Nearly all good and relevant publishers have guidebooks on Croatia and nearly all of them are written by foreigners who come here, spend some time and then return occasionally to update the books. And that is how the guide book publishing works, I guess…
But prior to these, new guide books, Croatia has been covered on several occasions both by foreign and local authors. Probably very few know that some of the earliest guide books on Croatia originate from the late Middle Ages when the pilgrims from the central and western European countries were boarding the ships to the Holy Land. All of them were sailing from Venice down the Adriatic coast that was under Venetian rule at the time touching cities like Zadar, Šibenik, Split… Just like cruise ships today!
I have seen several of these guide books and they are simply gorgeous with illustrations and interesting descriptions on our lands. But don’t be mistaken! This was the land of marshes (malaria!), poor and desperate people who did not hesitate to murder a wealthy pilgrim. Far from Croatian coast of today!
A year ago, I found a lovely guide book from the 1930s written and printed by St. Kugli Press from Zagreb.
The booklet is part of the bigger series and this particular covers only North Dalmatia. Numerous photographs are not of the best quality but that was probably due to technical possibilities at the time.
The booklet is really wonderful touching with at least few sentences nearly all places of interested! Most modern guide books available are focusing more on major attractions, where to eat, how to get from point A to point B, what ferry…and since that was a minor concern at the time, the booklet simply takes travelers on a journey down the coast! Lots of B&W images and maps make it a valuable document.
Somewhat nostalgic feeling takes me whenever I pick it up. And I do it quite often: pointing attractions and traditions of the days gone by to travelers of today. To see and feel Dalmatia as it is – just a beautiful and unforgettable part of the World.
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We learn from our past to have a better future!! And we have a plenty of it!!
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