They say, olive tree is like mother; giving selflessly even if she is neglected for years.
95% of all olive oil production in the world comes from the Mediterranean, and of course, even we are small, Croatia is one of those producers. And yes, you can be sure, olive oil from Croatia, is really from Croatia.
There are two regions here producing most of our oil. Istria and Dalmatia. We are in Dalmatia, so that means, everything here is much harder than in Istria when we talk about harvesting.
In Dalmatia, olives are scattered all over the place, and mostly, in areas which are hard to reach. Which means what?
Well, join us, and we will show you, the best we can through this post. If you want to know what does the olive try symbolize, legends and mythology surrounded about this fruit from heaven, or liquid gold as Homer called it, check out our older post;
So, it’s October, temperature is around 25 degrees, weather is pretty good. Wind up your watches ’cause we are getting up pretty early in the morning. Around 6 am. Drink your coffee, enjoy it, because later, well, you won’t have the chance ;).
Pack your food, lots of water, tools, and let’s go :).
As I already said, here, in Dalmatia, olives are all around, and ours are up, on the hill. You have to be a pretty good driver to past all the traps in front of you.
In other countries, people harvest olives by using machines that shake the entire trees. Here, we do it with our hands.
Please make sure you have suitable shoes, which are not slippery, because, there will be a lot of tree climbing. Also, no matter the temperature, you need to wear long sleeves, if you do not want to ‘cat scratch me’ look afterwards.
Girls, make sure your hair is secured as well.
Around noon, we will have 20 minutes off, for nice BBQ. Believe me, you will be hungry and you will enjoy it more than in a 5 star restaurant.
Around 4 pm, we are packing our stuff and it’s time to go home.
But the work isn’t complete. We need to shake our olives a little bit and clean the leafs. One of us, of course, is preparing dinner.
It’s 8 pm. You drink your Aspirin or any other pain killer and you go to bed. At 8 pm. Because tomorrow is Sunday, and yes, we are repeating this once again. And again. And again. We have around 500 olive trees. For our use mostly. Nothing professional. Yep, family thing. E-mail me if you want to buy it ;):
Does it sounds frightening? Perhaps. But, no matter sore muscles, we are doing it with joy. Because, we are thankful each year for the yield. We are thankful that we can spend so much time in the nature, hanging out, talking, laughing, crying from tiredness, instead being in front of TV or computer. We are thankful that we can enjoy our own oil. We are thankful for that and much more.
After all, we enjoy using olive oil. So, this time, let’s make a cake ;).
Poljica, a small fisherman place located 15 minutes North from beautiful Trogir. Beautiful beaches, clean sea, and friends we enjoy spending time with.
Our friend Dino, a fisherman during winter and best tourist guide during summer, has a boat for daily cruises from Poljica to island Drvenik (Krknjaši). During your little cruise, you stop to
at least 3 beautiful places great for swimming, you can have delicious lunch with great view in old stone house, and you can even try fishing with Dino. Believe me, you will not regret,
as he is fishing since he was a little boy, and, he definitely can teach you something and provide you with great lunch you fished by yourself.
Isn’t that the best feeling?
So, Sunday 8:00 AM. Everybody on board!, Dino yells, as we throw our bags full of food, drinks and all kind of accessories for our kids. You can never have enough of those :).
Beautiful weather, clean and glass sea, fresh coffee served on board (and perhaps another 10 times during the day), and friends laughing and enjoying our little summer cruise.
First stop, Krknjaši – Blue Lagoon
Krknjaši cove on the Drvenik island, surrounded with Veli Krknjaš and Mali Krknjaš islets, is a real tropical lagoon from the picture postcards. It is not far away from land but a world away from mainstream tourism. Well known to yachtsmen and captains of megayachts who love to cruise these unspoiled waters and enjoy the secluded beaches, little known outsiders (www.trogir-sailing.com).
After we enjoyed beautiful morning for swimming, we got hungry! This beautiful bay has restaurant Krknjaši, but hey; with 5 big guys and full box of fresh meat, only choice was barbecue (gradele prepared meat).
Beautiful old stone house with great host, amazing view and a chance to prepare your own food. With friends you enjoy spending your time with, can life be any better than this?
Local wine from our vineyards, vegetables from our gardens, our olive oil, and delicious barbecue in combination with summer breeze and beautiful view can be described as true hedonism.
After another swimming, another coffee, we anchored in two more beautiful bays, enjoying deep blue sea.
On our way home, with sunset in front of us, we could only wish for one thing: To repeat this as often as possible!
I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin
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I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin
Yesterday, we had windy, but sunny day, here in Split. So, what is the best way to spend a day like that, but take a seaside walk.
And we did!
I think, most of us, Dalmatians, feel certain tranquility being close to the sea. We do not have to swim in it, or sail,…we just need to see it, feel it, or here it
so we can be sure it is there. Near us.
It felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
A glass of wine, and we will say, not chestnut but fish (cod fish for example) and the sound of sea. Nothing else.
Enjoy our walk together with us.
P.S. Recipe for Cod fish brodetto (Bakalar brodetto)
Cod fish Brodetto
2 lbs of cod fish
3 lbs of potatoes
3 large yellow onions
large can of whole tomatoes
10 garlic cloves
a bunch of parsley
2 cups of white vine
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Cut the Cod fish into two to 3 inch long pieces and put them in a bowl with water and cover it. Change the water every 8 hours, three times.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices, Slice the onions, mince the garlic and chop the parsley.
In a large pot start assembling your brodetto. On the bottom put a layer of onions, then a layer of potatoes, layer of fish and crush a little bit of tomatoes and tomato juice on top. Do this until you are all done and then on top of it put your garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and bouillons.
Pour the wine and olive oil on the top and then add some water to about and inch from the top of the food. Cook on medium until the potatoes are done, for about 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure to serve some great bread on the side because the broth is to die for!
This is even better the next day and it freezes well.
Noćas ću pod sviću bacit peškafondo
zapalit španjulet i odmorit dušu.
Pridat ću se moru miru i tišini
zaboravit sve ću stvari ča me gušu.
It is difficult to translate above lyrics, as you would have to be a Dalmatian just for a day, and spend one night at the sea, under the sky, just to have a small sensation what sea, sky, boat, and fish means to people living in Croatia.
