I am a big fan of DK Eyewitness series and recently, when I was in US, I purchased the one on Croatia printed for US market. Just last night I was going over it just to check some information and if everything is as it should be.
And then I have noticed that Venetians are portrayed as good guys in almost every paragraph on Dalmatia! Turning to see who is the publisher helped – an Italian company based in Milan.
The publisher’s obviously biased towards Venetians and thinking of Dalmatian monuments as Venetian. The truth is a bit more complex – Venice was the WORST ruler ever in these regions and fought hard on keeping Croatians in Dalmatia under their rule. Everything they actually built in ie Zadar are only the Arsenal and the Town Gate! Despite the popular opinion, everything else was built by the people of Zadar. In the Venetian style of course since they were ruled by Venice at that time. The same people who mutinied over a dozen of times against the “good” rule of Venice. And then what happened? Their soldiers would lock themselves in the tower – Bastion – the place hotel Bastion is located today and wait till the galleys would come and put the end to mutiny. Usually in blood…
Even that was not enough – they would take. as hostages, the sons of noble families and take them to Venice. Soon they would be Venetians, Italians and no trace of Zadar’s original nobility (Latin – from Roman times, or Croatian) remains. They, instead brought their own people to secure the rule.
So, you can use this book but note that Venetians were to blame for crusader’s attack on Zadar in 1202, destruction of Salona’s amphitheater, pillage of Roman monuments from the abandoned cities like Asseria, Salona and Burnum, enslavement of thousands from our shores and constant italianization of Dalmatia… The writers maybe thinking that “making” everything Venetian in Dalmatia will bring more tourists?
Even better, use Time Out guide to Croatia for the best information on traveling in Croatia! Highly recommended!