Trogir & Ciovo
Trogir is one of the oldest urban sites on the Croatian coast of the Adriatic sea. With its four thousand years old history it belongs amongst the oldest cities of the Mediterranean. According to the archeological findings, the first traces of organized life reach back to the prehistoric times around 2000 years B.C.
After 219 B.C. the later Illyrian settlement became a significant market center of an important Greek colony with its seat on the island of Vis. The name that was given to the settlement during this period, Tragyron or Tragurion is of Greek origin and is connected to name of the nearby mountain Kozjak (tragos = goat, Croatian: koza). Greek Trogir was built according to familiar patterns of construction of the settlements of the time. The city was encircled with a wall while the regular network of the streets divided the city into rectangular living quarters. The nearby fields preserved traces of the Greek division of land.
Roman Tragurium developed in the 1st century B.C., probably as a constituent part of the broader community of the great Salona colony. The area around Trogir was by then already known for its high quality marble, golden in color, so that the nearby stone quarries in large measure supplied the material for constructing the decorative parts of the architecture in Salona and afterwards for the representative segments of Diocletian,s palace. Already in 5th century, the Christian community in Trogir was highly developed. From 640, when the Avars and the Slavs destroyed Salona, it was the largest and the most significant city on the eastern Adriatic coast of the time. Trogir, as one of the rare urban centers which survived the destruction emancipated itself into a city center whose role during the Medieval period would grow in significance. One of the seats of Croatian kings was located in nearby Bijaći so that their influence on Trogir was very important. After the fall of the Croatian kingdom, during the period of the Hungarian-Croatian rulers, Trogir received a series of very significant privileges from king Koloman which contributed to the development of this Medieval community. The role of Trogir significantly grew during the period after the destruction of Zadar at the beginning of the 13th century because the main Hungarian lines of communication with the Adriatic coast had to be moved to the east. In the Middle Ages frequent conflicts between the neighboring cities of Trogir and Split took place.
Although it had been endangered by the Venetians as early as the 12th century, the Venetian navy conquered Trogir in 1420. It was one of the last Dalmatian cities to fall under Venetian rule, when king Ladislav of Naples in 1409 sold his royal rights to Dalmatia for 100,000 ducats. Despite the Venetian prohibition of the use of the Croatian language, significant literary works in Croatian were written in Renaissance Trogir. In the 15th and the 16th century, Trogir was one of the most important humanistic centers on the eastern coast of Adriatic. Venetian rule ended with the fall of Venice in 1797, and after a short lived Austrian administration during the time of the emperor Napoleon, Trogir came under French rule. Alongside with the draining of nearby swamps and the building of roads, the French established the College of St. Lazarus, the first institution of higher learning in the city. In 1808 the grateful people of Trogir erected a fine classical pavilion to honor the French, particularly their marshal Marmont. Already in 1814 the short-termed French rule was replaced for a whole century by the Austrian imperial administration. At the end of the 19th century, the building of the city picked up, especially of public buildings in the spirit of the neo-styles, especially the neo-gothic style. At that time some of its important buildings such as the city town-hall were radically altered in the same spirit.
Valorizing the unique quality of the urban core, the high quality of its architectural monuments and the preserved value of the environment , in 1997 UNESCO included Trogir in its Registry of World Cutural Heritage.
The dominant building which stands out on the square is the Trogir cathedral of St. Lawrence. The construction of the cathedral began after 1200 in the place where stood an older church which was destroyed by the Venetians at the end of 12th century. Trogir cathedral exceptional in the artistic heritage of Croatia is surely the Romanesque sculpture expressed particularly in the reliefs and statues of the main portal on the western facade. This is the work of master Radovan and his workshop made around 1240. Especially interesting and unique is the central relief of the lunette of the portal.
The nearby island of Čiovo, connected with Trogir by a bridge, was once known as „the wheat field of Trogir“. As early as the Middle Ages, villages such as Arbanija, Žedno, Okrug gornji, Okrug donji were established while the Slatine settlement located more to the East belonged to Split. To the West of the village of Arbanija, on the seashore the Dominican monastery of the Holy Cross is located, established in 1432. The monstery has a fine Renaissance cloister and a collection of art works. Worth seeing is the monastery of St. Anthony on Drid, raised next to a onetime hermit,s cave, and the monastery of Our Lady of Prizidnica where hermits lived on the seashore on the southern side of the island. Outstanding summer-houses of the Trogir nobility built during the Baroque period are located on Čiovo.