Monday, 3 February 2020

Meet the Treasures of UNESCO World Heritage Site Trogir

February 3, 2020 - TCN is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Trogir Tourist Board to increase the visibility of one of Dalmatia's true gems, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trogir and surrounding areas. 

A challenge will not only be fun, but also a pleasure. When you have such a fantastic destination with so much to offer and stories to tell, the task becomes a lot easier. And the stories of Trogir are fascinating and numerous, as we will discover together in the coming weeks and months. 

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A destination which is not only rich in heritage, but exploring the best ways to utilise that heritage for better quality tourism. The recent rebranding of Trogir into the town 'Marked by Masters' was innovative indeed, and a truly spectacular day was had by all a few weeks ago at the launch, which you can read about here (and more in the promo video below).

As other coastal towns and cities have lost the artisans and craftsmen within the city walls (Dubrovnik no longer has any, for example), Trogir has several great stories of modern masters making their mark inside Trogir's ancient walls today - fantastic authentic experiences which we will be documenting in the coming weeks (we already started with the coral jewelry genius of Misel).

There are so many other things to explore in Trogir, such as the surrounding vineyards, which are home to the original Zinfandel. But all that is to come, and we begin by getting to know the UNESCO town through its architecture through the eyes of our UNESCO heritage correspondent, Filipa Marusic. 

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Croatia is blessed with no less than 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and few are as compact or spectacular than the old town of Trogir. The historic city centre is an excellent example of urban continuity and is a well-preserved medieval town built on layers of the Hellenistic and Roman city. Different rulers and periods have bequeathed many valuable buildings and fortifications. The historic town has numerous Romanesque churches and lovely Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period. The influence of different cultures and times is visible in the whole town, and the city was added to the UNESCO list back in 1997.

The origin of the name Trogir dates back to the 2nd century B.C., which proves the ancient foundation of the town. The name means 'goat hill', which was probably related to the fact there were goats in the area. Additional evidence of the Greek presence is the Kairos relief, which is from the 3rd century B.C. – part of the permanent exhibition in a Benedictine monastery next to St. Nicholas church. The Kairos legend says that the god of the lucky moment is faster than the wind, and if you catch him by the tuft on this head, you will have your lucky moment and happiness throughout life.

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Different buildings from different times around Trogir city centre create a unique city centre complex where almost everything has its history. There are numerous sacral and residential buildings for the city complex.

The most attractive building is the Cathedral of St. Lawrence or - as locals call it - of St. John of Trogir. Its unique work of art from different art periods ranging from Romanticism, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. It took four centuries to build, and building started around 1200 on the foundation of the early Christian Church and probably former Greek temple. The length of the construction can be seen on the bell tower. The first floor is Gothic; the second floor has the features of Venetian floral Gothic of the 15th century while the third floor has Renaissance elements and was completed at the end of the 16th. Different artists were working on each level of the tower.

When you are standing in front of the main entrance, there will be a stunning Radovan portal gate, which is the most famous monument from Romanesque times. The Radovan portal construction ended in 1240, and 50% is the work of master Radovan and 50% work of his students. The lunette shows the birth of Christ, and the arches show different scenes from Christ's life. The portal has sculptures of lions on the left and right as guardians, and there are on each side sculpture of Adam and Eve. There are images of apostles and Bible motifs. Additionally, there are images of everyday life and agricultural work, depending on the seasons. The sculptures of the Saracens who attacked Trogir in 1123 are at the base as portal bearers. At the top of the portal there is the sculpture of St. Lawrence with the grill - The legend says St. Lawrence during his martyrdom said to his torturers "I'm well done, turn me over" and because of this he is the patron saint of the chefs and comedians.”

When you go past the portal and enter this three-nave church, the first thing you can see are narrow Romanesque windows and three semicircular apses in the east. The central nave is the location for the main altar with ciborium and sculptures of Our lady and angel Gabriel, made by master Mavro in the 14th century. In front of the sculptures, there are carved wooden choir seats work of Ivan Budislavić from the 15th century. In Baroque times, the main altar got a new marble tabernacle and statues of Blessed John and St. Lawrence. In the Church, the central place is for the crucifix painted by Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin in the 15th century. The Church has various paintings that show images from saints' lives. Another sight is a large wooden candelabrum in the form of a Greek cross of the 16th century, which was powered with oil before, but which has since been electrified. The Church had its first organ in the 15th century and then again during Baroque times. The new organ came to the church mid-20th century, but it was built partially from the old pipes.

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Another work of art is the Blessed John’s Chapel, built in the 15th century according to the draft of Niccolò Fiorentino, with contributions from Andrea Alessi and Ivan Duknović. They used ancient inspiration to make the chapel (Jupiter's temple in Split). The reliefs are showing the winged boys with torches that represent the afterlife. Life on earth is presented with apostles led by Christ, while round windows are a symbol of the sun. The cassette ceiling symbolizes the vault of heaven, and the central medallion represents God. The Blessed John’s Chapel has marble angles made in baroque style. There is a sarcophagus with the remains of the Blessed John.