In short words, when fisherman sail from shore to the sea, he forgets about all the problems that smuggles him in life. It’s just him and the silence he feels while away from the land.
Fishing tradition on the Adriatic is long. In Croatian Maritime Museum in Split you can see fishing boat ‘Perina’, at the museum courtyard, a traditional Dalmatian ‘gajeta’, one of the oldest surviving vessels on the east Adriatic coast. It is little to say that this gajeta represents centuries of local sailing knowledge and tradition.
Oldest document about fisheries in Croatia is dated around the year 995. and its been kept in historical archives in Zadar.
The everyday life of Croatian fishermen did not change a lot from previous centuries. Yes, we have motor fishing boats now, strict laws, and less fish then before, but conditions modern fishermen is facing out at the open, are the same. Early start, all night work, coldness, bad weather, wet clothes, tiredness, and modest food is something that bond fishermen throughout the history.
BUT, that did not stopped us, as yes, we did; we were brave enough to experience one night at the sea. It was difficult, it was hard. Oh yes! Every five minutes we wanted to give up and swim back home just to feel warm bed. We stayed. We fished. And we were most glad we did.
Our reward was octopus under the bell (lid). It tasted so good. Yep, you do not want to miss an adventure like this! 🙂
One day, I will find right words, and they will be simple.
Dalmatia…Right word, simple word.
Simplicity is the essence of this region. Simple but most delicious food, slow life mood, beauty seen in everyday life, especially during summer time.
Summer … Mid-August … We finally have enough sun to steal a little gold… It is time for picking figs, we are preparing for the the new school year, doing our best to brighten holidays for our visitors…
We are enjoying singing crickets, cold watermelon, morning and afternoon coffee …
Grilled fish, tomatoes and cucumbers salad and glass of good wine or a cold beer. Can life be more beautiful?
Each day should be spent finding beauty in little things.
From ancient times, life in Dalmatia was sustained by fishing, olive oil and wine. Life on the Dalmatian islands and coast today has not changed much in that regard. Perhaps today, we appreciate this life even more by giving more love and time. The coast and the islands are carved with thousands of small bays and pebbled beaches.
We are giving our precious time and love entirely to summer and Dalmatia and we do enjoy in simple life this region is offering to us :).
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.
Blue, 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 🙂
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”.
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.
“Coffee is far more than a beverage. It is an invitation to life, disguised as a cup of warm liquid. It’s a trumpet wake-up call or a gentle rousing hand on your shoulder … Coffee is an experience, an offer, a rite of passage, a good excuse to get together.” ― Nichole Johnson
Morning coffee, lunch coffee, afternoon coffee, sometimes even evening coffee…There is no bad time for drinking coffee, there is only bad coffee and bad coffee friends. Locals have perfected the art of “taking a coffee”, as it is called, often making a single coffee last for hours. This is mostly because the experience is not really about drinking coffee, but more about socializing.
Tourists descending upon Croatia, especially the coast, are quite often surprised when they see how relaxed the atmosphere is and how eagerly the citizens of Split for example, hog chairs and tables on café terraces in the squares and streets of this city.
So all of you out there planning to blend with locals on your vacation and immerse yourself in Croatia’s habits and tradition, these are two basic goals you might want to aspire to:
– once in a coffee shop, sit back, relax and forget the notion of time ever existed
– make a single coffee last for hours (closely related to the first goal)
The earliest evidence of coffee drinking comes from 15th-century Yemen. By the late 15th century and early 16th century, coffee had spread to Cairo and Mecca.In the 1640s, the Ottoman chronicler İbrahim Pecevi reported the opening of the first coffeehouse in Constantinople.
In more recent times, the traditional drinking of Turkish coffee has been diminished by the growing availability of other hot beverages such as tea (grown locally and bought without hard currency), instant coffee, and other modern styles of coffee.
At a time when most European cities gets first cafe, the first coffee house is being opened in Croatia, as well. It was opened by a trader in Zagreb,Leopold Dun in the 1748th year. Guests at the Duna, except for coffee, could drink tea and chocolate. Coffee is purchased in the Netherlands, which was at that time the forefront of the coffee market. Old documents from 1756, mention Valentiusa Horu, yet one of the first Zagreb “caffeariusa.”
By the end of the 18th Century, a large number of lavishly decorated cafe is being opened. In the second half of the 19 century café culture is becoming very popular, which was good for opening a coffee house in other Croatian cities. It was place for social elite, where you could hear turbulent philosophical discussions on various topics, especially on culture and politics. Coffeehouses for good reason are called “Platonic Academy”. Leading European newspapers were available in these coffe shops, and guests had free usage of phone as well.
Called the ‘Satan’s drink’ in the Western world, it gained popularity, thanks to high prices commanded by tea, only after the 18th century.
Well, no matter the name, we can’t wait for our lunch brake and get a cup of coffee…
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.
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…
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…
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!
“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”.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings Croatian Mussels
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.
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.
When the village dies, or when people leave, it is like stone receptacle come alive, in order to save the village, or at least the memory of it. As if they become alive, to move through the village, to replace people once lived there … When the village dies its soul stays in stone receptacles. They are last to die.
Rural heritage…Yes, I love these words. But, walking through this, almost, completly abandoned village, I felt like I am walking through a village of ghosts. So many empty houses,so many memories written in stone. No matter my feelings, rural heritage in Croatia in recent years is recognized as one of leading ideas of tourism development. Which I most welcome. Rural tourism in Croatia today has the special importance, because one of its key roles are to preserve tradition on the way to use rural heritage creatively. It is equally valuable part of its cultural heritage and in recent years in Croatia is visible increased concern and care for its restoration (source:http://hrcak.srce.hr/file/157989)
As famous croatian writer Vladimir Nazor wrote, I can imagine all the pains of our ancestors, their blood, sweat, tears, the fear, hunger and thirst. Sorrow and bitterness. That is how their life was. Seeing these ruins, everything comes alive again, and I hope that this rural heritage will not be forgotten, nor the people who lived here, and that new people will cherish a new life remembering the old one.
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.
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.
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.
We wrote before about Punta Planka or Cape of Diomedes. But let us remember few things :).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I live in Split. Beautiful city, but, I grew up in a small village, so, weekends are usually booked for family visits.
