Winter is not the best time for exploring and winter walks. The weather has been rainy and fairly cold (folks from Canada, please do not laugh at our cold) but that should not stop anyone from at least a stroll by the sea or an easy hike. I like to explore the Dalmatian hinterland. Without a specific plan, I like to get lost on the abandoned roads and look for ghost villages and ruins. After the 90s war, the number is just increasing….
One of such places is Nunic (Nunich) near Kistanje. It is right off the main road but I never before took that turn. This time I decided to go and look what treasures it still hides. Once you pass the first houses on the turn, the road takes you straight to the old school. Now abandoned and nearly in ruins, it is still a great looking building. If would make a perfect small hotel but I doubt anyone will be interested any time soon.
And then we proceeded down the narrow road. Soon, we saw a sign to a hamlet of Džuduri. Nunic actually consists of about a dozen small, family hamlets and each is a gem! Džuduri is one of the finest examples of old villages still existing in this area.
Nunic was actually the only predominantly Croatian village before the war of the 90s so some of the people returned after the war unlike in other villages. All the hamlets of Nunic are in fairly good shape and, while others have some modern interventions and red roofs, Džuduri just got the asphalt road and everything else is pretty much as it was 100 years ago.
We have not seen anyone in the village but it is obvious someone still lives there.
Since there are so many of these hamlets, we decided to explore some more. Leaving Džuduri, we saw quite an idyllic, rare image of traditional Dalmatian hinterland and Dalmatia in general:
The Tomurnovic hamlet was next.
Luckily, there was someone still there! It is so rare that we get to talk to the locals. All their knowledge and traditions are fading away so fast and I like to learn as much as I can. So, once we got there, Mr. Tomurnovic came out of his konoba to see who is at his doors. He is definitely NOT used to visitors but he was quite happy to meet and talk to someone!
So we learned a lot about the families that once lived in this hamlet. About his cousins who live in Zagreb now and rarely visit. About the 8 grape varietals that they used to grow in the fields (5 red and 3 white), architecture, way of life in Bukovica not so long ago…
We asked him to show us around the old stone house complex next door. That is actually the place where he was born back in the 1950s.
All stone blocks that the property has been built of was done by the villagers. Apparently, they were quite skilled but that was common in this region where all the houses and stables have been built of stone.
The entire complex was home for over 30 people back in the past. Now, everything is collapsing. The property is divided between the relatives and they are not interested in fixing nor selling. The architectural gem as this should be protected by law and not depend on someone’s whims and ancient feuds.
As the sun was falling behind the distant hills, the bura wind was getting stronger and it was time to leave. Mr. Tmournovic left for his house and we drove the deserted roads back to modern age. We will definitely be back in the warmer months as nature here must be stunning when everything is green and in bloom.
Some folks like to explore distant regions, different cultures and civilizations but never to see what is only half hour from their home. I don’t think I will get to see, in this lifetime, all the small treasures Dalmatia holds.