Sun warriors -in search for light

Croats, according to the oldest traditions, called themselves the ‘Sun people’, or the ‘Sun warriors’. In the beginning there was nothing, there was a ‘Pre-darkness’, sea and dark sky, the only existing thing was the ‘Pre-egg’ in which rested ‘Svarog’, the divine creator. Under the influence of the life force, the egg cracked open and created the light. So, the forces that created the world were initiated, and from Svarog shadows ‘Crnobog’ was born, god of evil and suffering.

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Long long time ago there lived a goddess of a morning star. Her name was Danica. Each morning she would open the gates of Džabog’s palace so that the sun may begin his journey. And what journey that was! Full of brightness, colors, warmth, shiny sparkles and everyday beauty.

It’s no wonder Slavic people prayed to Danica each morning as the sun rose, sun little sister. They were obsessed with natural light provide to them by the stars, the moon and the sun.

And still they are…

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Our obsession with light given to us by our ‘gods’ can be seen in many photos published on social networks. Sunrise photos, sunset photos,  are most liked and most welcomed to see,  and, in some strange way, we are still cherishing Croatian forgotten gods while admiring beauty of the Sun.

The island of Hvar is said to be the number one hotspot of Europe, seeing more sunshine in a year than anywhere else. And the name Hvar and its origin? Its name, Hvar, is a Persian word meaning the ‘Sun’, in the Avesta, Hvar is the name for the ‘God of the Sun’.

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In May 1964, Alfred Hitchcock checked into Room 204 of the classic and now closed Hotel Zagreb on the waterfront in Zadar. The hotel’s location was one of the best in town and it was from there that the famed director opined that “The sunset of Zadar is the world’s most beautiful and incomparably better than in Key West, Florida.” This is a fact that Zadar residents have long known, but which the celebrity mention made world-famous.

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Was he right? Who cares. Fact that we are mentioning it on each and every of our tourism sites says enough; we know how to show the world our love towards beauty of the sun.

From the Guardian…

Croatian mythology should be told on a cold winter’s night. It’s the sort of stuff that needs flickering light from a dying fire and a howling wind whistling outside, occasional draughts sending extra shivers down your spine. Sitting in a semi-circle before a wise old woman, or a huge bearded man, you don’t get Croatian folk stories from a book, just from memory and invention.

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Croatian myth is part of the Slavic tradition that sweeps across Baltic, central and Eastern Europe, terrifying children and giving nightmares a ghoulish flavour. There is almost nothing that can be called specifically Croatian, hardly surprising given that there has hardly been an area that would answer to the name of Croatia for very long.

The Slavic tradition itself is nothing like as hard and fast as Greek mythology. There are no ancient written authorities and all that survive are the characters, but without any actual stories.

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There are Gods like Perun, God of Thunder, King of the Gods, who are recognisable from all mythologies. Most of the Slavic Gods, like Veles, God of the Underworld, would feel at home round a Greek or a Norse Gods’ banqueting table. But it is the lesser deities, who inhabit the world around us every day, who give Slavic myth its own peculiar dimensions.

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Considering how ‘scary’ Croatian stories of long ago can be (believe me, I have experienced ‘beauty’ of night tales many times during my childhood), again, it’s no wonder, we created something opposite, like Danica or Zora. Light, even in the late afternoon, was our safe port during frightening storms.

And the cup–the enchantress cup–will grow, grow until it becomes a huge basin filled with purple: — and in the evening sunset I shall bathe all of my precious cup’s figures, gods, goddesses, fairies, shepherds, musicians and pipers, awaiting in the game, music, and laughter for magic sleep to wrap us in velvet and spill into our cup of happiness the glaring magic of his stars: the stars of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.

Fran Mažuranić, 1859-1928

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Beautiful wilderness

Thus it was and thus it befell…

Have you ever read Croatian tales of long ago? I am sure you didn’t. Last weekend I was enjoying beautiful wilderness just outside my country house remembering my childhood. Memories lead me to my library and this particular book caught my eye.

When we were kids, at school, we hated this book for one reason only; we had to read it as our school assignment.  Well, I do not know many kids who are enjoying anything they must do, unless is something they choose to do.

Anyhow, my little nature walk reminded me of this book, which I am sharing with you together with beautiful details of wilderness still there.