It is such a thrill when you can experience so many different landscapes in such a small area. In just an hour away from Split, starting from Split, you can feel the city rush, admire to massive mountain Kozjak, rest your eyes in endless green, and meditate with sense of blue.
There is no need for further writing, photos speak for themselves.
Thus, often, I spend weekends and indeed, hedonistically, I love it.
Once fruit for poor people, today, delicacy for selected ones. Figs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amazing photos and weekend winter journey of my dear friend Dalmatian Hedonist…Divine colors, senses…What else to add?
It brings us freedom, adventure, and calmness. We laugh, we cry, we fear, we admire. Underneath the blue sky, sailing is alliance with nature. Nature is more powerful than us. We harness its forces to our best ability and it can be a wild exhilarating ride. Then there are quiet moments that etch themselves into our memory, where seas and skies provide moments of pure beauty.
Stepping away from the land is like stepping away from the world you know. A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s, Bernard Moitessier said. And what is better than return to your childhood and be a child again.
Croatians were and are sailors since long ago. We are mentioned as fearless pirates back in 642. We were known also as successful shipbuilders. Already at the time of Prince Vladislav (821-835), the sources mention a strong navy. Thanks to the maritime power of Croatia, prince Mislav of Croatia (835-845) enabled Venice to establish control on the Eastern Adriatic. The King of Croatia and Dalmatia Petar Krešimir IV (1058–1074) expanded its kingdom “on land and on sea”. In his deed of donation to the convent of Saint Krševan in Zadar in 1069, it is stated that he donates the island of Maun situated “in our Dalmatian sea” (in nostro dalmatico mari). The Duke of the Croatian Royal Navy Rusin is mentioned at the time and the fact that the very title of Duke could be borne only by governmental dignitaries is proof of the navy importance.
During the period of personal union with Kingdom of Hungary, the Croatian coast fell under Venice and its naval power deteriorated. But this is the time when the fleet of the Republic of Dubrovnik, which kept its independence, started to rise. The size of the Fleet of Dubrovnik in 1800, together with fishing ships, was 673 clippers. 255 of them were bigger ships that sailed outside the territorial waters of Dubrovnik. The total number of transatlantic clippers was 230 ships. The Republic had its consulates in over 80 cities. At that time Dubrovnik had about 7,000 seamen, shipbuilders, shipowners and members of other maritime professions.
It is obvious that sea and ships are part of our history, but also our present. Sailing in Croatia is a trend, which is no wonder considering that you can experienceover a thousand islands, innumerable coves, bays and beaches. The old-towns will have you feeling as though you have stepped back in history, and the quaint fishing villages will make you forget about the crazy pace of the outside world. But, what is most important, sailing, no matter is it in Croatia, or somewhere else, will give you that special feeling that you are becoming a friend with nature, wild nature. The best sound ever. The sound of silence under the sky and above deep, deep sea.
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!
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.
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 2300years of continuous urban tradition. Its rich culture was created under the influence of old Greeks, Romans, and Venetians.
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 theUNESCO 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.
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.
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
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.
KAIROS reliefis kept in theBenedictine nunnery with the church of St. Nicolas. It is discovered in Spring 1928 in a abandoned house of Stanosevic family.
All through the village, bodies have banished light. They have driven it downhill
Like hostages to piratical Adriatic galley Come to enslave them.
In the first one hundred years Dalmatian village went through three crucial periods. The first, at the end of the 19th century, was characterised by a rapid growth of viticulture followed by a great decline at the beginning of the 20th century which caused a large economic crisis, poverty and mass emigration. The second period stretches throughout the second half of the 20th century and is marked by the country’s industrialisation, the socialist concept of agricultural development and a sharp fall of agricultural population and exodus from rural areas. The characteristic of the third period is the adoption of the liberal concept of development in which family farming is predominant.
Renewal of olive cultivation has advanced considerably since the eighties initiated by the UNDP project and new vineyards are being planted. This creative boost is still present today. Each of these periods had a special influence on the development of the rural villages.
From ancient times, life in Dalmatia was sustained by fishing, olive oil production and wine making, and the sea pathways allowed for easy distribution of these products throughout Europe. Life on the Dalmatian islands today has not changed much in that regard, except for the recent boom in the tourism industry. The sea is rich in fish, and no modern technology can compare to the efficiency of classic, old-fashioned fishing methods on small wooden boats that have served the local fishermen for centuries.
The entire length of Croatia’s Adriatic coast is delineated by steep, rocky mountains that plunge into the sparkling, crystal-clear sea. The coast and the islands are carved with thousands of small bays and pebbled beaches. Small villages and towns made entirely of stone are nestled among the bays, skillfully built by stonemasons and artists.
Even poor, without modern technology, people in Dalmatian village were always blessed by joy and song.
The 18th chapter of the manuscript titled “Poverta delle Parochie Illiriche” ([The Poverty of the Illyrian/Croatian Parishes) contains a description which reads as follows, in translation:
“Although the villages are small, they have their parish priest and his subordinates, the curates and ordinary priests. On Sundays and holy days they solemnly sing the mass and the canonic hours (le ore canoniche), and on ordinary days they sing the mass on anniversaries (of deaths of members of the parish) and the requiem masses. Their singing is not accompanied by musical instruments, they do not require special training. It is comprised of certain unembellished, moving melodies which arouse religious feeling. The choir has quite a number of members as it is made up of priests, clerics, students and many other laymen for whom learning the prayers which are sung is no problem, being in their own language, nor is it difficult for them to adapt their voices to the singing which requires more piety than skill”
Perhaps, D.M.Thomas, a Cornish novelist, poet and translator gave the best description of dalmatian village in his poem describing hard life of a woman surrounded by beauty of this amazing pearl called Dalmatia.
All along the beach, bodies have banished shadows.
Mid-afternoon sun broils and burnishes
Unction of suntan lotion on sleek nude bodies
Isolated by solar worship, their hatred of darkenss.