The treasury of the cathedral is the place for golden and silver objects, church clothes, written documents. The Trogir diocese was abolished in 1828 and is from then part of Split-Makarska archdiocese. The sacristy has a library and coat of arms of the Trogir bishops.

In the vestibule in front of the church there is the 15th-century baptistery made partially by Andrea Alessi. There are famous reliefs made by him like Christ's Baptism located above the entrance and St. Jerome's cave inside the baptistery. The baptistry has a rectangular ground plan with cassette vaulting on the ceiling. There are images of angels with a wreath probably made under the influence of Niccolò Fiorentino. In the centre, there is the stone baptistry covered in wood in the upper part.

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Other sacral buildings include Saint Dominic monastery, Our lady of Mount Carmel Church, All Saints Church, Saint Peter's church, Saint John the Baptist church, Saint Sebastian Church, Saint Barbara Church, Saint Michael Church and Church of St Nicholas.

Saint Dominic Monastery dates back to the mid-13th century. There was a single nave church with a Gothic tower in the 14th century. There are several works of art in the monastery and Church as old as from the 14th century.

The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel dates from the Middle Ages and was expanded in mid-17th century.

All Saints Church was renovated at the end of the 17th century and is between the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Dominic. As it was old, the Church was closed at the end of the 19th century, but from the second half of the 20th century, it is used as a gallery. Today it is a souvenir shop.

St. Peter's church used to be within the Benedictine monastery intended for noble daughters. It was probably established by the wife of Bela IV who was hiding in Trogir in the 13th century. The monastery existed until the 18th century.

The Church of St. John the Baptist (13th century), at the time of construction, was an integral part of the men's Benedictine monastery. It has the features of the Romanesque style, with one nave. In the mid-19th century, it was closed, and was a temporary stone exhibition. Nowadays, the church is place for the collection of church sculptures.

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The Church of St. Sebastian is from the mid-15th century and was a votive church as a sign of thankfulness for salvation from the plague. It has a semi-circled apsis form turned towards the South, and with the entrance towards the North, since with its eastern wall, it leans on the neighboring Church of St. Mary, and instead of a bell tower, it has the city clock tower. The Renaissance front and the sculptures in the interior are a work of art of Niccolò Fiorentino. In the mid-19th century, it became a warehouse. Nowadays, it is fully renovated and is a memorial for heroes of the Homeland War.

Old Croatian three-nave Church of St. Barbara (St. Martin), with three semi-circled apses in the East, a bell tower in the middle of the dome and shallow niches in the sidewalls, was built in the early Romanesque style in the 11th century, with its northern wall leaning on the town loggia – the courthouse. In its construction, parts from the antiquity were used, in particular posts and capitals. From the second half of the 19th century, it was a warehouse, and at the end of the century was a depository of stone fragments. It was renovated on several occasions during the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century.

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The bell tower of the Church of St. Michael is a remnant of a demolished church and monastery, destroyed in the Anglo-American bombing in 1944. The Church was established in the 14th century, while the monastery, intended for the female students, was founded in 1595. The French rule abolished monastery in 1806. Later, there was a public school on the monastery premises, while at the time of the First World War it was the soup kitchen for the poor.

The Church of St. Nicholas (and the Kairos art collection) was created on the foundations of older smaller churches and the southern gate of the antique town, with the stylistic features ranging from Romanesque period to Baroque. It is an integral part of the only preserved women's Benedictine monastery founded in 1064, intended for noblewomen. The bell tower is from the end 16th century with lacy, stone grids, work of the stonemason's family of Tripun Bokanić. The interior has Baroque style ornaments, with stucco decorations and portraits of the saints. On the southern wall of the monastery's courtyard, there is the oldest Greek inscription built-in (2nd century B.C.) mentioning the names of people who performed public services. The courtyard is the place for a small stone exhibition from which one enters into the Kairos art collection, whose most valuable exhibit is the relief with the figure of Kairos, a god of the happy moment created in the period between the 4th and 3rd century B.C. In the exhibition, there are stone fragments found during archaeological research in the Church itself and heritage in paintings, silver, church vestments, manuscripts, etc.

In the historic city of Trogir, there are plenty of residential buildings and old palaces. We will have a look into Garagnin-Fanfogna palace, Ćipiko palaces, Town Hall, Lucić palace, and other houses from notable families during history.

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The complex of the Garagnin – Fanfogna Palace consists of two blocks of Romanesque and Gothic houses that in the second half of the 18th century became one bigger building. Today it's the place for the Museum of the City of Trogir. The permanent exhibition of the city museum includes the Garagnin – Fanfogna library in the original interior from the early 19th century, the Archaeological collection presenting the earliest history of the Trogir area and the foundation of the town itself.

There is a collection of the cultural history from the Middle Ages and the Modern Age presenting the town history from the 13th to the beginning of the 20th century. The traditions related to everyday life from 17th to 18th century are in the living room of the Garagnin family. The museum has the stone exhibition where one can see a collection of stone monuments that showcase the artistic tradition of stonemasonry workshops in Trogir as well as the room with work of Ivan Duknović. There are also the oldest urban layers of the town with remains of the houses from the 2nd to 1st century B.C. Trogir Museum is also a home for Cata Dujšin Ribar Gallery and Zlata Radej.