Did you know that Ivana Brlić Mažuranić was nominated four times for Nobel Prize? I am sure you didn’t. But after reading beautiful myths and stories from Slavic people you will know why.

Enjoy!

https://archive.org/details/croatiantalesofl00brli
https://archive.org/details/croatiantalesofl00brli

 

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Kad si sretan i sunce za tobom žuri…
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She neither worked, nor tidied, nor wept, nor lamented, but just pined away with grief and sorrow.
"Now isn’t that a wonder of wonders, that the sea should be so wide that a mother cannot encompass it, and the sun so high that a mother should not be able to reach it?"
“Now isn’t that a wonder of wonders, that the sea should be so wide that a mother cannot encompass it, and the sun so high that a mother should not be able to reach it?”
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Then Curlylocks brought out her little bag of pearls to give presents and pleasure to her new friends.
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“I was the same as your Sea King here. I had a son who tugged my beard, a wife who showed me marvels, and wild spinach, brothers – as much as you want….”
"At that time there were no more dragons anywhere in the world, nor witches, nor any monsters. The Holy Cross and human reason had driven them forth."
“At that time there were no more dragons anywhere in the world, nor witches, nor any monsters. The Holy Cross and human reason had driven them forth.”

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Adriatic Sea Adventure – where the blue begins

In the southern Adriatic, in the wind-blown spray.
In the bluest water, just where it begins,
We came to play awhile, came to rest
On rocky shores of barren coves,
As the swells arrived and water splashed
And reflected sunlight jumped and shimmered
Among the cliffs and overhangs and grottoes,
In the Adriatic, where that sort of thing begins.
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blog5Blue, clear, warm and friendly sea… That is best description for our small sea adventure yesterday… We visited our friends who were staying on island Veli Drvenik. Tweenty minutes speed boat ride was

full of warm wind, beautiful surrounding and waves splashing sound. Seagulls enjoyed as well, with many other sea lovers sailing and cruising around. Working week started today, but our batteries are full 🙂

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Adriatic Sea Name

Originally, Adriatic sea was known in Latin as Mare Superum. Later, it was replaced by Mare (H)Adriaticum. The name, derived from the Etruscan colony of Adria (or Hadria), originally designated only the upper portion of the sea (Herodotus vi. 127, vii. 20, ix. 92; Euripides, Hippolytus, 736), but was gradually extended as the Syracusan colonies gained in importance. The name Adria is derived from the Illyrian word adur meaning “water” or “sea”.

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Legends and fables of the Adriatic sea

…Legend has that Scirocco, Bora (winds) and their children lived in a far away land: Illiria. Velebit had dark curly hair and the beautiful Adria was slim and had beautiful blue eyes and golden hair. Once Scirocco, longing for knowing new worlds, decided to leave to come back only after seven long years. While he was approaching his land again he was imprisoned by a wicked wizard. He wanted to kidnap the beautiful Adria because he was madly in love with her. So one night the wizard went to submit the inhabitants of Illiria. Velebit didn’t want to surrender though. So he prayed the Gods to turn him into a stone. So the mountains that protect North Dalmatia originated. The sweet and lovely Adria was turned into sea… the Adriatic sea.

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Summer in the city :)

 

Sweet corner
Sweet corner

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The Legend of Diocletian
The legend surrounding the rise of Diocletian is as follows: A Dalmatian soldier named Diocles had been told by a witch that he should become Emperor by the slaughter of a boar. He became a great hunter, but no wild boar that he killed seemed to bring him nearer to the purple, till, when the army was fighting on the Tigris, the Emperor Numerianus died, and an officer named Aper offered himself as his successor. Aper is the Latin for a boar, and Diocles, perceiving the scope of the prophecy, thrust his sword into his rival’s breast, and was hailed Emperor by the legions. He lengthened his name out to Diocletianus (later shortened to Diocletian), to sound more imperial.

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Walk through the palace, is a must do…This is our daily routine as we are living in Split and also working in the city (we can’t wait for the coffee break). But if you have doubts about spending your summer in the city, and we are talking about Diocletian ‘cottage’ as he called his palace, I hope these pictures will make you think otherwise…

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Walk through the palace, especially in the summer, is a challenge. So many people, so many hidden streets, coffee bars, restaurants…You just have to explore all the little narrow streets and alleyways and find all the hidden bits of the palace that so many people must have missed unless they were were on a guided tour. A camera, either a smartphone or a professional one is a must have, as you will not be able to take your finger from it…

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These are photos from today’s coffee break. And please note, this morning we had serious rain over here… Now, we can’t wait to jump in the sea. Enjoy!

