful opportunity to visit it.

Our plan is to fly from Istanbul to Split, Croatia and from there, hop a local bus to the town of Trogir (pronounced "Tro-jeer") which sits alongside the stunningly beautiful coastline of the Adriatic Sea.

We will be using Trogir as our home base to see the central Dalmatian coast - including the larger, port city of Split.

Trogir was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
 
According to UNESCO:






"Trogir is a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period."




I don't fully understand the UNESCO description but in my mind, any town that is listed on UNESCO's list must be a pretty special place so it was no-brainer that we would be staying in Trogir versus Split.


Trogir has been described as a jewel of a town encased in 15th-century walls. Within the walls are located about 10 churches and numerous buildings dating from the 13th century.

Among the historic landmarks is The Cathedral of St. Lawrence (Croatian: Katedrala Sv. Lovre), a Roman Catholic cathedral built between the 13th and 17th century. One of its most impressive features of the Cathedral is the west portal - a masterpiece by the Croatian sculptor and architect Radovan who inscribed his name and the year of making of the main portal, 1240, on the lunette above the entrance. Considered to be one of the most monumental works of Romanesque sculpture in Craoatia, Radovan's Portal depicts The Original Sin (Adam and Eve), The Redemption (the Nativity), as well as individual saints and apostles.





Other historic buildings include the Cipiko Palace which is located across from the main entrance of St Lawrence Cathedral. The Palace was the home of the Cipiko family, one of the town's most prominent families during the 15th Century. Today its architecture and furnishings are what draw visitors, who also marvel at an intricately carved Venetian-Gothic triple window here.







Off the town's main plaza is the Duke's Palace which I believe is being used, today, as the town's City Hall.






When the Venetians came to town in the 15th century, they built two towers which have been preserved till today - the Fortress Kamerlengo and Saint Mark's tower.

Fortress Kamerlengo is situated at west end of Trogir islet, built by Venetians in Xlll - XV century as a naval base for their navy forces in this part of Adriatic.












St. Mark's Tower, a circular defensive tower, was built by Venetian's in 1470 in Renaissance period.

The list of what you can see in Trogir is remarkable given the small size of the town. I can't wait to wander down its narrow streets to admire its historic beauty and soak in its European charm all the while basking in warmth of the Adriatic sun. I'm just hoping I won't see a Starbuck's on every corner - I will be eternally disappointed if I do!