The two Cipicco/Ćipiko Palaces, the large and the small ones, were created by connecting Romanesque buildings. The palace has a lot of artwork from artists from the 15th century, like Niccolò Fiorentino. Andrea Alessi, Ivan Dubković. There are both Gothic and renaissance decorations and architectural influence.

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The Town Hall dates from the 13th century, and it was the centre of political power in Trogir for a century. It has kept its original purpose until today as it stayed the administrative centre of the town. It was also a theatre where noble families would mark their spots with emblems. During more recent reconstructions, people engraved all found emblems on city loggia.

There are several more palaces including Lucić palace - the birth house of the father of Croatian historiography, Ivan Lucić, located on the waterfront. Another palace is the Stafileo/Štafilić Palace situated along the central longitudinal street that following the direction of the antique decumanus (street in direction east - west). Then the group of Andreis houses located in the southwestern part of the town, near the Church of St. Peter, the group of houses of the Dragazzo family, the Berislavić house – birth house of the Croatian Ban and Bishop Petar Berislavić who history remembers as a courageous fighter against Ottoman invasion.

The City Loggia is situated on the southwestern side of the main city square, on the one side leaning to the Church of St. Sebastian – a tower with the city clock, and on the other side to the Church of St. Barbara. was built as a porch at the end of the 13th century. The 17th century stone table has its place in the loggia above which there is a renaissance relief of Niccolò Fiorentino with a presentation of Justice and city patron saints – St. John and St. Lawrence from the 15th century, with several subsequent interventions.

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There was a statue of the Venetian lion of St. Mark, which locals removed like all the other lions in town in the 1930ies. On the southern wall of the city loggia, there is a relief of Ban and Bishop Petar Berislavić, a work of art of Ivan Meštrović from 1938. In the past, the loggia served as a courthouse and as a sales location and place where duke would speak to people. Today you can enjoy a capella klapa music during the summer. There is also the gallery of the art collection of sacral objects of the cathedral of st Lawrence. There are numerous works of art related to sacral architecture.

The small loggia situated to the East of the southern city gate was a resting area for travelers who were late to enter the town after the city gate would close. On the wall of the loggia the writing on the wall describes its purpose. It served as a tent to keep the sun away and shelter from the wind for the people of Trogir and visitors. Until recently, the small loggia was peškarija – a fish market, while nowadays, in the summer, it is a place for the souvenirs.

The Northern City Gate is a new city gate built in the 17th century, and today's looks have from the 18th century. Above the door, there is the statue of St. John of Trogir, patron saint of the city of Trogir. The Southern City Gate is dating from the 16th century.

In front of the southern city gate, there is Štrandac – the flag stand which has changed its locations during history.

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The Trogir historic city centre has two fortresses – Karmelengo and St Mark tower.

The St. Mark Tower circular tower is from the 15th century, and it was a defence point and a slaughterhouse until the second half of the 20th century, while today its home to Dalmatian music. Kamerlengo fortress was built in the 15th century after Venetian arrival to Trogir. The original purpose was to accommodate the Venetian army while today is the lace for different music concerts and events.

From all these buildings and monuments, it's obvious Trogir is an exceptional example of the town that has continuity in urban development for centuries with a lot of representative artwork from Romanesque and Renaissance times.

Learn more about this lovely town in the Total Croatia Trogir in a Page guide and 25 things to know about Trogir, or visit the official tourist board website.

This article is produced in association with the Trogir Tourist Board. 

Friday, 10 January 2020

Trogir Flooded Twice in 2019: Seaboard Repairs Not Enough

In ten days, repairs will begin on a damaged section of the Čiovo seaboard in Trogir. Therefore, Čiovo residents will finally have seventy meters of their damaged and destroyed seaboard repaired, but repairs won't be enough, the city's mayor warns.

Trogir is a historic town and harbor on the Adriatic coast in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia, and has a total municipal population of 13,260. The historic city of Trogir is situated on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo. It is located 27 kilometers west of the city of Split.

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Trogir | Wikimedia Commons

The historic center of Trogir has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites for its Venetian architecture since 1997.

“This investment is worth around 500,000 HRK (67,100 EUR). We had a problem with a ship which was illegally docked, but we have resolved it and the project should be finished in three months. In addition, we plan to make additional improvements the seaboard, port authority and town square,” said Ante Bilić, the mayor of Trogir.

Both the Čiovo and Trogir shorelines ended up underwater twice last year, in November and December. Many other Dalmatian cities have been experiencing similar fates according to HRT on January 9, 2020. Extreme windstorms (Bora), heavy rainfall and a sudden rise in sea level could be disastrous for coastal areas.

“It has happened in the past, but not as frequently. This can hardly be solved by raising the seaboard level because flooding also occurs from catchment and stormwater. We need to discuss these issues at the state level and with ministry of the environment, because this is everyone’s problem,” explained Mayor Bilić.

