The country overlooking the Apennine Peninsula across the Adriatic Sea keeps a decent part of Venetian and Roman heritage

 

Those wishing to look at how Roman emperors lived should neither go to Rome nor to Italy. One of the most impressive palaces (which belonged to Diocletian) stands in the center of Split, Croatia. It boasts grandiose cellars; in ancient times, these contained a sewage system, and in the Middle Ages, warehouses. Today, they are used as marketplaces for souvenirs and filming (several episodes of the Game of Thrones feature these arches).

To live to old age, a man needs a good wife and a good home. Emperor Diocletian had such a suitable wife, and he himself took care of a good house, having built a residence worthy of a Roman monarch. The three-hectare palace had everything necessary for the normal existence of the head of state – ceremonial halls, a library and galleries. After renouncing the throne, Diocletian spent the rest of his life here.

Can age be attractive? To see it surely can, all you have to do is walk through the streets of the almost a thousand-year-old Šibenik. For almost four centuries, the main “make-up artist” of the city was the Republic of Venice, which owned the entire Dalmatian Coast. La Serenissima was generous and endowed Šibenik with a lavish mix of architectural masterpieces, the finest jewel of which is the Cathedral of St. James.

Every country around the world needs a plant symbol. For instance, Russia has the birch, while Canada has the maple. In Croatia, this is most likely the genista. In early June, its blossoming thickets flood the stony slopes of the coast with a vivid yellow. And although yellow flowers are considered a sign of an early separation, Croatia is above prejudice. Every year, tourists flock here to look at the colorful lushness of the Mediterranean natural world.

If you still think that the best olive oil is made in Greece and the healthiest honey is brought from Bashkortostan, then you simply have not been to Croatia yet. Here, village markets are littered with jars and bottles packed with local specialties. They say that every family in Croatia owns olives, and in autumn, even the laziest townspeople prepare the oil. Besides, it is only here that you can buy green honey with extracts of houseleek and broccoli.

Frequent changes of the ruling regime stir the cultural strata stronger than an earthquake. This is well attested to by Trogir, which has existed under the rule of the Greeks, Romans, Hungarians, Venetians, Austrians and Italians. And all these rulers made their contributions. Now the city has a staggering amount of temples, monuments, villas, thermae, galleries and palazzos and has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In Croatia, the variety of souvenirs is amazing: lace and neckerchiefs, Pag cheese and olive oil, pršut and gingerbread, as well as goods from the Brač limestone. But if you think you are not strong enough to carry such a load on you, and you do not want to pay for a second piece of baggage, you can limit yourself to buying small dolls in colorful, hand-embroidered Croatian costumes.

 

The Dalmatian Coast, which lies opposite Italy, looks like its mirror image. It features the same temples and travertine palaces, the same tiled roofs and cobblestone streets, the same sea and rocks. Even the laundry here is dried according to the Italian method. And only the Slavic language spoken around reminds one that this is not the western, but the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.

The main gem of the Krka National Park is its seven cascading waterfalls with a height difference ranging from 15 to almost 50 meters. The largest and most famous of them is Skradinski Buk, where swimming is allowed. But even those visitors who are indifferent to water activities will get their share of impressions: the Krka River Valley is very picturesque and rife with rare plants.

 

Published on: June 24, 2018

Теxt Maria Vorobieva