Lazy arms of frauleins break their torpor
To unfasten a strap: God heals the thin white back-wounds
Hungrily with gold. The is is an azure-gold basilica
Mosaic. Bodies have banished shadows;
Under the devaginating sun
All is gold, gold,
Leaving only the round blacks of sunglasses
As an instalment of evening,
They have left,
Have swarmed up the crumbling steps to the fortress-village,
Like Gadarene swine,
Through cobbled streets piled with grey houses,
Where old women swollen with olives sit
Silent on doorsteps, bluck muffled from head to toe,
As they must have sat when the frauleins’ fathers
Their eyes as subtly downcast
As their house-shutters’ lattices
They keep out heat and light, harves the sparse coolness
Subtly as oriental women.
The ox roosts in coolness.
The donkey reeks out from a dark stall.
The passions of the old women are darkly, cooly-lidded.
The photos on their graves
In the cypress-secluded cemetery
Will be slender brides.
All through the village, bodies have banished light.
“There was a single blue line of crayon drawn across every wall in the house. What does it mean? I asked. A pirate needs the sight of the sea, he said and then he pulled his eye patch down and turned and sailed away.”
Hear the word “pirates,” and you probably think of the Pirates of the Caribbean in the 17th century’s Golden Age of Piracy. Swashbuckling freebooters plundering the Spanish Main, swinging on ropes and burying chests of doubloons.
While Hollywood and adventure novels have given these buccaneers most of the press, they were hardly the only pirates to ravage the seas. One of the stranger, and most dangerous, bands of pirates were the Uskoks who terrorized the Adriatic Sea in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
The northeast coastline of the Adriatic Sea had been inhabited by several peoples engaging in piracy from the earliest time. These groups varied in size and ferocity depending on the age and the economic situation. The pirates of Adriatic mainly seized goods from the merchant vessels passing their settlements, though they also made some rare incursionos inland, to pillage settlements and grab inhabitants to turn into slaves fro ransom. Pirates activities were first documented in the early 1 st Century ad and continued until the mid 17th Century. Regular sea traffic (Dalmatian coast was obligatory route for the rich merchant ships sailing between the Levant and the vast lands of Europe), morphology of the land (easy to escape and hide due to many islands and narrow channels), easy ambushes and support of local population made piracy a profitable business for Dalmatians.
Pirates of Adriatic Sea preffered more than anything Venetian Ships. South of Istria, along the Dalmatia coast, Slavic invaders had seized control of the area where the Narenta (Neretva) River enters the Adriatic. From the stronghold the Slavs launched incessant pirate raids on Venetian merchant ships that attempted to run their gauntlet and reach the Mediterranean. Sometimes the Slavs were joined by marauding vessels from cities of the upper Dalmatia coast, such as Zara (Zadar) and Spalato (Split); at other times the Narenta Pirates (Neretljanski gusari hrv.) preyed on those other Dalmatians as well.
It is interesting that the last refuge for pirates in the ancient time period was in the Adriatic. Dalmatia’s coast made it difficult for pursuers to hunt down the pirates. When Rome annexed Dalmatia in CE 9, it ceased to be a heaven for pirates.
Mediterranean pirates sailed in galleys of various sizes with sleek, narrow hulls. (Although such a vessel often had a single sail, her primary means of propulsion came from oars. This meant men were needed to row, thus raids on villages provided slaves to do this job. Painted eyes adorned the prows so those aboard could “see” their prey.
The Uskoci were Croatian soldiers that inhabited the areas of the eastern Adriatic and the surrounding territories during the Ottoman wars in Europe. Etymologically, the word uskok itself means “the ones who jumped in” (“the ones who ambushed”) in Croatian. Bands of Uskoks fought a fairly successful guerrilla war against the Ottomans, and they formed small units and rowed swift boat.
During the early years of the 16th century, the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia and Herzegovina drove large numbers of Croats from their homes. A body of these “uskoks” established itself in the fortress of Klis near Split, and from there waged war against the Ottomans. Klis, however, became untenable, and the uskoks withdrew to Senj, on the Croatian coast. Their new stronghold, screened by mountains and forests, was unassailable by cavalry or artillery. Large galleys could not anchor in the bay of Senj, which is shallow and exposed to sudden gales. So, the uskoks fitted out a fleet of swift boats, which were light enough to navigate the smallest creeks and inlets of the shores of Illyria.
Moreover, these boats were helpful in providing the uskoks a temporary landing on shore. With these they were able to attack numerous commercial areas on the Adriatic. Eventually, the uskoks saw their ranks swell as outlaws from all nations joined them. These outlaws also included people from areas such as Novi Vinodolski, Otočac and other towns in what is today Croatia. The uskoks would conduct such acts up until 1615 when their piracy went so far as creating an open war between Venice and Austria.
Pirate battle Omiš
This unique event which reconstructs the original Pirate battle that occurred in the 13th century between the Venetians and Omis pirates, which were one of the most powerful maritime forces on Adriatic from 11th to 13th century. In this way town’s tradition and history are being relived again, and tourist offer is being broadened, giving Omis visitors something new and interesting. Stories of Omis pirate past, of pirates who were feared by many greater maritime forces, of battle fought against Venetians and crusaders, have always attracted large audience.
By accepting Christianity and Christian culture and civilization, Croatian rulers accepted European ideals as well, and established their own chancelleries by following in the footsteps of European rulers. That is why the dating of the oldest Croatian documents was deeply-rooted in the Christian era and Christian holidays dated from the birth and incarnation of Jesus.
King Petar Krešimir IV, for instance, granted a benefice to the Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist which exempted it from paying all taxes in “1059, in the Year of theIncarnation of Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Moreover, Dalmatian bishops and the bishops from northern Adriatic diocese held a synod in the presence of Petar Krešimir IV on Christmas 1066.
On this occasion, the nun Cika from the Zadar Convent of St. Mary applied to Petar Krešimir IV to exempt her convent from the payment of local taxes, which he did. These privileges were confirmed to the monastery by Krešimir’s successor, the new Croatian King Dmitar Zvonimir, beginning with the words: “In the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, in the year of our Lord 1075.” There are a number of other Croatian medieval charters which are dated according to Christ’s birth or resurrection.
The presence of Christmas is also shown by the many beautiful Christmas carols. It is interesting that the Croats have more than 500 (five hundred) Christmas carols. There are Christmas verses that can have a dozen of different melodies, varying considerably from region to region.
