Monday, 11 March 2013

Sites in Split: St. Francis Monastery and Matejuška

Located directly west of the Riva sea front at the fountain roundabout is the narrow Church of St. Francis (Sv. Frane) with its monastery.

When the Franciscans arrived in the region in the early 13th century, they erected their own monastery at the (then) city border. They built the complex above a 5th century Early Christian church dedicated to a Salona martyr, St. Felix.

In the 14th century, a small cloister was added to the structure bearing Romanesque characteristics however; the entire complex has undergone various reconstructions and restorations throughout the centuries and thus has changed its original appearance considerably.

Within the church you will find an impressive crucifix painted by Blaž Jurjev of Trogir in the 15th century. There are also numerous ancient tombs of prominent citizens of Split such as humanist Marko Marulić (1450 - 1524), composer Ivan Lukačić (1587 - 1648), and poet Jeronim Kavanjin (1643- 1714). The church also has a rich library containing the 15th century “Lectionary,” the first book that was printed in the Croatian language using the Latin alphabet.

South of the monastery is a charming fisherman’s port called Matejuška. A pleasant walk along Matejuška provides the best vantage point of Split’s seafaring culture as locals from the Veli Varoš neighborhood prepare their catch along the long pier in the morning and catch up for a chat on the benches. At the end of the pier is a wind compass sculpture showing the winds of the region. In the last century, this port was a shipyard.

Monday, 6 May 2013

May 7, An Important Celebration for Split: The Feast of St. Domnius

Tomorrow, on May 7th 2013, the streets of Split will be highlighted with tradition as the city celebrates its patron saint, St. Domnius (Sv. Duje in Croatian) with a grand Dalmatian feast.

St. Domnius was the archbishop of nearby Salona (now Solin) in the 3rd century, but was martyred along with seven other Christians under the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian. The St. Domnius Cathedral is a landmark in Split (which oddly was Diocletian’s mausoleum) and remains from the archbishop rests here.

On the Feast of St. Domnius, various events take place within the old town, starting with a mass and procession on Riva at 10am where a parade of army officials, public figures, cultural and religious representatives will walk the stretch of Riva towards the the main fish market (peškarija) at 12:30pm where a free feast of food and drinks awaits.

On Riva, a myriad of stands will be selling traditional produce and homemade artifacts, particularly wooden cooking spoons. Evening concerts by Mladen Grdović, Lidija Bačić and klapa Cambi from Kaštela will liven up the city.

This important celebration on Split’s event calendar ends with a colorful fireworks display over the harbor.