The Dalmatian port city goes back to around 385 BC. BC founded Greek colony back. Today’s old town documents a settlement that has persisted since pre-Christian times and contains excellent examples of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The city center is on an island. Highlights include the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, the campanile, the Ćipiko palace, the city loggia, the clock tower and the Venetian fortress Kamerlengo.
|Official title:||Historical city of Trogir|
|Cultural monument:||Old town of the 13th-15th centuries Century, among others with the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Lawrence, the Campanile, the Palazzo Cippico (also: Ćipikê Palace), the loggia, the clock tower, the Church of St. Barbara (also called Martinskirche), the round tower of St. Markus, the Lucić palace, the tower of St. Michaels (Sv. Mihovil) and the Venetian fortress Kamerlengo as well as the Gloriette|
|Location:||Trogir, northwest of Split|
|Meaning:||a remarkable example of a settlement that has been ongoing since pre-Christian times|
|3rd century BC Chr.||greek colony tragurion|
|from 56 BC Chr.||Roman settlement|
|around 1240||Design and construction of the main portal of the St. Laurentius Cathedral|
|1242||Béla IV flees from the Mongols to Trogir|
|1420||Siege and capture by the Venetians|
|1438||Construction of the Gothic Chapel of St. Jerome|
|1468||Design of the chapel of St. John the Baptist by Niccolo Florentino and Andrija Alesi|
|1593||Construction of the city fortifications that have been preserved to this day|
|1599||Construction of the campanile|
|1797||Austria wins rule over the region, which remains part of the Habsburgs until 1918|
The goat island, an inhabited museum
As early as the third century BC, Greek colonists founded the settlement Tragurion – »the goat island« on a strait between the mainland and the island of Ciovo. To protect them, the Hellenes dug a narrow canal that has since separated Trogir’s old town from the mainland. The Romans recognized the favorable location of the place, now called Tragurium, and expanded the port and trading center.
Despite devastation by Slavs, Avars and Saracens, Trogir developed into a prosperous city, which also became a bishopric in the 11th century. Four centuries later, the extensive autonomy ended when the Venetians took the city, which was now called Traù. The rule of the Maritime Republic of Venice lasted until 1797, accompanied by the gradual loss of importance of the city. It is thanks to the economic decline since the late Middle Ages that Trogir has hardly changed for five centuries, as there was neither money nor need for new or major renovations. So it’s not surprising to feel like you’re in a living open-air museum when you visit the city.
You cross the narrow canal over a small bridge and stand in front of the country gate. A maze of alleys leads to the Pijaca, the main square of the city. The north side of this square is dominated by the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, one of the most remarkable church buildings in Dalmatia. This monumental church, together with the massive defense tower of the Kamerlengo fort, also shapes the silhouette of the city. First the simple south portal facing the square and town hall was completed before the splendid west portal was built. The figures of this main entrance to the cathedral, created by Master Radovan, represent Adam and Eve, each standing over a lion and thus symbolically subjugating the earth. Also finely crafted saints, months symbolized by signs of the zodiac, The viewer of the portal can make out mythical creatures and craftsmen. What is remarkable is the execution of the slender people who support the columns with their shoulders and who no longer exude the power of ancient atlases. The birth of Christ is the central motif in the arched field. Underneath this stone scene, the artist – free of any modesty – immortalized himself with the words that he, “Radovanus, the very best in this craftsmanship”, built this portal.
The dark interior of the three-aisled cathedral hides other treasures: an extremely richly decorated choir stalls in front of the high altar and an octagonal, stone pulpit. Surrounded by twelve statues – Saint Paul with a Bible and an eagle is particularly successful – the sarcophagus of Saint John Orsini, the patron saint of Trogir, stands in the Johannes Orsini Chapel under the vaulted coffered ceiling blackened by soot.
In relation to the church tower of the cathedral, the opposite, squat-looking city tower with a large clock tower is much too small and modest. The simple, yet well-proportioned city loggia adjoins this tower. In the small hall, in which public court hearings once took place, punishments could also be carried out immediately: the remains of a chain on a pillar show that there was a stake here, to which the convicts were chained and subjected to the mockery of the population.
A captured figurehead can be seen in the magnificent Ćipikó Palace since 1571, when the writer and galley commander Alvise Cippico fought with the Christian fleet in the sea battle against the Turks at Lepanto. The family grave of the Cippicos can be found in the church dedicated to John the Baptist.
According to homosociety, a famous marble relief is kept in the monastery of St. Nicholas, which has been inhabited continuously since 1064: this relief represents Kairos, the Greek god of the propitious moment. The phrase “seize the opportunity by the head” is derived from the forelock of this god. And the residents of Trogir have always recognized favorable moments to turn a once barren goat island into a rich trading town and now an inhabited museum town.