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The wonderful world of magic – garlic (stinking rose)

“The ancient Greek name for garlic was scorodon. According to Fulder and Blackwood, French physician Henri Leclerc derived this from skaion rodon which he translated as rose puante, or “stinking rose”.”

češnjak fitness.com.hr

For over 5,000 years garlic has been used as food, medicine, an aphrodisiac and magic potions. Garlic warded off the evil eye, was hung over doors to protect medieval occupants from evil, gave strength and courage to Greek athletes and warriors, protected maidens and pregnant ladies from evil nymphs, and was rubbed on door frames to keep out blood thirsty Grey Duck Garlic, Lorez Italian garlic bulbs by barn door handlevampires. Garlic clove pendants hung around the neck protected you from the sharp horns of a bull, warded off local witches, kept away the black plague, and even prevented others from passing you (or your horse) in a race.

Garlic Source: Taste of Croatia
Garlic
Source: Taste of Croatia

Garlic is only found in cultivation, but researchers consider Central Asia to be its place of origin which is also home to Allium longicuspis. Some believe this plant to be a wild ancestor while others believe it to be the same species. It was probably used in Central Asia since Neolithic times as a food flavouring and seasoning. Although many of the about 700 species of genus Allium are native to Central Asia, the diversity of the forms spread from the Himalayas to Turkestan. It is believed that the ancient Chinese were the first to cultivate it. Garlic spread across the world more than 5000 years ago; before recorded history.

We can not talk about garlic, and forget to mention vampires; croatian most famous vampire, also known as first european vampire….

Jure Grando, the Vampire from Kringa (Istria)

The first document on Grando, dating back to the 17th century, was written by his contemporary Janez Vajkard Valvasor, a Slovenian travel writer and historian. In his 15-tome work, The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, which was published in 1689 in Germany, Valvasor tells the story heard when he visited Kringa.

Jure Grando
Jure Grando

According to the legend, for 16 years after his death and burial Grando terrorised his former fellow-villagers, notably his widow. At night he wandered the area knocking on the doors of houses, many of whose inhabitants later died, it said. The lustful demon paid regular visits to his widow, forcing her to continue fulfilling her marital duties.

Eventually, in 1672, a group of nine local men decided that they had to put an end to the menace. Upon opening his grave they saw Grando, his body intact, smiling at them.

Istria
Istria

After the first attempt to drive a hawthorn stake through his corpse failed because the wood rebounded, the bravest of the nine eventually managed to decapitate the body, bringing to an end Grando’s reign of terror, the legend said.

“Grando already has all the characteristics of future literary vampires — who appear some 150 years later — he is a cynic, challenges both civil and church authorities and is sexually active,” explains Boris Peric, a writer who investigated the issue.

“The story was later taken and quoted by various authors from theologians to historians,” he said, adding that German writer Herman Hesse published an account of Grando in an anthology early in the 20th century.

Peric says he believes Grando served as one of the models for his future literary counterparts, possibly even for Irish writer Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is said to be inspired by cruel Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes the Impaler.

Stinking rose :)
Stinking rose 🙂

LJUBITOVICA – GARLIC ŠARAC

Ljubitovica, a village a few kilometers from Trogir where life seems to have stood still for centuries, a variety of garlic famed throughout the region is grown. Called Luk in Croatian and Cesnjak in Dalmatian, this Allium sativum is a preservable, full-flavored and fragrant variety that is often streaked with reddish veins. Grown by local families to augment their incomes, it is gathered into strings and sold mainly by women at markets in Split, Trogir and Sibenik, or to tourists traveling the coastal roads in summer. The women of Ljubitovica gather along the sides of these markets, displaying their strings of garlic, dried officinal herbs and, occasionally, some alcoholic distillates (such as travarica herb grappa) on wooden crates. They proudly gesture, repeating that the garlic was grown and prepared in Ljubitovica, where the product is better and keeps longer than the regular garlic sold on the market stalls. (source: Slow food)

Garlic festivities - Ljubitovica Source: Slobodna Dalmacija
Garlic festivities – Ljubitovica
Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

Numerous studies conducted on garlic (Allium sativum L.), have proved the presence of antioxidants, phenolic compounds, sulfur compounds and several vitamins.Used liberally in many dishes, garlic adds flavour to everything from soups to homemade sausages. One passionate Croatian cook says it’s hard to imagine a single household in all Croatia without garlic.