The number of Croatian Christmas carols is surprisingly large even in world’s proportions. The oldest preserved texts of Croatian Christmas carols are from 1380, kept in th Paris Song Book, within the Croatian Glagolitic book called the Paris Miscellany, kept in the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris, sign. Code slave 11.
Scenes of the birth of Jesus Christ can be found in the oldest Croatian sculptures and paintings. Almost every cathedral in Croatia has them, and more than a few rural churches are decorated with such representations of Christ’s birth. Among the oldest and most valuable art works containing Christmas themes and messages is the portal of the cathedral in Trogir. On this thirteenth century masterpiece, Master Radovan succeeded in connecting scenes of Christ’s birth, the journey of the Three Kings and the adoration of the shepherds.
The richness of the Christmas table has always had a kind of magical meaning, since it was believed that plenty of food in the old year would ensure plenty during the entire following year.
Christmas Eve is traditionally spent in vigil, symbolically accompanied by making light in various ways, with candles or by maintaining a fire in the fireplace where the Yule-log is burned. The name for the day before Christmas Day is derived from the archaic Croatian word bodar or bader which means to be awake; this word clearly indicates that it is a night when a vigil will be kept in the expectation of the birth of Christ. The joyous moment of the Nativity is awaited throughout Croatia at midnight masses called polnocka. The celebration of the most popular mass is marked with numerous Croatian Christmas carols that echo in homes under the decorated Christmas trees until the Epiphany, January 6.
Ancient civilizations used sage as the cure for almost all diseases. It had the status of a sacred plant and it was the symbol of fertility, good health and long life. Its power is perhaps best described by axiom originated in Salerno:
Why should die the man in whose garden grows sage?
The ancient Greeks and Romans first used sage as a meat preservative. They also believe it could enhance memory. Its Latin name Salvia tell us much about its reputation and gratitude by the people at that time feel to it because the name Salvia comes from the Latin word “salvus” which mean saved, healthy. Pliny prescribed it for snakebite, epilepsy, intestinal worms, chest ailments, and menstruation promotion. Dioscorides considered it a diuretic and menstruation promoter and recommended sage leaves as bandages for wounds. Around the 10th century, Arab physicians believe sage extended life to the point of immortality. After the Crusades, this belief showed up in Europe where the saying : “Why should a man die who grows sage in his garden?” evolved. Charlemagne ordered sage grown in the medicinal herb gardens on his imperial farms and the French called the herb toute bonne, meaning all’s well.
Every country’s herbals recommended sage: an Icelandic book from the year 1000, Hildegard of Bingen, Chinese physicians, Ayurvedic physicians and John Gerard and Nicholas Culpeper. Folk healers in America used sage to treat insomnia, epilepsy, measles, seasickness and intestinal worms. The Eclectics used it primarily to treat fever and also prescribed sage poultices for arthritis and the tea as a sexual depressant. As late as the 1920s, US medical texts recommended sage tea as a gargle for sore throat and sage leaf poultices for sprains and swellings. English herbalists believed that in the garden, this plant would prosper or wane as the owner’s business prospered or failed. It was also said that the plant grows vigorously in any garden where the wife rules the house. It was common, then, for the husband to prune the garden ruthlessly to destroy the evidence of his subservience. In France, it was displayed in cemeteries to mitigate grief.
Dalmatian Sage (Salvia officinalis)
This magical herb is not only among the most healing herbs of our planet, but is considered the queen of healing herbs.
Dalmatian sage is a synonym for Salvia officinalis grown in Dalmatia. There are numerous researches that proof that sage from Dalmatia has best sage characteristics in all aspects; in aromatherapy, culinary or in medicinal uses. It was specified that Dalmatian soil and climate (especially Far Infrared Rays from stones and rocks on its habitat) combination delivers such remarkable results.
Dalmatian sage has been recognized for thousands of years, and its value was best prized by Chinese who traded Dalmatians with Marco Polo’s after-mach journeys by formula: 3 shares of best Chinese herbs that they had for 1 share of Dalmatian sage.
Ground sage is a orgin and variety non-specified product. It is dried sage mix of leaf, petioles and stems.
Today, the sage somewhat forgotten because of the arrival of many pharmaceutical drugs, however this is slowly changing as more people are turning to nature and natural products.
The meat industry used ground sage, or its essential oil as a supplement to meat products because of its aroma and antioxidant compounds that prevent rancidity. In the cosmetics industry, its essential oil is added to toothpaste, Mouthwash and soaps. The essential oil is added and some soft drinks, candy and chewing gum.
The art of Aromatherapy
Sage oil is extracted in the same manner as it was in historical times. Leaves placed on large drying racks left in the sun to dry before they are distilled.
Sage has a long running history of medicinal uses as a blood cleanser, spring tonic, cool a fever, appetite support, earache, skin conditions, wounds its noted that massage with sage included helps ease muscular tension and pain, even rheumatism.
Sage tea is very beneficial effect in people suffering from spinal cord disease, gland disease, paralysis and trembling limbs. Because of its anti-inflammatory, and hormonal detoksicirajućeg regulatory action beneficial effect on the beauty of your skin. Therefore we recommend to people with problem skin to the smearing Hydrosol drink sage tea and sage.
PREPARATION MILD TEA FOR THE PREVENTION AND EVERYDAY USE
-in a pot of boiling water put 3 large dried sage leaves on each 3 dl of water, so cook for 1-2 minutes and then cover and let stand for 5 minutes, then remove the leaves and the tea is ready for the beverage, if desired you can add a tablespoon of honey. (Recommendation: sage honey) – the prepared tea daily can drink up to 2 cups a day.
It was Athens, goddess of wisdom, the wisest of Zeus’s daughters, that had stuck a spear into the ground at the break of civilization, and the spear had turned into an olive tree…
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It was Athens, goddess of wisdom, the wisest of Zeus’s daughters, that had stuck a spear into the ground at the break of civilization, and the spear had turned into an olive tree…
In Ancient Rome, the olive oil traders dedicated a statue and a temple to Hercules Olivarius, and the dead were traditionally decorated with olive boughs. In Ancient Pompei the Romans used olive oil for washing their hair. The Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ often prayed and was arrested, was described by the disciples as an olive grove.
