Posted by: viewfromtheriva | April 26, 2010

Discovering secret Dalmatia!


This is where the Krka River begins!

When Alan Mandic, the inspiration behind SecretDalmatia (www.secretdalmatia.com) invites you to take a “short trip to discover something really interesting in Dalmatia” you drop everything.

So instead of going on the Orient Express to Istanbul and then taking a private jet to Alexandria for the weekend, of course we dropped everything and took off with Alan, his lovely (and patient, because 5 year old Rocco Mandic was with us) Maria to places unknown.

After winding our way up through Sinj we hit the cast hinterland of upper Dalmatia–endless valleys and meadows, tiny villages, the heartland of the region.  After an hour and a half we came to a small sign in the road about the Krka River.  Alan explained that this is where the Krka begins, so we stopped, not sure of what we would find.  A newly laid stone path looked promising and then we made a tun and there it was, Croatia’s own mini-Niagara Falls right in front of us.  Wow.  The photos don’t really do it justice.  A small wooden bridge takes you to the other side of the falls, drowning you in spray, but it was worth it!

We then took off and made our way towards Knin, the citry of Croatian Kings, where one of the largest fortresses in Croatia is situated.   An impressive site, the sprawling complex was used as a stronghold from Illyrian times.  It’s beautifully maintained, but alas not a single marker to tell you what epoch you are standing in as you scramble up and down the stone pathways to enjoy some stupendous lookouts as well as “the longest flag in Croatia” which flutters majestically in the stiff wind like a small comet.

Here’s a short excerpt from Wikipedia:  In the vicinity of today’s Knin was once a town called Burnum, which served as an Illyrian and Roman military camp in the 1st century BC.

Knin is mentioned in the 10th century in the history of Constantine Porphyrogenitus as the centre of a parish. A Croatian diocese of Knin was founded 1040 and its jurisdiction extended to the Drava river, with the “Croatian bishop” at its head.

Knin was also the capital of the Kingdom of Croatia around 1080 during the rule of King Dmitar Zvonimir. This heritage has led to Knin being known as the “City of Croatian Kings” or “Zvonimir’s City” (Zvonimirov grad).[1] Between the 10th and the 13th century, Knin was a notable military fort. The huge 10th century medieval Knin Fortress on Mt. Spas dominates the centre of town, and its present aspect dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It is one of the largest fortification buildings in Dalmatia and is divided into the upper, medium and lower town, connected by drawbridges.

Afterwards we enjoyed a fabulous jumbo pizza in town (55kn!!). Suitably stuffed, we headed back out towards Sibenik to find some hidden waterfalls that were even more amazing than the headwaters of the Krka and Krcic Rivers.  Completely unmarked, you walk down a narrow path and surrounded by hundreds of acres of lush valley and sharp ravines are not just one but a group of waterfalls!  There wasn’t a single telephone pole, bottle cap or footprint–just unspoiled nature and us.  We plopped down on the meadow and just sat there taking it all in.   Have a look.

Heading back to Biograd, after a long, but exhilarating day, Alan made sure we had one last adventure….Asseria, a recently discovered Roman ruin (but dating further back because there are intriguing Illyrian tombstones on the site) with enormous 8 meter high walls perched high atop the adjoining valley.  Along with Bibirska (see my blog), Asseria was a critically important defensive city in the waning days of the Roman empire in Dalmatia that was eventually overrun long after the Romans fled knowing they couldn’t hold out.  Like Salona, the vestiges of Roman occupation throughout Croatia are all around and the sheer size of these ancient cities attest to the importance of Dalmatia to the empire.

We can’t wait for our next adventure with Alan.

Anyone can take the Orient Express!

Enjoy our new Croatian vacation portal

Read more about Croatia at secret dalmatia’s unique blog

Coming to Split?  www.thehotelsofsplit.com

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Responses

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, VideoChat with Amateur Girls at Home Alone!


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