Otres – Winter hiking in Dalmatia

I am simply drawn to this place… Ostrovica. With all the stories and the natural beauty, it is a very mystical area. It was a famous medieval Croatian fortress that fell in the hands of Turks by treason back in 1523. Re-captured by the Venetians in late 17th century, Ostrovica fortress was leveled to prevent Turks from coming back.
Fortress is no longer there but the massive carved block still stands. It is suggested, by some historians, that it was a sacred object of the Illyrians living in this area. I absolutely believe so!

Ostrovica - so called Mačkov kamen still standing

It was a gorgeous winter days yesterday (finally!) and I just had to go outdoors. Called few friends and we took off. Our destination was tiny village of Otres as I wanted to see the small spring that flows from there forming tiny Otres river/spring. The valley of Ostrovica is usually flooded after big rains although there are numerous canals running through to move the waters away. However, we learned from one local that the water gets over 10 ft in very short period of time and last year one of the navvies cleaning the canal was underwater within an hour!

Canals in the field

So, we parked next to one farm and decided to walk those few kilometers to the spring. Otres is also quite important for our history as ancient Croatian graves have been found next to the church. Back in early 1900s, a Roman altar was excavated from the fields.
Soon, when we moved up to the spring, we found an ancient bridge still standing.

Jean Claude explaining something. I am not paying attention as I want to document the bridge and the ancient road

After another hundred meters or so, we reached the very spring. And it was dry… All this water is coming from many, many different springs ad canals! The spring is amazing! We found probably the oldest fig tree in the country. Looks like a monster!

Monster fig tree!

Then we deiced to go back… Another few kilometers in fresh area has healing power!
We met a local and found out that only few elderly live in this village now and that entire area was cultivated 20 years ago. Hectares and hectares of fertile land with water running through now just standing there… Also, not a pound of artificial fertilizers has been dropped here in 20 years! Talking about organic farming!

Croatian sheppard and german sheppard is such a cute mix!

Then, after a while, we saw cows crossing one of the canals.
Felt like watching John Wayne’s “Cowboys” live! 🙂

Not exactly Rio Grande...

In the times when cattle herding is nearly forgotten in Croatia, we came across a lovely herd of about 60 cows!

What a scene!

We also got a chance to talk to the owner. He does this because he loves cattle and horses so he moved back from the city to raise animals. The times are tough but he is managing… Cattle is mostly for local butchers and just imagine the quality of meat from these animals: outside almost EVERY single day, pastures without ANY fertilizers, running, jumping in fresh air… And he has trouble selling?!?!?! Something is really wrong!
Also, his son and son-in-law lost jobs last month. Not even considering going cattle herding…

The last Dalmatian cowboy...

We spent few minutes enjoying the views. It did not look like we were in Dalmatia, that’s for sure!


With sunny weather, temperatures in the 50s…it is just terrible to stay at home!

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  1. Having found your blog I am thoroughly enjoying reading the entries. I have visited for each of the past four years but sadly do not plan to return in 2011. My favourits have to be Trogir and Primosten and the island of Hvar.

  2. Hi Andrew! Glad you are enjoying it! I hope you get some more ideas for next time you come to Croatia!

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