Yesterday the organizers of the largest fair of organic products in Croatia, EkoFjera, and representatives and partners of Split-Dalmatia County held a press conference at which they announced EkoFjera 2017.
We continue our look at Split throughout history with the help of the Facebook group Split kroz povijest.
The Fête de la Musique', also known as Make Music Day or World Music Day, is an annual music celebration taking place on 21 June. We will be celebrating in Split tomorrow with a series of musical events!
From June 17th-18th in Prokurative, there will be an organic products exhibition and eco fair called “Eko Fjera”. The event will go from 9h-23h on both days, and is open to all interested parties!
I still remember my first visit to Split over 7 years ago and my first sighting of Prokurative (officially Republic Square) located just off Marmontova street at it's crossroads with the famous riva or waterfront promenade. Immediately I was taken aback by it’s beauty and at the same time it reminded me of a smaller version of the reknowned Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain. Although the architect was actually Italian and built the square after St. Mark’s in Venice, to me it still models the Spanish one more if due only to the striking red colors they both share.
However, the main difference I was surprised to see between these two town squares, besides the fact that Prokurative was not completely enclosed like the Plaza Mayor, it was also empty, lifeless, almost depressing especially if you knew what it’s Spanish big sister looked like on a daily basis. I spent a year living in Spain, both Madrid and Barcelona, and although as a coastal city Split parallels Barcelona in more ways than one with just a quick glance at Prokurative (my back to the sea of course) I’m instantly transported back to Madrid. I have fond memories of my time in both cities, but specifically the bustling activities that took place in Plaza Mayor on a daily basis come rushing back to me when I step foot in Prokurative even in it's deserted state.
Although the growth of Split as a city and top tourist destination over just the past several years is truly impressive with developments along the old riva and the creation of the new one, it still saddens me to see that this growth has not expanded into the magnificent Prokurative. Today, there is one bustling restaurant, Bajamonti, and it's seasonal visitor Spalatin Bistro, but as far as I can see there's only one cafe bar with all it’s outdoor seating hidden in the shade. I’m really not sure what other businesses or offices are located there as they are not easily visible or appear to be closed. I still can’t help but think what a shame this is when I picture how much life flows through Plaza Mayor on any given day in the Spanish capital. According to it’s new tourism slogan, Croatia may be full of life, but Prokurative is often empty and rarely full of people pumping this life into it like they should!
I do realize that Plaza Mayor is in the middle of a landlocked city that is also the capital of a larger country and I also get that there are other factors keeping Prokurative from being a main point of interest. The number one factor most likely being the riva with its unbeatable views of the Adriatic Sea and nearby islands as well as another popular town square known as Pjaca surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. However, Prokurative has all of that in one place! A wide open sunny space for children to run around and play and people to sit and enjoy spectacular views of the sea narrowed only by the beautiful facades surrounding them. So while it may never be transformed into a main highlight of Split like the riva or pjaca it certainly could be serving a much better purpose than it is today.
This colorful combination of sea and island views surrounded by bright building facades is priceless and I simply don’t understand why it hasn’t already been developed into one of the city's main congregation points. I guess it's possible the remaining spaces are protected or owned by the government or maybe there aren’t any available. It’s likely the rent is sky high although I can’t imagine it being much worse than along the riva or in the pjaca. Could it also be that potential businesses just don’t believe this location will bring the steady stream of customers it requires to stay alive? Sta ja znam?! (What do I know?!) I can only hope that with the continued development and investment in Split business owners will notice it for the untapped potential it possesses and not the empty shell that it is presently.
While I have attended a few events there in the past, most notably the Split Music Festival in summer, there are endless possibilities for Prokurative to be put to use all year round. I can picture a square filled with happening bars and restaurants all with open outdoor seating for tourists and locals alike to enjoy the Dalmatian sunshine and view of the sea during warmer months. It would also be a perfect place in wintertime for more kucice or Christmas Market festivities. In fact, I’ve heard many complaints that the existing Christmas market on the riva is more like an outdoor club for the younger crowd than a place for families with small children to gather. Prokurative is perfect for that with it’s wide open space for kids to run amuck and the kiosks could focus more on traditional Christmas products and music and even activities for families and kids rather than just on drinking rakija and electronic DJ’s. They could also create an arts and crafts market for local artisans to display and sell their products similar to the pazar or Green Market does with fruits and vegetables on the opposite side of the old town. Or if all else fails simply slap a statue into the center of the square to give it the illusion of importance and an additional reason for visitors to come check it out, take pictures and bring more business to this wrongly overlooked part of the old city.
Despite being a city over 1700 years old, a Split renaissance is just getting started and I’m anxious to see which "entreprenartists" will not only recognize, but take advantage of the opportunity to paint Prokurative, one of my favorite parts in Split, into the masterpiece it was always meant to be.
Have you been to Prokurative? What did you think of it and how would you like to see it painted?
Trg Republike (Republic Square) is a large open square located just west of Riva, past Marmontova. It is surrounded on three sides by an elaborate red neo-Renaissance structure known as Prokurative. Locals therefore call the square Prokurative and rarely by its real name. The southern side of the square is open, providing a breathtaking view of the harbor front.
Prokurative was built in the 19th century under the supervision of General Marmont and initiated by Split’s famed mayor Antonio Bajamonti. The design of Prokurative is largely inspired by architecture in Italy during the time of construction and closely resembles St. Mark’s Square in Venice. As a matter of fact, the architect of Prokurative was from Venice himself and wanted to build a structure that reminded him of home as he missed his city. Looking straight onto the square with the Adriatic at your back, run you eye above the length of the archways on your left and then on your right. On the left side, you will notice a series of captivating carved reliefs beneath the windows however, as you shift your eyes to the colonnade on the right, you will notice that there are no carvings along the whole stretch. It is said that the architect missed his Venice so much that he returned home before the project was complete, and therefore this section of the Prokurative remained unfinished.
During the wintertime Prokurative remains quite deserted however, as soon as the sun shines, the café chairs get occupied and children play ball on the square. On the square you will find the new and popular Bajamonti eatery and café, the Bellevue hotel, and the seasonal Spalatin restaurant. Prokurative is also the venue for a myriad of events, most notably the Split Music Festival.
At the foot of the steps leading down from Prokurative towards Riva, a rather dull fountain will meet you. A grand fountain was once located here called Monumentalna Fontana or Bajamontuša erected in the late 19th century by famous Italian sculptor Luigi Ceccona. Its construction was also initiated by mayor Bajamonti and was a symbol of his success in bringing running water into the city. The fountain was destroyed in 1947 by city authorities as a symbol of fascism and Italian occupation. Some of the carved heads from this fountain can be found in Split City Museum today.