It is said that in Italy there is an olive tree that is 3500 years old. Olive trees can be seen as a symbol of tradition and a witness of eras gone by. It is a bearer of long forgotten times and legacies. There is another sights in Kastel Stafilic, the oldest olive tree in Croatia, a natural monument, an olive tree more than 1500 years old. It is supposed that it has been brought from the South Italy or Greece, planted here for someone’s personal needs, to produce the high quality olive oil. Later on, this specie has spread all over the Dalmatia.This oldest olive tree in Croatia has survived many wars, diseases, natural disasters and human negligence and is still bearing fruits.
This is one of the reasons why the olive tree is regarded as a symbol of patience: looking at an olive tree gives a feeling of serenity, peace and tranquility. Furthermore, the olive tree is the symbol of immortality: it gives power to kings and priests, and it’s boughs crown heroes and Olympic champions.
Even today the olive tree has retained its symbolic power amongst the different cultures and nations.
The tree of wisdom: In several cultures the tradition says that the olive tree was gifted to from gods to people. Thus, the symbol of goddess Athena beside the owl symbolized an olive branch.
The tree of peace: Irena, the god of peace, daughter of Zeus and Themed, was always depicted with an olive branch in her hand. Later, in periods of war, the couriers of peace were sent holding a symbolic olive branch in their hand.
The tree of hope: In the Old Testament a dove returns with an olive branch in the ark, in order to announce the end of flood and bring hope to people.
The tree of light: The olive oil was used as lighting oil and thus it was considered to be source of light.
The tree of fertility: In folk tradition of Greek medicine the olive oil is considered to be aphrodisiac. People offered to new couples bread in oval shape were they previously purred the first oil of the year, as an antidote to sterility.
The tree of health: The value of olive oil to the health is widely known for centuries. Thus, the olive tree symbolizes power and health. Moreover, this symbolism is totally accurate due to the fact that olive trees are long-lived, simple and resistant.
The tree of wealth: For many families the olive trees and their products represent the main source of income.
The tree of balance: The olive tree was considered to be the tree of balance by the Celts. For this reason they devoted the day of 23rd of September to it as that particular date the day has the same duration as the night.
Tea from Olive Leaves
The leaves from olive trees can be useful in tea production. You may use either leaves directly collected from the tree or buy from the market.Recipe: Pestle the leaves and pure 1 or 2 spoons in boiling water. Five or ten minutes later leech and add some sugar or honey. The tea from olive trees can become very bitter if you boil it much time.This tea gives you much energy and it is recommended for adults to drink one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night, for young children one cup of tea per day and for school students one cup in the morning and one in the evening.
The Hellenes told the fable of the minor dispute that had broken out on Olympus between Neptune and Minerva, in order to decide who would reign in Attica. Jupiter proposed that the kingdom should be granted to whoever presented the most useful gift for Humanity. Neptune presented a horse as swift as the wind, while Minerva brought a small olive branch, affirming that in the future it would become a strong tree, capable of living for centuries and whose fruits would be good to eat and from them an extraordinary liquid would be able to be extracted for the nourishment of man, soothe his wounds, give strength to his body and light for his nights, since he would know how to keep a small flame lit for hours. Fired with enthusiasm, Jupiter decided that Attica would be for Minerva and that its capital would be known as Athens.
The importance of olive oil to the people of the Mediterranean is reflected in their writings and even their laws. The Greek poet Homer called it “liquid gold.” The Greek philosopher Democritus believed a diet of honey and olive oil could allow a man to live to be a hundred, an extremely old age in a time where life expectancy hovered around forty years. In the sixth century B.C. the Athenian legislator Solon introduced laws protecting olive trees. In a grove only two trees could be removed each year. Breaking this law incurred severe penalties, including execution. There are more than a hundred references in the Bible to olives and olive oil.
Olive tree in Croatia
Due to favourable natural and geographical conditions, olive production in Croatia has a long tradition. During the period of about the last six centuries, it has developed into one of the most important economic sectors of coastal Croatia. It is considered that the first cultivated olive trees were brought to the East Adriatic coast in the 4th century BC, by the Greeks (ŠKARICA ET AL., 1996). Since the olives adjusted to the natural, especially climatic, conditions, they were planted on the other islands and on the part of shore with same natural characteristics.
Speaking of the historical development of olive cultivation, it is necessary to explain its importance for the islands that were, for practical purposes, isolated from the shore until the second half of the 20th century. On a great number of Croatian islands, mostly those situated in the Middle or South Adriatic, during the summer there is a long period characterised by little or no rainfall. In addition, those islands are mostly composed of calcium-carbonate and dolomite, which is the main reason why there are no surface flows and all the water that comes from the rain goes into the subsoil. Since olive is a cultivar that does not demand a great quantity of humidity and is perfectly adjusted to the natural conditions of the coastal part of Croatia, people from the islands accepted it as the only, essential, source of fat. Besides on the islands, olives were introduced in other parts of coastal Croatia, wherever natural conditions (primarily climate) allowed their cultivation.
First notes about woman in Croatian history are mentioned by PorfirogenetConstantine VII (Porphyrogenitus) (959). Croats, on their way to homeland were escorted by five brothers and two sisters Tuga (Sorrow) and Buga.
But looking at the medieval, women were often accused for heresy, sorcery, witchcraft saying they were a witch. True, from Croatian medieval period, only one inquisition procedure was taken against women, from Šibenik, Mrna and Dobra. According to the paper, Dobra, common citizen, was a little too close to local noble man Drago Draginićim, with help of witchcraft of her mother, Mrna and herself. Yes, she enchanted him. But, procedure had happy ending. On August 19th 1443, city policeman Zanino is informing inquisitor that night before two ladies had escaped J.Don’t you love happy endings?
Woman is often described, even in our literature, as fickle and faithless temptress…Especially in anonymous Tkon zbornik book. According to the same, woman is the source of all evil. Watch out guys…*
There is also one interesting legend in history of Trogir, 500 years old.
Three sisters from Paittoni family were famous for their beauty (must have been witches), but also of hedonistic parties with young nobles (common in Croatian history).
On the Shrove Tuesday they were dancing with masks on their faces until late in the night. They wait for the midnight with their masks on their faces (Guard warned the crowd to stop dancing and to start praying) and Lent came. The party had to be finished, but sisters didn’t feel like going home.
