Greece and Turkey 2012


CROATIA: Sibenik, Trogir and Split,       9-23-12

After leaving Venice yesterday, we cruised overnight and arrived at our first port-of-call, Sibenik, on a bright and beautiful Sunday morning. The ship had to thread its way thru a windy, narrow strait at the end of which is a harbor, one of the most protected in the Adriatic, with the town on Sibenik on its shores. The ship is too big to dock and so we took a tender to shore to meet our guides for the day. We decided to see two towns along the Dalmatian Coast. Our guide was a young Croatian woman who spoke excellent English. Here are just a couple of things she told us: 1. What in the US we call speed bumps in Croatia are called "sleeping policemen". 2. She had a story about olive trees and grape vines. Olive trees, Croatians say, are like a mother: even if they are ignored for a long time, when you come back you are welcomed with generosity and abundance. Vinyards, however, are like a wife: they required constant and meticulous care.

CroatiaBack to our sightseeing. After a beautiful 20 mile or so coastal drive, we got to Trogir. Like many towns around the world,Trogir is layered with different past cultures, all of whom (for about 2,500 years) have clearly found that location attractive. The Medieval city, which was walled for protection from the Turks and others , was built on the ruins of a Greek city. These walled cities seem pretty dense and crowded by today's standards but the narrow windy streets must have been designed to Croatiaaid in defense of the city should an invader actually breach the outer walls. I was particularly impressed by the stones that made up the "streets" (narrow pedestrian lanes would be a better description) - shined to a high gloss by the thousands and thousands of feet that walked on them thru the centuries.

The trip to Split, the second city, continued our drive along the picturesque Dalmatian Coast.

The history of Split starts with the Roman Emperor Diocletian who, among other things, is notable for being the first Roman Emperor to Croatiaactually retire from that position. He selected what centuries later became the town of Split because, it is thought, he was born nearby in the large Roman town of Salona. Yes, SALONA. The "retirement" home he built was a mere 300,000 square feet or so with a surrounding wall and four gates with pathways that bisected in the center. Diocletian built Croatiatemples for Roman gods as well as his own grand tomb. in addition to his private quarters there was room for hundreds of servants and other functionaries. After he died, locals moved into Diocletian's Palace and returned the favor of his frequent attemps to wipe them out by trying to obliterate his memory from the City by disposing of everything associated with him except the palace itself.

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