March 2014: Trogir
The historic city of Trogir sits around 30km to the west of Split and is the second major sailing and boating centre on the Splitski Kanal providing easy access to all major services along with several good mooring options. Though the city now spreads across the mainland and the adjacent island of Ciovo, the old historic town, designated a World Heritage Site in 1997, is located on a small island lying between the mainland and Ciovo and linked to the mainland by a road bridge and a foot bridge and Ciovo by a lifting road bridge which no longer seems to open.
Trogir Riva looking east
Overall Trogir has a population of over 12000 and is a popular tourist destination comparable with Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik. It has a vibrant pavement cafe and icecream parlour culture, good shopping both in boutiques and supermarkets as well as a very attractive and lively permanent market and a chic Riva which overlooks the Trogir Channel that lies between the old-town and Ciovo. There are also a number of excellent restaurants that go beyond the normal pizza and pasta offering both internal and external dining year round.
Trogir’s inscription in the World Heritage list in 1997 was for the well preserved nature of its ‘orthogonal street pattern’ which is said to date back to its greek routes, and for the well preserved nature of many of its medieval buildings which represent well the architecture of the Venetian empire. Certainly the street pattern and the architecture are a major attraction in the town and it is possible to wander through the streets and become ‘lost’ and even disorientated, though the town is relatively small and the shore side roads (the Riva facing Ciovo and Enika facing the main land) are never more than 2 minutes away from any point.
Typical Trogir Streets
Architecture in this delightful maze of streets is another high point. You will frequently come across fragments of fine carvings in door and window surrounds, or astonishing frontages that are beautifully ornate and do not match any of the adjacent buildings. Again taking the time to wonder is well worthwhile as there are gems to be discovered. Perhaps the most prominent building is the Cathedral which has some very fine gothic/Venetian carvings on its frontage. Unfortunately there is now a small fee to enter and another to climb the tower - of the two the second is better value and the view from the top of the tower (as well as of the detail of the carvings as you climb) is phenomenal.
One of two Venetian Lions at the entrance to the cathedral
Broadly Trogir, like the larger coastal cities of Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar has something for everybody, though generally on a slightly smaller scale. Street cafes are generally found in the squares at the west end of the town, not least Trg Ivana Pavla II by the St Lawrence’s Cathedral and the Town Hall. The streets leading away to the west include many boutique and tourist shops and the further west you move the streets become more residential but no less interesting. It is in squares to the west you will find some of the better restaurants. Continuing to walk west you will ultimately reach the western shore of the island and several impressive fortification, the Fortress Kamalengo (open to the public) and St Mark’s Tower (now a night club and cafe) that are all that remains of Trogir’s medieval defences.
For those who want to sit and watch the world go by, possibly order a pizza or pasta later on and generally find good cafe’s with a view of the water front try the Riva where there are number of similar and attractive establishments in which you might while away a happy hour or two watching the boats and the people.
The first settlement on the site of the town of Trogir is said to have been established by Greek settlers coming from colonies on Otok Vis. In the 3rd centry BC they established the town of Tragurion (from the Greek work for a male goat - Tragos) which became an important port and centre of trade until the period of Roman occupation around 200 years after the town was established. Roman trade centred around the settlement of Salona (close to modern day Split) which increased in importance at the cost of Trogir.
It was not until Salona was destroyed by the Slavs (in 614 AD) that trade and significance really began to return to Trogir (along with many Salonan refugees). Through the medieval period Trogir owed its allegiances first to various Croatian rulers and was ruled by an ‘elected’ Duke. During this period Trogir was known as Trogur. Though the town was completely destroyed by a Saracen army
in 1123 it recovered quickly and became increasingly prosperous over the following 200 years.
From 1420 rule passed tto the Venetian’s a situation that would only come to an end in 1797 when their empire collapsed and many of their holdings ultimately passed to the Habsbergs (Austro-Hungarian Empire) who remained rulers of the town until 1918 when it became part of the First Yugoslavian republic. During the Second World War it was occupied by Italian forces until 1943.
There is also a large active shipyard to the south-west on the northern shore of Ciovo and other industries include fishing and agriculture. However its position 30km from Split and only 6km from the international airport make tourism the largest single economic driver for the town.
Trogir is a major charter centre in the area along with Split, Kremik and Marina and has four main options for mooring. There is an excellent ACI located on Ciovo overlooking the old town, which is one of the best and most friendly ACI facilities we have visited. It is said however it is difficult if not impossible to find a berth there on a Friday night as Saturday is changeover day for the charter companies.
It is also possible to moor against the harbour wall of Trogir Riva, this is done alongside, but again you may find yourself turned away by the harbour master on a Friday as the Gullets and other cruise ships tend to occupy the wall overnight before setting out on Saturday afternoon. There are two anchor options also, one to the east of the bridge (which never opens) in water of 3-5 metres and other to the west of the inner red channel marker opposite the fuel berth beside the west end of ACI Trogir. There is another small Marina at Seget to the west of Trogir town but this appears to be solely for the use of local boats.
The western anchorage with the shipyard in the background
Trogir provides the perfect opportunity to stock with provisions, the town has large and easily accessible supermarkets - including one opposite the end of the bridge from the old town to the mainland, and an excellent fruit and vegetable market to the east of the landward end of the same bridge. It provides a more viable alternative to Split for crew changeovers (particularly where the airport is involved) and has major tourist interest as well. Its a good stopover where Split is on the agenda too as there are excellent transport links into the city and the mooring facilities are generally better here.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014