Scientists have been warning that sea levels could rise from 40 to 120 centimeters in the next hundred years. Without serious investment into preventative projects, the question is who will end up in the "front row to the sea."

Follow our Lifestyle page for updates on environmental concerns and the effects of climate change in Croatia.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Trogir Tourist Board Looking for a New Director

December 20, 2019 - Fresh from its innovative branding of Trogir, Marked by Masters, the small Dalmatian town and UNESCO World Heritage Site is looking for a new tourist board director. Who is looking for their dream job? 

The Tourist Board of a town of Trogir has put out a tender in which they're trying to find a new director of the Board.

Now that the new brand strategy for the town has been created and is being implemented, and the preparations for the new tourist season are underway, they're looking for the person to manage the tourist potential of one of the most beautiful towns on the coast, with over a hundred years of tradition of tourism.

The ad for the job is published in the Narodne novine (Official Gazette), according to the clear criteria applicable for all tourist boards, and the applications can be sent before December 28th, 2019. 

Trogir is a jewel with enormous tourist possibilities and potential, not in terms of the numbers but in terms of the high quality of the offer and prolonging the tourist season. We have everything that's needed for that, remarkable UNESCO protected Old Town, which is still alive and not just a movie set, our three islands, decent restaurants, smaller family farms... But all of that should and can be even better. Whoever becomes the director of our tourist board will have their work cut out for them, but the criteria for where we want to go in the future are clearly set. Tourism is one of our major branches of the economy and we hope we'll be able to attract and bring a person of highest qualities who will know how to capitalize on the potential we have - Ante Bilić, Trogir's mayor, said.

By the beginning of December, Trogir saw 148 thousand arrivals and 611 thousand of overnight stays during 2019. Both of those numbers represent the 4 per cent growth, compared to last year, but the people from Trogir repeat that the increase in numbers shouldn't be the only indicator of tourist success.

"It took us a year and a half to build the new branding strategy of the town, and it creates great opportunities for us to position ourselves on the domestic, but also the Mediterranean market. We feel we should know how to answer to what the modern tourist needs, and give them a reason to visit at least 10 months in a year, and that's what our project of branding the destination is aimed to do. I'm proud that we're the first destination in Croatia to go all into that project, while on the national level it's still something that's only talked about. That's why we want the best, and the most competent professionals to apply for the position and to manage our tourist board.", the mayor added.

In addition to implementing the recently presented brand strategy, based on the old and modern artisans of Trogir, the new director will also work on the opening of the brand store, planned to open in 2020. It will also be the first such store in Croatia, and the director will need to create new content and offers for it, as well as promote it and communicate in modern channels.

"We hope that our candidates for the position will show the understanding of the concepts of the ambitious projects we started, a good level of marketing and digital knowledge and that their enthusiasm will follow our plans and desires. Yes, we want hard-working, creative and energetic people, because they are also needed in the public sector! I invite everybody who sees themselves in our projects to apply if they meet the requirements of the job. We're offering a dream job here in Trogir!"

Saturday, 30 November 2019

As Dubrovnik Sells Its Soul, Trogir Artisans Highlight Authentic Traditions

November 30, 2019 - Trogir artisans have been at the centre of the town's life for thousands of years. Unlike Dubrovnik, the modern Trogir artisans are upholding the authentic traditions of the past. 

The most thought-provoking presentation of 2019 for me so far was called Successful Tourism by tourism guru Doug Lansky at the Crikvenica International Health Tourism conference earlier this month. One of the most acclaimed speakers on the global circuit, Lansky gave a brilliant presentation of what does, and what doesn't work. HIs simple message for what people are looking for was something unique, different experiences. You can read the full report on Lansky's presentation here, but one of his simple observations was the following:

But it is the truly unique attractions which make us travel. And the very ironic thing is that those very unique things are VERY affordable and cost almost nothing. Imagine going to Paris without visiting two of its stars, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre - combined entrance price just 20 euro. The Taj Mahal (1 euro), the Pyramids (6 euro) the Great Wall of China (7 euro), the Hermitage in St Petersburg (8 euro), the Statue of Liberty (17 euro), Edinburgh Castle (20 euro), Macchu Picchu (39 euro). Lanksy took us through 15 world-class and very unique attractions, of which Petra in Jordan was the most expensive at 60 euro - total entrance price just 290 euro all in. In his example, a tourist coming from Vancouver to Paris to see the Louvre was spending just 0.3% of the holiday budget on the thing he came to see.

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Unique experiences. It is something I have been thinking a lot about ever since. Croatia has an abundance of unique and fascinating experiences, but they are either completely overrun by tourism (Dubrovnik, Diocletian's Palace, Plitvice Lake and the Blue Cave), or almost completely ignored by tourists visiting Croatia (incredible Vucedol, the birthplace of Telsa in Smiljan, or - for religious tourists - the only authenticated Croatian miracle in Ludbreg). 