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Roasted garlic Source: coolinarika.com

Mussels recipe known as Dagnje na buzaru

This easy Croatian mussels recipe is popular along the Dalmatian coast where there is a wealth of seafood and a strong Italian influence. This is known as dagnje na buzaru, or školjke na buzaru. Compare this with Croatian Shrimp Buzara. “Buzara” in Croatian literally means “stew,” but buzara-style cooking simply means that some type of shellfish or crustacean is cooked with olive oil, wine, garlic, breadcrumbs and fresh herbs.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings Croatian Mussels

Ingredients:

4 pounds mussels (1 pound per person)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 cloves chopped garlic (or to taste)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
Coarse sea salt
Black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Preparation:

Scrub and debeard the mussels. The “beard” is the hairy thing hanging from one side of the shell. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion.

In hot pan, add mussels, olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Let this simmer until mussels just begin to open. Stir, lower heat and add 1 1/4 cups white wine, coarse sea salt, and black pepper. Be careful not to oversalt because mussels from the sea are naturally salty.

Let all the shells open, stirring occasionally. If, by the end of cooking, any shells do not open, discard them. Turn the heat back to high to finish the cooking quickly without toughening the mussel meat. Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs into the broth, but you want to leave some liquid present. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the broth.

Mussels - dagnje na buzaru
Mussels – dagnje na buzaru

We do hope that you love garlic as we do, especially roasted one, but please remember. Your breath will not be attractive, so only solution is to feed all around you with this beautiful food.

From city of dragons to Emperor Palace

Dragon's eye Rogoznica
Dragon’s eye Rogoznica

Legend about Dragon Eye Lake in Rogoznica is telling the story of two brother, one of whom was blind. The sighted brother, in dividing their land, tricked the blind brother, and in retaliation the blind brother conjured a curse: “If you have not shared the land fairly, let it all turn into a lake.” And it did. But in this lake that sometimes churns and boils lived a dragon. The dragon, says local tradition, was merciless–each year he charged a bloody fee of the most beautiful girl and the fattest sheep.

Rogoznica
Rogoznica

We started our sailing route from Rogoznica to Split. And we have seen and enjoyed so many legends, beautiful sights and neverending stories about our Adriatic coast.

Another story tells of the dragon Murin, the illegitimate son of Hera and Poseidon, who ruled the polis of Heraclea from his palace on the island of Velika Smokvica. He protected the inhabitants from invaders and marauders, and in return every year, on the longest day of the year, the people had to give him the most beautiful girl for a wife. Unfortunately, no one survived the first wedding night. Legend says that on June 20th, on the winged horse Pegasus, a hero descended called Aristoles, great-grandson of the Argonauts’ Jason. He fell in love with a girl who was supposed to wed the cruel dragon the next day. The young hero challenged the dragon to a duel, and mortally wounded the beast with a spear made by the powerful goddess Athena with lunar dust and the help of Hephaestus. As he lay dying, Murin dug out his own eyes with his claws. One of them he threw far beyond the island of Mljet, and the other slipped under his feet and melted the rock. Water filled the pit and formed a lake, which came to be called Dragon’s Eye.

Lady of the Chapel
Lady of the Chapel
Fisherman
Fisherman

At the entrance to Rogoznica port on the peninsula Gradina, a votive shrine of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the people known as the Lady of the Chapel.

Intercity 1722nd year, fisherman George Bogavčić called Tuburko, attracted by a strange light panel finds a picture that showed the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her cousin Elizabeth. Bring it home and put it in the freezer. The next day, at the same place again saw the same opportunity. He would not compare to the one in the chest but was not found. Decide to entrust all parish priest, who was put into the treasury. Ali and from Our Lady’s Opportunity returned to the place of the apparitions.

And so, at the urging of bogoljubnog people, 1776th decided to build a small chapel.

Mulo lighthouse
Mulo lighthouse
Stone and sea 2
Stone and sea 2
Sea and stone
Sea and stone

 

We wrote before about Punta Planka or Cape of Diomedes. But let us remember few things :).