Their punishment was severe. Omnius cloud loomed over the city, sea rumbled from the deep, unseen storm swept out the town.
Black masks became glued to their faces. In a panic, they ran into a church to pray and confess. Whole town together with three sisters prayed for forgiveness of their sins until finally masks fell from their faces.
In memory of these sinners, cathedral bells announce the Lent every Shrove Tuesday at midnight. They are called sad bells or bells of warning.
Bells were also ringing because of the belief that strong sound would disperse grey, storm-bringing clouds.
Locals from Trogir villages are still clapping when there is storm and strong thunder, for the very same reason.
Sometimes, they also rang to send away the devils, witches and other evil forces. In the past, every church had its own bell-ringer. Today, only small villages have them, even that tradition is disappearing as well.
Another interesting legend comes from Trogir area. Trogir is also well-known for its traditional cookies called Trogir’s rafioli.
According to the legend, a girl, named Rafiola was the first who baked them. Evil enemies imprisoned her in the Kamerlengo tower in Trogir. She was patiently waiting for her sweetheart and spending all the time baking delicious cookies. The young noble free the girl and brought her to his home where she kept baking rafioli for him till end of their lives.
Another legend is connected with Kamerlengo tower. Legend says: After the victory of the Venetians, they established their goverment in Trogir. On the high honor as the guardian of Fort was set a young nobleman Diego Morin, Venetian. Diego fell in love with young Trogir’s plebeian Zora Dragaceva. His parents could not get over class differences, so they destroyed their love and married him for a young noblegirl Orsola, also Venetian and also rich like Diego. Wedding was celebrated by Venetian politics circle and talked about it for a very long time. Diego never forgot Zora. On Diego’s wedding night, Zora wore a wedding dress, lay in a bed made of rose petals and drank poison. When he heard of Zora’s death, he moved to Trogir. Later, his wife came to him and bore him beautiful but sick daughter, little Diana. Diana likes to spend time with father, so she spend the most of the time in Fort Kamerlengo. Residents of Trogir often spoke that Diana looks the same as Zora, so Orsola hated her daughter and left Diana and Diego. Diana often spoke about her dreams. In her dreams she saw the city covered with rose petals and death of young women. Shortly after Diana died. Legend says that Diego never spoke again.
From all of this, we can definitely say, that being a woman brings lots of stories and legends behind.
*In the north of Croatia in Medjimurje there is an old custom on St. Lucy’s day on 13th December. A person wrapped in a sheet, called Baba Luca or Crna Luca (Old Luca or Black Luca), goes around the village frightening bad village children and threatening to eat them or to put out their eyes. With the arrival of Christianity this pagan winter goddess was pronounced to be a witch. So then it was the custom to make a wooden stool with three legs, the so-called ”Lucy’s chair”, in the period between St. Lucy’s day and Christmas. On midnight service the owner of the chair could climb on it and recognize witches from the village. Baba Luca and Crna Luca (Black Lucy) are also called Drvarica (wood gatherer) or Sumarica (forest woman) so people used to buy wood on St Lucy’s day. A Christian legend from the 3rd century AD tells of a saint who was blinded because she accepted Christianity. It is no wonder then that during festivities in the honour of St Lucy, which is a combination of pre-Christian and Christian beliefs, light is celebrated and ritual candles and fires are lighted.
In my previous post I wrote about Rota Palagruzona, oldest European regatta (from Island of Vis, Komiža to Palagruža Island). Old fisherman boats falkusa gajeta were first participants of the same.
What is interesting, is salt sardines which those boats carried. Why?
Well, as a true food lover, I adore sardines round cake also called Viška or Komiška pogača. Why or?
Well, as two biggest places on island Vis, Vis and Komiža always had certain tensions between themselves.
That can be seen also in this recipe.
Croatian gastronome Veljko Barbieri explored also the story about this specific ‘bread’ from Island Vis (Issa). Ancient Greeks were the ones who brought these recipes from Syracuse (Vis also is known as Dionysus Issa). In its older form, this cake had only bread with onion, garlic, petrusimula and fillets of salt fish, mostly sardines. And this is Viška pogača (Issa). But, thanks to Spain and her colonies, Europe as well as south Mediterranean start to use tomato, and tomato sauces. And that is cake from Komiža.
We like to call it also Croatian Pizza :).
This cake is a simple combination of two layers of bread dough and sardines filling within.
Ingredients (for 8 persons) Total cooking time: 1.5 hours
800 g (3 1/3 cups) flour
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 bag instant yeast
400 ml water
300 g (10.5 oz) canned crushed tomatoes
20 fillets of salted anchovy’s
Finely chopped parsley, pepper
Prepare the dough as if you are making bread. Leave it to rest until it doubles in volume. In the meantime, slice the onions and sauté them in olive oil. Add tomatoes, pepper and parsley and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Leave the sauce to cool down! When the dough is ready separate it in two unequal pieces: one slightly bigger, one slightly smaller. Roll out the bigger pieces and lay them on a large baking tray (35 x 40 cm) that you previously oiled with olive oil. The dough should be larger than the tray by 2 cm. Spread the sauce over the dough and arrange the fillets on top. Roll out the smaller piece; put it over the larger one. Press the top layer of dough and the bottom layer together. Use a fork to prick the whole pogača(every few centimetres) so that it doesn’t swell during baking. Oil the pogačawith olive oil and leave it to rest for another 10 minutes. Bake on 180 C (350 Fahrenheit) for 35 min, until it gets a nice yellow colour. You can increase the temperature to 200 C (400 Fahrenheit) in the last 15 minutes. Pull the breadfrom the oven and brush it again with olive oil. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Cut in rectangular pieces and serve.
By the name of great Trojan War hero (Homer Iliad), Diomedes , who was seeking for a shelter after fall of Troy at the coast of Adriatic Sea, it is called sea way, which connected Gargano Peninsula with Hyllus Peninsula (best known for Cape Ploče – Diomedes Cape).
Old records, in which historical facts are sometimes intertwined with myths and legends with archaeological findings, are merged into a mosaic of a small, yet so strong and powerful world whose historical significance and fate are determined by the sea and sailing.
On that, Diomedes route, during last millennium, falkusa boats from Komiža were sailing to Palagruža and sailing back with full vessel of salted anchovy, going with maestral and returning with jugo (maestral and jug are Croatian local winds).
