What to see in Dalmatia?
The provincial charm of Rogoznica
My adventure with Central Dalmatia began a few years ago, when I first came to Rogoznica, a small Mediterranean town, 25 km south of Šibenik. Its centre is located on the peninsula, the former islet of Kopar, connected to the mainland in the second half of the 19th century by an artificial embankment.
It’s the perfect place to rest from the city noise, surrounded by forests and rocks. The city is relatively small, but has several churches, including the beautiful Church of St. Nicholas with a belfry, built in the style of medieval Dalmatian architecture, Milna cave and a lake connected with the sea, which the inhabitants call Zmajevo oko or Oko smoku, meaning the eye of the dragon. It’s a true natural phenomenon, the waters are rich in flora and fauna, and at the same time. . . incredibly salty!
Croatia is all about tourists, so even in a small village like this one you will come across a few tourist points with maps and information of what to see. Another advantage is that you are able to get along in Polish in virtually every store or stand. Of such situations, I particularly positively recall an elderly gentleman selling his homemade tinctures from a trunk, calling and encouraging us in Polish :). In a few minutes he managed to tell us half his life. . . and it was a fantastic experience!
Split – city set up on a palace
Split is a little over 50 km away from Rogoznica and is one of the most famous cities in Croatia and the second largest town in this country. I honestly admit that the first impression after driving into the city was not what I had expected. I was very surprised to see extensive blocks of flats, almost the same as I see every day in my native Poland. But this is not surprising considering the size of the city.
It was much better further along the road, a delightful old town, in whose heart stands the Cathedral of Saint Domnius (in the past, Diocletian’s mausoleum was located here), Diocletian’s Palace, which seems to be scattered throughout the city, due to the fact that mainly ruins have remained after the original structure. Over time, the palace turned into a city! Today, the former halls are urban squares, and the palace corridors play the role of streets. Magical streets, full of shops, cafés and lively restaurants. The old walls have blended into the new surroundings, thanks to which you can discover historical ruins at every step. Each of the streets, intersecting the palace premises, ends with a gate within the walls: iron, gold, silver and bronze.
Particularly interesting are the old lower chambers, which form a series of picturesque basements with stone arches. There are many shops operating there, offering various souvenirs – from stone bowls, paintings, stones, through shirts with the inscription ‘I love Croatia’. . . there is a lot to choose from :). On top of that, there is the underground museum, which I had the pleasure to visit.
Split is vibrant with life both during the day and at night. Live music, tourists and locals sitting in the old town and promenade, which is easy to recognise due to the characteristic white lanterns and rows of tables. It is worth taking a long walk there. It’s one of those points that you just cannot miss out on!
Trogir – beauty in itself
The next point on the map is Trogir. To me, it is one of the most beautiful Croatian cities. And this is due to the beautiful old town marked on the UNESCO heritage list. The old part located on an island connected to the mainland by a stone bridge, is often called the ‘museum city’. The old town is maintained in medieval style, with narrow streets and Gothic buildings, which means that the buildings are almost identical, with the same colour of façades and roofs. Fabulous view :).
The best spot to admire this place is undoubtedly the Kamerlengo Fortress, which was erected in the 15th century, during the reign of Venice. Fortress Kamerlengo has retained its original appearance and currently serves as a museum depicting the life of the town from the 15th to the 18th century.
It is also worth walking through the promenade, sitting in one of the cafes, drinking a regional wine and simply enjoying the view of the city and the waterfront. This was surely not my last visit to this beautiful region of Central Dalmatia. It has much more to offer, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to get to see it all. I can recommend these regions of Croatia with a clear heart. Regardless of whether you are looking for a place to rest from the hustle and bustle, or actually prefer an active relaxation based on sightseeing, this place has it all!