September 19th, 2008 – by: Allen_Taylor
Woke up this morning just as we were cruising in to Split, Croatia. It was still dark, but from the balcony you could easily see the outline of the mountains across the early morning sky and groups of lights along the shore. Had to get a cup of coffee and just sit on the balcony for a while to enjoy the morning (the room service thing worked out so well, I had to try it again). The water here is an incredible cobalt blue that the camera doesn’t seem to capture. So dark that you don’t even notice at first, but once the sun is high and bright, the color is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
The trip to shore included Split, Solin, and Trogir.
Due to the nature of the harbor, we had to use the ship’s tenders to get ashore. The tenders each seat 120, so they still aren’t exactly small boats, but they can maneuver shallow waters.
Sunrise off the balcony.
The only stop in Split was the Mestrovic Gallery. The gallery is in Ivan Mestrovic’s summer house which he built in the 1930s. Mestrovic was primarily known as a sculptor, but also painted a bit (but without much notice). His work turned decidedly dark after the World Wars and he spent his final years in the U.S. teaching at Syracuse University. Half of the cities water is still supplied by an ancient Roman aqueduct. The structure, designed to supply water for the 3000 residents here at the time of it construction, now supplies the water needs of 100,000.
Solin is just 5 km northeast of Spilt. It is known for the ruins of the ancient Salona. Under the Romans, Salona was the political center of the Dalmatian region. Huns and goths swept down in the middle of the 5th century ending Roman rule. Salona wound up in the Eastern Roman Empire, but in 614 the Slavs and Avars moved in and leveled the town to the ground. Existing ruins consist of the remains of the city wall a church and burial ground.
Trogir is the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex not only in the Adriatic, but in all of Central Europe. 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'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. After being taken over by Napoleon, large sections of the city’s walls were destroyed and replaced with housing to enlarge the city. The French also brought education to the masses of the city.