Each fishing season always started with regatta. Coming first meant anchoring at best fishing position.
Rota Palagruzona is the oldest European regatta, forgotten in 20th century, but restored again in 21st century. More about today’s regatta you can find on this link Rota Palagruzona.
Falkusa* (Croatian falkuša) is a traditional fishing boat used by fishermen from the town of Komiža on the Adriatic island of Vis, Croatia. Falkusa is a subtype of gajeta**, a traditional Dalmatian fishing sailboat and is sometimes called gajeta falkuša.
**Legend says, after fall of Troy, Aeneas sails Mediterranean Sea in search of new land where he could raise new town. Founder of Rome was docked with his fleet at beach close to today city of Napoli. His nanny died after that, so he buries her on the same beach where his boats were docked. At that place, where Kaieta was buried – woman who fed with her milk founder of Rome, city was build with name Gaeta, after Aeneas’s nanny.
*First document about regatta with falkuša boats was mentioned in year 1593 (Liber Comisae, Nikola Borčič 18th century). According to that document, on May 9th, 1593, 74 falkuša boats started from Komiža with 370 fishermen armed with arquebuses (pirates defence) shepherded with Venetian war boats.
Recent archaeological discoveries on Palagruza prove that the island fascinated the Greek hero Diomedes, survivor of the Trojan War and one of the most famous Greek warriors along with Odysseus. After the Trojan War, Diomedes made his way to the Adriatic where he fought the Illyrians. It is believed that Diomedes’ final resting place is on the island. Legend has it that, after Illyrians killed Diomedes’ warriors, Zeus transformed their souls into birds. Ever since, they have been guarding the Trojan hero’s grave.
„In gratitude for their kindness, Jason endowed the Hylleans with a tripod, originally a gift to him from Apollo, which protects their country against invaders to this very day. They buried it for safe-keeping deep under the city of Hyllus, where it still lies hidden.“
What is interesting in the story itself, is the city of Hyllus. The city, country and people took their name from Hyllus, a son of Heracles and the water nymph Melite.
And where is Hyllus exactly? Well, today, it represents only a myth told by the great Apollonius. But location itself does exist.
Croatia, Dalmatia, in between city of Split and Šibenik. Small, but with so much history and stories hidden behind. There are so many
people in the world who do not know even where Republic of Croatia is. Would they be surprised knowing what secrets this country is hiding?
I was born here, and it is mystery also to me. So, I am going back to the past to experience that amazing life Hylleans for sure had.
Who were they? What was their life like? What did they leave to us? Do they still exist?
Back from the ancient Greece to 21st century, walk with them has to be interesting. 🙂
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.
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…
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
I love Croatia. Yes, I was born here, yes I do live here. But, I never saw my country in a way as I see it with my blog or Facebook page, writing about all the beauties which we are surrounded with, strong heritage, and simplicity which describes especially Dalmatia, and people and places situated here.
Sometimes, I feel, I do not have enough time to explore Dalmatia, let alone Croatia, and we are one of the smallest countries in the world. Does that even make any sense?
Last weekend we visited island Vis, Komiža and Blue Cave, and island Hvar. We enjoyed in five days vacation, especially in Komiža, a place, which brings us to some old times. Times, when we knew what is really matter in life.
Vis – island you are always coming back to.
Already in the early Stone Age, Vis was a meeting point for navigation routes, of peoples of various origins and of a variety of cultures. This has been the main characteristic of Vis’ history since ancient times until the present day.
At the beginning of 19th century 12,000 people lived here from all over Europe. That influenced Vis’ language where you can find, besides the derivates of the Venetian dialect, English, French, German and even Hungarian words.
Today when, at the beginning of August, you drive on the road to Vis, it really looks like a metropolis. Its shiny illumination extends, like at Christmastime, from the waterfront around the entire bay over the decorated masts, to all the town suburbs, where the lantern on the islet of Host flashes to the north. To the west, like a suburb the Stonca bay illuminates the cove always full of fishermen’s boats and local sailing boats whilst to the east the Renaissance town of Kut appears. The peaceful idyll of Kut encounters the summer turbulence of the port in Our Lady’s Batarija. A concert currently takes place within the Austrian fortress, a little owl can be heard and under its walls, Spanish visitors are usually the loudest there. A number of people come out in front of the summer cinema once the animated film has just finished, and the feature film is about to begin. On the waterfront new elements and toys shine. There are lasers, led lamps and a variety of coloured stroboscopes. Under the stern of the mega yacht called Aikea Guinea, the arctic neon glares and under it the flathead mullet have party, the two of them together are really big catches. Even the saxophone can be heard around here, “Fly me to the moon” whilst in front of the bank a boat karaoke show is moored. A French band plays In Bejbi and under the reflectors over Issa’s necropolis, someone has scored a goal.
Enjoy in the beautiful simplicity we found here and remember together with us how simple things can fulfill our lives with energy and joy. We only hope we will find time to visit all of our beautiful islands as often as possible, because, this luxurious, yet, simple beauty can bi found in each corner of Dalmatia.
We are looking forward to see what we will discover in other parts of our beautiful homeland.
After a long and successful season we took part on Vis regatta among 150 other cruisers , which has been organized for decades and this year celebrates its 70th jubilee.
Regatta traditionaly starts from Split and finishes in Vis port on island of Vis which is the farthes inhabited island off the Croatian mainland and was founded in 4th century BC by the Greeks and was known as colony Issa.
During the last century became the military-navy base of the Partisan army in socialistic Yugoslavia, Vis was closed to outsiders because of its strategic position (this regulation was terminated in 1989) and the entire island was turned into a large military fort.
But this isolation, however difficult it was for the inhabitants of the island of Vis, placed Vis among the favorite destinations of the entire Mediterranean when Croatia became independent. Beautiful beaches, preserved nature, ecological agriculture and preserved traditional architecture are unique advantages…
While a guest of room 204 of the former Hotel Zagreb, Hitchcock is quoted as saying: “The sunset of Zadar is the world’s most beautiful and incomparably better than in Key West, Florida”. This honour was bestowed upon the sunsets of Zadar back in May of 1964 and continues to garner much attention today.