Punta Planka
Punta Planka
St.John Church
St.John Church
Kissing the shore
Kissing the shore

 

In the first century BC, it was impossible to sail around Cape Planka or Cape Diomedes during a huge storm. This is the region of the jugo and bura, local winds that are linked to the myth of the Argonauts, and that conspire to produce one of the most deadly navigable points on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. A Roman ship transporting 150 amphorae full of wine from northern Italy to Greece anchored for the last time in the Bay of Gornji Muli in Rogoznica. For a medium-sized boat overloaded with amphorae, even a closed bay was not safe. She capsized and sank to a depth of 20 meters, hitting the underwater rocks, and her wreckage is scattered across a field 13x10m in size. The site was excavated and preserved in 1998.

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Fisherman 2
Sailing
Sailing
Serenity
Serenity

 

The waters around Rogoznica contain many shipwrecks from different historical periods, so we might say there is a museum in the deep blue sea, a trove of historical material intriguing to scholars and tourists alike.

On our small journey we have met these amazing places, but also, little friends, the dolphins.

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Dolphins
Red rocks
Red Rocks
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Klude
Klude
Klude
Velike Klude
Velike Klude

 

On the south side of Ciovo Island, in Prizidnica, among the steep cliffs above the sea, nearly five centuries ago the church of Our Lady of Prizdinica was built. Above the door of the church in the wall are two stone tablets, and the older one witnesses about the history of the sanctuary.
“The priest Juraj Stoidražić came into this wilderness, and built this temple in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, 1546 god.”
Next to the church, in the humble dwellings, “the wall”, withdrawn from the world, have settled priests hermits, spending a life of prayer and penance.

Our Lady of Prizdinica
Our Lady of Prizdinica
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Cliffs
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Fisherman3
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Cliffs
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Peekaboo


Until the mid 19th century, continuous or intermittent short lived Glagolitic monks, and priests of the Latin ritual language.

On our way to Split (Spalato) we have seen just one small part of history integrated in our heritage. I could write a story, or legend, almost about each rock, cliff, or sea path I passed. But then, you wouldn’t read me at all :).

Hopefully you enjoyed our little sailing, and legends which goes with it.

Sailing
Sailing

Omiš (Almissa) – the city of contrasts and the pirates

Republic of Poljica
Republic of Poljica

1st of May, or May Day, or International Workers Day, whatever you would like to call it, for some of us is a reason to escape from the ‘big’ town.

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River Cetina
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Cetina kayaking
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Rock climbers

And we did. Going to Republic of Poljica (known in history as an autonomous community which existed in the late Middle ages and the early modern period in central Dalmatia, near modern-day Omiš). Omiš, in ancient times, was known as Oneum. In the Middle age, Italians called it Almissa. Omiš center was located on the east bank of the River Cetina, probably in the village Baucici, where was found many archeological sites with numerous rock fragments from the time of the Romans, as well as tombstones, monuments and Roman coins.

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Car fieldtrip
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Old Boat Omiš
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Omiš cliffs
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Fortress
Omiš street
Omiš city street
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Omiš

It is truly city of contrasts. From one side, river Cetina and beautiful cliffs, and on the other side, crystal clear sea and sand beaches. It is no wonder, that, as a town connected with the sea and river, was famous also as a pirate town. Glorious and turbulent history of the town of Omis and Omis pirates dating back to Greek and Roman times. Omis, hides many memories and evidence of strength and power of Omis Pirates. In the Middle Ages, Omis became notorious because of Omis pirates, and their specially built boats called Omis arrows (Sagittae). Iwrote about Omiš pirates in my post about Adriatic Pirates  http://bit.ly/13MxVg9.

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Omiš street
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City of flowers
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Rock garden
Omiš door
History
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Rose bush
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Omiš

During our visit to ancient city, we climbed to fortress Mirabella. It was very hot outside, but we did it J. This fortress is also connected to pirates (which is no wonder at all). Fortress Mirabella was a reliable hideout for the Omis pirates, who used to retreat into the safety of the Cetina gorge. Old legend says that in 1537., during an attack by the Turks, the defenders of Omis confused the attackers with their shouting and shots so much that the Turks overestimated the number of defenders and fled.Fortress Mirabella has four floors and exit at the top that offers an unforgettable sight. Beautiful field trip with lots of history, amazing landscapes, truly something you have to experience.