I had another incredible authentic experience last week in Dalmatia, a 6am walk around a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site that I had all to myself in bright sunshine. Thousands of years of history in the stone streets and squares of Trogir, it was magical, and I encourage you to take the effort, particularly out of season, when most of the cafe awnings have been put away, thereby exposing more of the original stone. 

I was in Trogir for the launch of the new branding of the town, Trogir, Marked by Masters, a fantastic project with so many layers of genius that I am still trying to unravel them before writing a big report on it. While I knew that Trogir had a rich artisan history, I had no idea that the traditions of the past were so alive in Trogir today, or that all the actors in the promotional video above were in fact masters in their own field. The new branding of Trogir, Marked by Masters was not only a throwback to past history, but very much a link to the vibrant creative scene in the old town today. 

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Unlike Dubrovnik. 

If we were to make a list of must-see places according to Lansky's presentation, the old town of Dubrovnik would surely be number one on the list. It is even free to visit (or about 25 euro from memory to visit the famous walls). Just the kind of attraction that Lansky would be drooling over. An attraction which gets people on the plane with most of the money generated around it. A destination filled with fine stone buildings and cute arts and crafts from family businesses dating back generations. Unique and different experiences. 

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Except things have not quite worked out that way in Dubrovnik. 

The curse of overtourism and the obsessions with numbers, numbers, numbers is such that one of Croatia's leading boutique travel agencies told me they are considering removing Dubrovnik entirely from their 2020 offer. 

How crazy is that?

But if you stop to take a closer look, the reasons are plain to see. Several years ago I went to visit the legendary barber in the old town who had run his barbershop for about 50 years from memory. 

He was the last such business left in Dubrovnik. All the other artisans had stopped their trade or moved out of the old town, to be replaced by tacky souvenir shops selling cheap Chinese crap and Game of Thrones souvenirs. 

And the majority of visitors on their day trips were not even spending. I was shocked when a specialist souvenir shop, which has successful stores in other coastal locations, told me they were closing their Dubrovnik shop as business was so bad, especially in July and August when sales were worse than May and October. So many people in the town that those who wanted to explore at leisure and spend were going elsewhere. 

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I decided to look into the Dubrovnik artisan scene over the years. Many thanks to Miso Mihocevic and Miljenka Tarana for their local Dubrovnik expertise. Check out this 1929 map of the old town of Dubrovnik and its artisans. The map is from a 1929 edition of a book by Nada Scatolini.

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A list of all the arts and crafts shops which made the list. 

I asked Miso how things were in the more recent past, 1991 for example, the year of the outbreak of the war:

By 1991 there were 7 barber shops, now only one, 3 tailors, now zero, one hat shop (was old tradition and excellent) closed several years back; 5 joiners, long since gone. 3 shoe repair shops, zero now. ( in my time there was an interesting little shop that repaired umbrellas, time ran it over ..) Some craft shops have become souvenir shops and are hardly traceable even in the memory of my friends.

Apart from the solitary barbershop, nothing else remains in Dubrovnik today. 

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Which is why Trogir was SO refreshing. Although smaller than Dubrovnik, Trogir is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a formidable heritage dating back thousands of years. But the big difference between Dubrovnik and Trogir is that so many of those old arts and crafts are very much on display today and practiced by the youngest generation of the family business. 

Sculptors, coral jewellers, goldsmiths, tailors, shoemakers and a clock repairman - they can all be found in the old town of Trogir, practicing their family trade as generations of their family did before them. 

In an era of overtourism and making the quick buck, this new direction of Trogir is one of the most interesting positive tourism developments I have come across recently, certainly on the coast. 

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I encourage you to visit. But make sure that your day starts with a 6am walk around this magnificent World Heritage Site out of season, when you will experience Dalmatia at its very finest, and all to yourself. Then enjoy a morning coffee on the waterfront of one of the squares, before starting your tour of the Trogir artisans. 

To follow the latest from Trogir, check out the dedicated TCN section, or learn more about the town in the Total Croatia Trogir in a Page guide

 

Friday, 29 November 2019

Packed Winter Program Announced for Advent in Trogir

November 29, 2019 - Advent in Trogir will run from December 4, 2019, to January 5, 2020. 

Dalmatinski Portal reports that the third winter Advent in Trogir officially kicks off on Wednesday, December 4th with the charity event 'When Little Hands Get Together’, which will only be the slightest introduction to a series of events, concerts, plays, exhibitions, book presentations, gastro presentations and performances that will take place in the heart of Trogir's city center until January 5, 2020.

The winter advent festivities are becoming a beautiful tradition in the famous coastal museum town and an event that brings vibrancy to the city even during the winter.

“I believe that with the program this year, we have raised the bar a little more. We had a great response from the great reaction of the people in the first two years and this is a sign that this event was badly needed in Trogir - and we even have visitors attending from other cities in the surrounding area,” said deputy mayor Viktor Nova.

This year the morning and afternoon hours are reserved for the youngest guests. On December 6, the children of Trogir will wait for St. Nicholas, and over the next month, they will enjoy fairytales, face painting, workshops, performances, and more. 

