The hilltop fortress of Lišane

This winter continues with beautiful weather. Perfect for hikes and exploring the sites I never visited before. It is simply amazing how many of those still are! And I keep finding new ones…

After few years I knew about it, I finally got the time to get to the Lišanska gradina (Lišane hilltop fortress). It is not easily accessible and, on foot – from the main road – it would take one over an hour or so to reach it. This was again time for my Hilux and solid off road experience through the bushes and rocky, narrow paths…

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On a satellite image, the fortress looks interesting but I knew it is not going to be easy to reach it. The terrain surrounding it looks quite rough even online…
We stopped after a while as it was impossible to drive through the very rocky terrain and we immediately noticed ancient road in front of us. It has all the characteristics of a typical Roman road with groves made by wheels for centuries.

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Ancient road carved in rock

The road to gradina is easy and quite clear. We noticed that road has been cleared and thought that it were the hunters that sometimes hunt in these areas. But then we noticed olive trees.

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The colors of Autumn
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Olive trees in the fields

Continuing towards the hilltop fortress, we noticed a proper and fenced olive orchard. It is fascinating not only that it is in the middle of nowhere and still looks stunning, but it is probably in the same location the ancient inhabitants of the fortress had their own olive orchard. Few thousand years ago…

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Ancient olive grove?

Continuing to the fortress, we noticed the Ostrovica rock in the distance. One of the most fascinating and mystical places in all of Dalmatia!

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Ostrovica in the distance

Lišanska gradina has not been properly explored and there are very few mentions of it in the specialized literature. It is well off any beaten paths but, obviously, it was located on a popular route as the ancient road we walked has been in use for many centuries. It has a great control of the neighboring area with sweeping views all the way to the sea (on a clear day).

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Views from gradina

The gradina itself is in a typical shape – main dry rock walls have fallen down many centuries ago and they are now just a pile of rocks surrounding the slope of the hill. The other part of the fortress is easily defended as it sits on a high cliff.

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View to the sea

The area within the walls is now just an empty, deserted plain with bushes and rocks all over. One cannot make too much sense of it without a proper excavation…

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Former living quarters

The slopes have some indication of gates but, again, it will need a professional eye to look at this.

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The entrance?

As the entire area, there is lots of evidence of wild boar in the area.

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Wild boar was here

As the sun sets early in these winter months, we had to head out to the car. We took the different route to admire the high southern cliff of Lišanska gradina. It is over 10 meters high in some places and looks quite impressive.

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Another beautiful place we leave behind. To enjoy the silence and bask in the winter sunset. Abandoned for eternity…

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Skradin Photo Album – 1900

It’s not often that one comes across a 115 years old photo album of Dalmatia. I am sure that there are few still forgotten in some attics, old family houses… and I hope someone will recognize the beauty and value of those fading images.

Recently, I stumbled upon a beautiful photo album dating back to 1900.

The album
The album
The spread
The spread
The beauty of classical details
The beauty of classical details

It was a private album of Marasovic family that once owned most of Skradin region. The images were taken by Jerolim Marasović who was a son of a major of Skradin back then. Most of the images have been already seen and published in a 2009 book: Marasović – fotografska zbirka published by Joško and Nataša Zaninović by Krka National Park. The collection is now in Zadar’s Znanstvena knjižnica or Research Library of Zadar.

I have not seen the book so I was quite surprised when I got my hands on the album!

Here are just a few from the album that contains 28 images of Skradin and Skradin region.

Visovac monastery
Visovac monastery

Not the best of quality but again, this was a local amateur photographer.

Roski slap waterfalls
Roski slap waterfalls
Orthodox church in Kistanje
Orthodox church in Kistanje

I did not play with colors or filters and wanted to keep the authentic feel I have seen on the images in the album.

Hanging out with the locals
Hanging out with the locals
Sailing in style
Sailing in style
Streets of Skradin
Streets of Kistanje
Interior of Serbian Orthodox church in Kistanje (?)
Interior of Serbian Orthodox church in Kistanje (?)
Skradin 1900... no marina, no bridge, no trees
Skradin 1900… no marina, no bridge, no trees
Skradin from the water
Skradin from the water

And my favorite image:

Visiting the ruins of Burnum
Visiting the ruins of Roman military camp at Burnum

The images are simply fantastic and give instant goose bumps to everyone interested in our heritage and tradition!

Dolmen in Dalmatia?

I get to cross a lot of territory when traveling. It still amazes me how there are still so many beautiful places to see and things to discover in this little country of ours. Yesterday, I was doing an inspection in Tugare: a tiny village in the hillside of Omiš best known for Tugarke cherries. The entire region is known as Poljica: an autonomous community which existed in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period. It was organized as a “peasants’ republic”, and it’s best known because of the Poljica Statute first written in 1440. Today, the region is slowly getting abandoned as people moved to the coastal towns and work mostly in tourism,

Overlooking Srednja Poljica and peaks of Očur in the distance
Overlooking Srednja Poljica and peaks of Očur in the distance

First we met with locals in a tiny hamlet of Truša. Very colorful Điđi is the soul of the place and a walking encyclopedia of everything related to the region as he was born and grew up here.

Điđi! Điđi!

Our goal was very scenic view point of Stomorica with an ancient church and a stunning panorama of the region and Brač Island. But, along the way, I have noticed something strange in the woods.

Dolmen?
Dolmen?

The structure has all the features of a dolmen and definitely looks like one. This is on Wikipedia on dolmens:
A dolmen, also known as a cromlech, portal tomb, portal grave or quoit, is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BCE). Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow. In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone “skeleton” of the burial mound intact.

Or read more on the actual page

However, this is not something encountered in Croatia!

Dolmens are characteristic for most of Europe and Asia but almost none have been discovered in Croatia. There is only one on Cres Island: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=15452 and it does not really look anything elaborate like this one in Truše. Here are more images:

dolmen in croatia

interior

From above From above

There are several structures nearby that need proper inspection.

Structure Structure

It is quite unlikely that no one ever wrote about this as it is on a very popular route. However, I have not encountered a single word on this particular structure. It is particularly strange as Mons. Ante Škobalj (a local priest) was born here and actually wrote a well known book on ceremonial mounds, customs and traditions. It is almost impossible that he was not familiar with this place!

Obredne gomile
Obredne gomile

In any case, this should be inspected soon. I am sure there were lots of dolmens in Croatia in the past but all were destroyed for all sorts of reasons. Is this the last one standing?

And that is not the only mystery these woods hide…

Some 50 meters from the road, is a set of strange, megalithic ruins. Called “Muratov dvor” (Murat’s home), it is a set of ancient buildings built of large rocks. Very large rocks…

megalithic walls

The walls with windows
The walls with windows

No one really builds houses this way…

Entrance to first floor?
Entrance to ground floor?
The interior
The interior

measure

Tugare… small village with some serious mysteries.

 EDIT: Not a dolmen. A small team of local experts did further research and we realized it was juts a conveniently positioned flat rock that fell (or was broken off) the larger cliff nearby. It was positioned as a shelter.