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History in stone
Fortress_Mirabella
Fortress Mirabella
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Omiš River Cetina
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Omiš sea view

The Legend of Mila Gojsalić begins in a small Dalmatian village Kostanje in the Omis hinterland, where she was born. She lived in a time when the whole Dalmatia and the Republic of Poljica was threatened from the Ottomans. In year 1530., Turkish Ahmed Pasha gathered an army of ten thousand soldiers to defeat Republic of Poljica and Dalmatia. Turkish army camped and set up tents in the village of Gata in the Omis hinterland, where today stands a monument of Mila Gojsalic, made by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. Mila Gojsalic was the prettiest girl in the region, and when Ahmed Pasha saw Mila Gojsalic, fascinated by her beauty, he ordered the soldiers to bring the girl into his tent. Mila was taken that night in a bedchamber of Ahmed Pasha, and there against her will, she had lost her virginity. Then she chose, between eternal slavery in the harem, and life in disgrace, divine innocence and martyr’s death, and becomes a warrior of Christ. When Ahmed Pasha fell asleep, Mila sneaks out of the tent and takes a torch with which she lights the fire in the warehouse of weapons and gunpowder. The mighty explosion destroyed the entire Turkish army together with Ahmed Pasha. In her suicidal course, Mila Gojsalic died. The remaining part of the Turkish army flees in fear, then they were attacked and defeated by soldiers of Poljica.

Mila Gojsalić watching over Omiš
Mila Gojsalić watching over Omiš

Food for the Gods – Ficus Carica

Ficus Carica - Fig
Ficus Carica – Fig

Once  fruit for poor people, today, delicacy for selected ones. Figs.

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I can’t remember better job when you are a kid, than figs picking. Climbing up that delicious tree, picking that sweet fruit, selecting green ones which are not dry yet, and enjoying the sweetness. And I still do. Just close to my motherhouse, stands wide fig tree with one of the best figs I have ever eaten. Owners lived very far away, so, they wanted to sell that tree to someone. When I was 18 years old, my first income was spent on that tree. My first possession was that tree.

Dried figs
Dried figs
Photo source: http://bit.ly/12vb5uz
Fig cake / Photo source: http://bit.ly/12vb5uz

How important is that fruit, Veljko Barbieri, Croatian gastronome describes it the best. The Greeks were the first to introduce into kitchen the figs leaves, wrapping up the vegetables, meat and fish so they can remain fresh and preserved for a longer time. This culinary tradition has been passed on in their Dalmatian island colony, so it is no surprise, that famous Vis Hibs or figs cake, old pastries with ancient origin, are wrapped in a fig leaf.

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HIB-fig cake from the island of Vis,has been traditional prepared by diligent peasant women of island Vis.This traditional hand made cake,its harmonious mixture taste of figs, aromatic herbal, brandy and fennal , smell of bay leaves and rosemary, has the charm of ancient times. A small piece of HIB restored quickly the strenght of hard working vineyard farmers. In evrey house a few HIBs were saed for Christmas days and other festivities. Stored until then in laurel and rosemary leaves it was taken out, cut in thinly slices and served to friends and guestes with a small glass of aromatic herbal brandy.
Photo source: http://bit.ly/17NPf7S
Photo source: http://bit.ly/17NPf7S

Native to the Mediterranean region, the fig tree appears in some images of the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with leaves that are usually said to be from the fig tree, and Islamic tradition mentions two forbidden trees in Eden—a fig tree and an olive tree. In Greek and Roman mythology, figs are sometimes associated with Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), god of wine and drunkenness, and with Priapus, a satyr who symbolized sexual desire.

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The fig tree has a sacred meaning for Buddhists. According to Buddhist legend, the founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, achieved enlightenment one day in 528 B. C. while sitting under a bo tree, a kind of fig tree. The bo or bodhi tree remains a symbol of enlightenment.

In legends, as fruit or in delicious recipes, we can say that fig is a queen indeed. Who knows, perhaps my next investment will be another fig tree.

Photo source: http://bit.ly/ZbvIuY
Photo source: http://bit.ly/ZbvIuY

Mulberry – yet another forgotten fruit?