“As for the evening program, it will be opened on December 6 by the stars of 'A strane’, the great Matija Cvek, who will be joined by Vjeko and Ana. In the days that follow, there will be concerts by Klapa Iskon, Amel Curic, Frajle,  Sandi, and Jure Stublic and Film. We will have an early New Years' Eve celebration in the morning with Trogirski Kanti, and Marko Pecotic will introduce us to the New Year,” deputy mayor Novak added.

You can find the full program for this winter’s Advent in Trogir here

Recall, earlier this week, the town of Trogir unveiled a new branding strategy, visual identity, and promotional video, becoming the first coastal destination in Croatia to use branding at such a serious and professional level.

The result of the creative process is the slogan “Marked by Masters”, influenced by the continuity of life in Trogir for over 3600 years, the great masters who have operated in Trogir since the Middle Ages, and the indelible traces that these masters leave. You can watch the new promo video below.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Trogir, Marked by Masters: Red Coral Jewelry from Mišel

November 28, 2019 - TCN meets the modern masters of Trogir in our latest series. First up, the red coral king Marin Miše of Mišel jewelry.

Earlier this week the town of Trogir unveiled a new branding strategy, visual identity, and promotional video, becoming the first coastal destination in Croatia to use branding at such a serious and professional level.

The result of the creative process is the slogan “Marked by Masters”, influenced by the continuity of life in Trogir for over 3600 years, the great masters who have operated in Trogir since the Middle Ages, and the indelible traces that these masters leave. 

While the medieval master builders, sculptors, and stone-cutters who lived and created in Trogir left their mark through the traces of graffiti around the town, centuries later, we can find Trogir’s modern masters thriving as artists, chefs, jewelers, tailors, and klapa singers, to name a few. 

Today, we meet Marin Miše of Mišel, a master of red coral jewelry.

Wandering Trogir’s twisted streets, it’s easy to miss the unassuming entrance to the Mišel workshop, nor would anyone presume that the expertise of five generations of red coral jewelers could be found behind their doors. 

Namely, Mišel is a family-owned business with a tradition lasting over 100 years. Run today by Marin Miše and his two sisters Marina and Vesna, the family’s jewelry tradition began by great grandfather Duje in the 19th century, though the family’s first storefront came only in 1932 when grandfather Filip opened a shop in Split. 

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“Duje had three sons: Marina, Filip and Vjeko, who were famous jewelers, though Filip was the most famous. In 1937, when Roma and Hajduk played in Split, he gave Hajduk's best player Mario Krulz a gold watch. He had his shop on Morpurgova poljana in Split. My grandfather Aleksander was Marina’s son. He was born in 1920 and at the age of 12, he made his first gold brooch. In 1962, he took part in an exhibition in Milan, where he presented two models of gold rings and garnered all praise. My grandfather opened his first store in 1970 near Trogir's southern city gate. In the 1980s, the shop moved closer to the current location, which has been at Gradska ulica 22 since the early 1990s. Unfortunately, my father Gordan, who was also very successful in running the business, died early,” Marin recalled in an interview for Slobodna Dalmacija back in 2016. 

Marin’s mother and father were killed in a car accident when he was 18. He has been determined to continue their craft ever since.

Today, Mišel creates jewelry and art pieces from precious metals, gems and other natural materials borrowed from the earth and the sea. 

“I travel the world in search of high-quality gemstones and corals. Mines in India, Asia, Africa, and South America supply the perfect materials for our collection of cosmopolitan jewelry that exudes the Mediterranean spirit,” Marin says. 

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Given he has the right inspiration and materials, Marin claims he can craft a piece of jewelry in just a few hours - moments even. However, more complex pieces can see the process take years. This, of course, depends on how easily the materials are acquired and how grueling the artistic process is based on the needs of the client. 

Marin gathers his inspiration from nature, which can be seen in Mišel’s considerable collection of red coral jewelry, their most recognizable product. 

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Thanks to Mišel’s unique coral, they’ve been lucky to travel not only around Croatia, but the world. In addition to the mineral fairs in Split and Zagreb, Mišel is a regular in the United States at the Tuscan Gem Show, the largest in the world. 

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“My jewelry pieces are not just jewelry; they are small sculptures. I design them and craft them with care and love. They will be recognized by people who feel a strong connection to Mother Nature and the Creator. More than one hundred years of keeping the tradition and following modern trends is no small feat,” Marin says.

Mišel is currently preparing for the next Tuscan Gem Show in January 2020, but until then, you can find them in the heart of Trogir, at Gradska ulica 22, or in the lobby of luxury hotel Le Meridien Lav in Split. And if you're not in Croatia? Take a look at the creative coral collections on Mišel's website.

To read more about the modern masters leaving their mark on Trogir today, as well as the latest from this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, follow the dedicated TCN Trogir page.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Marked by Masters: Trogir Unveils Stunning New Branding

November the 25th, 2019 - ‘’Our wish through branding is to become one of a number of similar destinations in the Adriatic and to become recognisable by the variety of special features we have,’’ stated Mayor Ante Bilic when discussing Marked by Masters, Trogir's new brand.

