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The Silk Route - World Travel: Croatia: Klis and Trogir Walls of Ston
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Croatia: Klis, Trogir & Walls of Ston
May 2016

Klis Trogir Walls of Ston
Trogir cathedral west portal


Croatia has some fine fortifications and Klis and the Walls of Ston are among the best. Tiny Trogir is a maze of narrow streets and medieval buildings, with the most beautiful carved 13th century cathedral portal.

 

Klis

Klis fortress croatia

 

The magnificent fortress of Klis, familiar to Game of Thrones fans, stretches along a rocky ridge a few kilometres inland from Split.

It was the Romans who first fortified the strategic point, though the area had been inhabited from the 2nd century BC by the Illyrian tribe of Delmati. It was taken over by the Croats but by the end of the 11th century Hungaro-Croats were in charge. It withstood sieges and many attacks before succumbing to the Ottomans in 1537.

Klis fortress croatia
Second Entrance
Klis fortress croatia
Klis fortress croatia
Looking back over the First Entrance of the fortress to Split and the islands off the Adriatic coast.

In 1648 the Venetians finally managed to dislodge the Turks and the fortress was restored and enlarged under their rule. Later it was ruled by the Austrians and the French.

Klis fortress croatia
Third Entrance
Klis fortress croatia
Klis fortress croatia

Today it is a very impressive ruin, with much remaining intact. The leaflet given to visitors is very informative.

Klis fortress croatia

 

Trogir

Trogir croatia
View west from the cathedral tower.

 

Founded by the Greeks in the third century BC, tiny Trogir, 25km west of Split, sits on an equally tiny island, connected to the mainland by a single short bridge, a longer bridge linking it to the island of Ciovo.

On arriving we got completely lost in the maze of narrow alleyways and had to enlist the help of a local to find our hotel, the Trogas, tiny and rather cramped but we were only staying one night.

Trogir croatia
Many examples of the cylindrical holes through which poles were slotted. The wet sheets suspended from the poles caused cool air to be blown through the window behind.

 

Trogir croatia
Trogir croatia
Trogir croatia
Kamerlengo Fortress
A fifteenth century Venetian stronghold.
Trogir croatia
St. Mark's Tower
This fifteenth century tower stood at the intersection of the north and west town walls, north of the Kamerlengo Fortress.
Trogir croatia
The north gate into the town.

The jewel of the town is undoubtedly the central square with Romanesque St. Lawrence's Cathedral and the Renaissance loggia. Excellent view over the town from the cathedral bell tower.

Trogir croatia
Trogir croatia
West front of the cathedral.

Trogir croatia
The man has pattens on his feet - thick wooden-soled overshoes which would raise the wearer above muddy streets.

 

 

Trogir croatia
South front of the cathedral on the main square.
Trogir croatia

No question that my favourite bit of Trogir was the west portal of the cathedral. Created in 1240 by the Slav master-mason Radovan the doorway is carved with figures from the Old Testament, people at work, animals and mythical beasts - a real masterpiece.

Trogir croatia
Trogir croatia
Trogir croatia

Inside the cathedral is the flamboyant chapel of St. John of Trogir. The barrel-vaulted ceiling in particular is worth a look: it is covered with the carved heads of angels surrounding a bust of God the Creator looking down.

Trogir croatia
Trogir croatia
Chapel of St. John of Trogir
Trogir croatia
Town Loggia and clock tower from the cathedral bell tower.

At ground level, the rows of cherubs in doorways represent the passage from life to death.

 

 

 

Also on the main square is the loggia, a fifteenth century covered platform, very shady in hot summers, with an impressive clock tower. The loggia was used for public gatherings and legal services were also performed here at specified times.

 

Walls of Ston

 croatia
Dramatic lenticular clouds along the coast as we drove south.
Ston croatia
Ston with part of the wall on the hillside above.

When we left Split to drive to Dubrovnik we asked the receptionist at the Hotel Slavija where we were staying if there was anything we should see on the way. She pulled out a sheet of paper with several interesting stops and lots of information. We decided to break our journey for lunch in Ston and see the famous town walls - "the longest complete fortress system around a town in Europe"! We were intrigued, as we have seen many, including Carcassonne in France and Avila in Spain.

Ston croatia
Cultivated land in the Neretva Valley.

We passed through the fertile valley of the Neretva River, acres of orderly planted fields produce vast amounts of fruit and vegetables.

Ston croatia
Ston

Soon afterwards we crossed the narrow stretch of land which is Bosnia-Herzegovina's access to the sea.

Ston croatia
Ston croatia
Ston croatia
Ston with salt pans behind.

When we got there we found a truly immense length of wall connecting the villages of Ston and Mali Ston, 5 kilometres.

Ston croatia
The wall around the hill above Ston on its way to Mali Ston.
Ston croatia

The wall was built to protect a very important commodity: salt. The area has long been a centre for salt production and the industry is still carried on today.

Ston croatia
Ston croatia
Proper battlements!

 

Ston croatia

 

Before going up onto the wall we had lunch at Bakus in Ston - very popular with the locals. The area is renowned for its oysters - we had passed oyster beds on the way in, so I had a token oyster as an appetizer to try them and it was excellent, a mouthful of the sea (some might say why not just drink a glass of salty water but it's not the same!). Scampi, sea bass, chips and a chilled white wine followed by espressos set us up nicely for a walk along the impressive walls.

 

Ston croatia
Mali Ston
Ston croatia

Mali Ston has a port and the fortifications include a tower and several arsenals