Posted by: viewfromtheriva | November 6, 2010

The Partisans Cave in hidden Zelovice


After what seemed a week of wind and rain from the feisty Bura, the blue skies and 25C temperature got me itching to go to one of my favorite places along the coast here–the Krilo area, a sleepy string of several ancient villages 25km or so from Split that are tucked up against the 900 meter mountains that snake their way down to Dubrovnik.

The partisans cave is the yellowish facade just inside the shadow at the extreme left of the photo--its walls and single narrow opening are vivid evidence of how it helped to protect the partisans during WW2. In the middle of the photo, waving happily, is yours truly.

I had the good fortune of getting access to a car to make this trip–about thirty minutes from Split.  Normally we take the bus and walk 45 minutes up the switchback roads that literally end when you can drive no further and have to walk on the grass and then it’s just the rocks.

From the main road the villages up here are completely hidden.   So it was great to finally park and then just wander around the narrow stone alleys checking out the abandoned houses and those that were being fixed.  Some of the locals were out picking olives and we chatted them up about the village and what we might see.

They mentioned several old churches, one in the midst of a complete restoration and the partisans cave that was near a hidden path that went from the edge of the town all the up OVER the mountains!

So we started picking our way through the rocks looking for a way to get there.  Very close to the top, we finally found the rarely-visited partisans cave, which was used during WW2 to hide the partisans who harassed the Italians and later the Germans.  There’s even a granite plaque on an old abandoned house as you leave the village commemorating the fact that here in the tiny village of Zelovice ( a few km from Krilo) the partisans launched one of first successful attacks against the Axis.

Further down the coast (only 15 minutes away), the pirates of Omis hid out in similar caves 500 years ago to antagonize the Venetians; so for the locals who have lived here forever, this whole area is very familiar and comfortable terrain.

Being so high and blending in so perfectly with the surrounding rocks, any foolish squadron deciding to come up here would be easily spotted.

Discovering the partisans cave and the bare outline of a footpath going up and over the mountains (we’ll save that trek for another time!) was just another reason why I love this area.

There’s so much beauty up here in the hills.  The unobstructed incredible views south to the sea (you can actually see the entire length of Brac!); the steep landscape filled with olive trees and stone houses–many abandoned, others being restored– with luxuriant foliage growing out of roofs long ago collapsed or clinging to ancient window frames… and the silence.

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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