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The City of Trogir unveiled a new branding strategy, a new visual identity and a new promotional video for the city. At an event in a crowded town square, the professional public and other citizens were presented with the project that Trogir made as the first city in Dalmatia. After a year and a half of work involving more than a hundred people in various ways, Trogir has become the first coastal destination to begin branding at such a serious and professional level.

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The aim of the project was to identify the features that distinguish Trogir from other cities and to shape them into a new slogan, logo and narrative that will be talked about primarily by the residents of Trogir, those who work in tourism, residents of this Dalmatian region, local and foreign tourists, and the media. The idea is that by using heritage and local specialities in a contemporary context and by enhancing authentic values, the city can be positioned not only as one of the most desirable Croatian destinations, but also Mediterranean destinations. The project is modelled after many European destinations, such as Glasgow, Eindhoven, Bologna, Berlin..., which, after branding, recorded a number of positive economic effects, all of which Trogir also wants to achieve.

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“We decided to embark on this project because, by looking at foreign examples, we realised the positive impact that quality branding has on the lives of local people. We’re also aware that the market is changing and that only those who respond to the needs of today's tourists will be able to continue to develop without compromising the quality of life of local people. We wish, through branding, to profile ourselves among a number of similar destinations in the Adriatic and to become recognisable by the range of special features we have. Trogir deserves it primarily for the people who live here and create it, its beauty and heritage and the fact that it has been on the UNESCO list for 22 years,’’ said Mayor Ante Bilic, adding: 

‘’We want to stop Trogir from becoming a fast food destination. I’m proud that we, and on such a high level, were the first in Dalmatia to launch such a complex project which is based not only on new and beautiful visuals, but on a strategy that should guide us in the coming years, and, I repeat, bring great benefits to Trogir and to our fellow citizens. There are still many steps ahead of us and we’ll certainly be learning as we go, but I hope that we will soon become a positive example and that other cities will follow us.’’

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The project was worked on by the internationally award-winning Zagreb-based Fabular, a member of the REBRAND Hall of Fame™ Professional Association, among the top 25 brand consultants in the world, led by branding strategy director Anja Bauer, author of the proprietary "8 Branding Ingredients" formula and leading branding expert in Croatia.

In a process that lasted for more than a year, an extensive interdisciplinary survey was conducted on the perception, potential and challenges of Trogir, which analysed historical material, conducted surveys with locals and tourists, and talked to all meritorious people in the city - from historians, craftsmen, caterers, museum staff, City, Tourist Board, tourist guides…

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"Working on Trogir’s branding was interesting, intriguing, invigorating, instructive. Trogir is a place that fascinated us with its beauty and its depth of meaning and we all enjoyed creating its story. Through our research, we’ve identified three key things, impressive features that make up the identity of Trogir. These are the continuities of life over 3600 years, then the great masters who have been operating there since the Middle Ages up to this day, and the indelible traces that these masters leave. These are the three main elements, the so-called sweet spot of Trogir, based upon which we created the strategy,’’ said Anja Bauer, owner and creative director of Fabular.

The author of the new visual identity of Trogir is Maja Bagic Baric, one of the most respected Croatian designers. Fabular found the signature of 13th-century master Muscardell in the interior of the Cathedral of Trogir. Nikola Đurek, Faculty Professor in Split and Zagreb, who is otherwise the most famous Croatian typographer, created a new font. In the creative process, a new city slogan was created: "Marked by Masters".

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"The new visual identity of the city of Trogir outlines traces carved in stone and unique, world-class art. Inspiration was found in old traces, signatures and notes left by the medieval masters at the Cathedral of St. Lawrence and the Church of St. John the Baptist. 

It is a trace of a mark in time that bears witness not only to the supreme creativity, but also to life and play - a prayer - a sailboat and a permit and the completion of construction of Radovan’s stamp. The logo depicts a the lines for a traditional game called Trlja (Mlin) carved in stone; it is one of the common clues left by the masters at St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Lawrence and the Church of St. John the Baptist.

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It tells us about the simplicity and beauty of living in Trogir, and points out that in addition to magnificent buildings, the beauty of everyday life in Trogir is equally inspiring. A system of pictograms has been developed, inspired by the urban and artistic heritage of the city of Trogir, as well as outlining everyday life through the traces and graffiti left by the medieval masters builders, sculptors and stone-cutters who lived and created things here, who, centuries later, still vividly testify to the intertwining of the sublime and the living,’’ explained Anja Bauer.

The project has also seen a new promotional video of Trogir created, and behind the footage is the multi internationally award-winning Split cinematographer Milan Latkovic. The shooting lasted for 30 days, with five hours of footage, the first of which was created in a series of videos showing Trogir in a new light.

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The video is special in that it involves many people, with an emphasis on craftsmen (masters), both those who created it, and many contemporary craftsmen - sculptors, painters, coralers, tanneries, as well as children from Trogir’s schools and kindergartens, athletes, grandmothers from the market and many others, olive growers, beekeepers, winemakers, chefs ..., all the people who make the city what it is.