Yesterday, my dear friend gave me 1 jar of mulberry jam. Instantly , flavors brought me back to my childhood. Me, climbing to the peak of mulberry tree trying to reach most delicious fruit existing. Of course, mother wasn’t so happy about it (black hands, face, clothes, :))…

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The mulberry tree takes its name from its fruit, which looks like an elongated blackberry or raspberry. There are three species of mulberry, which vary in size and habitat. Their berry color may be deep purple, red, pink or white, depending on the species. Some newer fruitless cultivars have been produced to serve as ornamental trees.

Delicious, fleshy, succulent mulberries are low in calories (just 43 calories per 100 g). They contain health promoting phyto-nutrient compounds like polyphenol pigment antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

Mulberry Cupcakes
Mulberry Cupcakes

The Roman mythological tale of Pyramus and Thisbe provides a story of the mulberry fruit’s color. According to the tale, after the two lovers die tragically, the gods listen to Thisbe’s lament and forever change the color of the mulberry fruits into their red stained color to honor the forbidden love.

Thisbe John William Waterhouse 1909
Thisbe John William Waterhouse 1909

Mulberry tree was inspiration also for one of the greatest paintor ever walked the Earth. Van Gogh painted The Mulberry Tree in October of 1889 less than a year before he would die. Like most of his art, it was done during a period of highs and lows painted during a time of great self-awareness and yet surrounded by chaos.

Van Gogh SelfpotraitedThe Mulberry Tree
Van Gogh Self potraited
 Mulberry Tree

The mulberry likes to send its roots down deep, you would know it is hard to dig up a mulberry tree that has been growing for a long time. Black mulberries have been known to bear fruit for hundreds of years. An old mulberry tree can live longer than people and keep making fruits for hundreds of years.

I have no choice, but, while waiting for the summer and first mulberries, to look for best recipes and prepare myself for picking those once again :). One example is recipe below…

How not to make mulberry jam…

Trogir; Carved out of History and Stone

Trogir
Trogir
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ACI marina Trogir

I love people and the summer rush.  Like a river they are floating through the narrow streets of Trogir during summer season. City, so small, but full of life. Beautiful!

But, how lucky I am to experience history of this ancient city, almost alone? Winter Sunday walk through town carved out of history and stone. Almost, like a ghost town.

Amazing senses given on a plate only for me. What a delightful feeling!

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Čiovo bridge

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Pasike

The museum-town of Trogir is located on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Surrounded by a sparkling sea and 2300 years of history, this little town counts itself among the best preserved Romanesque-Gothic towns in Central Europe. Also known as the Stone Beauty, Trogir is situated a mere 20 km from the city of  Split, making it a very popular tourist stop.

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Tower Kamerlengo
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Kamerlengo cracks
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Street

Trogir’s medieval core, surrounded by walls, comprises a preserved castle and tower and a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Trogir has a fascinating 2300 years of continuous urban tradition. Its rich culture was created under the influence of old Greeks, Romans, and Venetians.

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The city gate

Trogir has a high concentration of palaces, churches, and towers, as well as a fortress on a small island, and in 1997 was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“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”, says UNESCO report.

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St.Lawrence
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Radovan Portal

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Trogir’s grandest building is the church of St. Lawrence, whose main west portal is a masterpiece by Radovan, and the most significant work of the Romanesque-Gothic style in Croatia.

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Palace Cipiko

The most important sites:

– Historical city core, with about 10 churches and numerous buildings from 13th century
– The city gate (17th cent.) and city walls (15th cent.)
– The Fortress Kamerlengo (15th century)
– The Duke’s Palace (13th century)
– The cathedral of St. Lawrence from the 13th century with the Portal of Master Radovan, the unique work of this great Croatian artist
– The big and small palaces Cipiko from the 15th century
– The city loggia from 15th century

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KAIROS STORY

Outstanding Greek bas-relief from the beginning of the3rd century B.C. – The figure of the naked young man personifies KAIROS – according to ancient Greek’s comprehension the God of the “fleeting moment”, a favorable opportunity opposing the fate of man. This favorable moment must be grasped (i. e. the winged, permanent running Kairos by his tuft of hair), otherwise the moment flies away without return and cannot be caught any more …The bronze Kairos statue known in literature and made by the famous Greek sculptor Lysippos from Sikyon, was probably the model for the relief from Trogir.
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Kairos
KAIROS relief is kept in the Benedictine nunnery with the church of St. Nicolas. It is discovered in Spring 1928 in a abandoned house of Stanosevic family. 

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