"The filming was interesting and fun, and sometimes even dangerous, such as when we went into the apiary in shorts. There were also ankle twists along Trogir’s cobbles, the clouds knew how to cover the sun when it was not needed, but we still managed to capture everything just as we’d imagined.

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There were days when we were filming at 12 o'clock, which at 35 degrees and when the sun is at its most fierce can be quite exhausting, but in the lives of me and my colleague Ratko Ilijic, this is common. All for a good shot. We met a lot of great people from Trogir and learned many things we didn't know about the city, even though we’d been there so many times before. We were most impressed by the craftsmen who work there and who haven’t been influenced by the negative effects of mass tourism, but who instead stick to tradition. It was challenging to reduce five hours of material don to just three minutes, but modern trends want short forms. Fortunately, we have so much great stuff captured that the plan and desire is to make a series of small videos in the next year in which we’ll show everything we filmed. It would be a shame not to see all that, too,’’ said Milan Latkovic.

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Many heads of tourist boards, tour guides, hotel and agency managers and other tourism professionals had the opportunity to visit the city for the first time today in a so-called masterful tour through which all the special features of the new branding of the city were shown, and the tour was led by an experienced guide, a Trogir native, Ana Tomić. The famous Trogir chef Robert Predrag Žmire also joined the project, not only as a face in the video, but also as the author of a special, modern menu made up of traditional Trogir dishes. For this occasion, children from kindergartens in Trogir worked on a project to play traditional games such as Trlja, with the aim of preventing them from escaping collective memory.

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‘’The branding of a destination is very important, especially when it comes to tourist cities, for which tourism is one of the main branches of the economy. I really liked what I saw in Trogir and this is the direction that all Dalmatian cities should go in in terms of developing their brand, and I can say that Split is going in that direction as well,’’ said Alijana Vukšić, director of the Split Tourist Board.

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In the coming years, the implementation of this project will follow, aiming at what everyone wants - to attract the more affluent, the so-called cultural tourists who stay longer and spend more through the revitalisation of neglected and hidden locations, both in the core and beyond, then the lengthening of the season, holding ‘’master’’ workshops, organising various events which encompass Trogir’s new brand throughout the year, cooperating with universities, hosting art colonies, and sports competitions.

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Find out more about Marked by Masters and Trogir's branding by watching the video below:

Follow our dedicated travel page for more information on Trogir, Marked by Masters and much more.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Kindness of Strangers and Safety: Croatia's Under-Promoted Tourism Jewels

October 11, 2019 - The land of sun and sea, but also the land of kindness of strangers and safety - Croatia's under-promoted tourism jewels. 

One of the things I like about working in the media in Croatia is TCN's position of being local and being foreign - local knowledge with a foreign eye. It means that while we understand how things work in Croatia, we also have an understanding of what foreigners - and in particular - tourists are looking for in terms of information. One simple example of this was soon after we started Total Split. 

As a foreigner, I knew how complicated and confusing it was for tourists looking to buy ferry and catamaran tickets, but as a local I knew how easy it was - locals had simply grown up with the system. 

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A simple guide for tourists ensued (and needs to be updated...), which has proved very popular over the years, with many locals seeing the value of it and placing a link on their accommodation websites. 

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And so to last week. A tourist from Minnesota posted on his personal Facebook page about the kindness of waitress Ana from Restaurant Riva in Trogir. Having left his wallet at the restaurant the next day, he returned not expecting it still to be there with all the money inside. But that is exactly what he found as Ana returned the wallet to him. She refused a tip and so the tourist bought her flowers instead. A nice story which many locals would take as standard, for this kind of thing happens often in Croatia. And while it also happens in other countries of course, it is sadly increasingly rare in the Western world. Someone tagged me in the original Facebook post, suggesting it would make a great story. I agreed, and 20 minutes later, What Happens If You Leave Your Wallet in a Restaurant in Trogir, Croatia was live. Apart from telling the story, a chance also to put in some images of gorgeous Trogir and a link to a more detailed article on this UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Having learned how the Croatian media works after several years of running TCN, my work did not end there - a link sent to a couple of people with connections with the decision-makers in certain publications, and I sat back and watched the story unfold - Slobodna, Dalmacija Danas, Jutarnji, Index - a nice positive story to lighten the day. 

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There were plenty of reactions to the story, and two of the main themes got me thinking. The first was the number of locals who didn't think that this was much of a story, for what Ana had done was second nature in Croatian society. And the second response was from the considerable number of people who added their own anecdotes of how they had left things - money, cameras, laptops - only to return and find them where they left them. Something which many concluded would simply not happen these days in their home country. 

Every foreigner I know here has a similar story, and I have lost count of the number of times I have left something in a bar, only to return and find it still there. Perhaps my finest hour in this respect was last year after a cold one too many when I realised the next morning in Varazdin that my laptop had fallen out of my backpack somewhere in the streets of Zagreb. While I was contemplating how I would survive the loss of the machine that fed the family, I received a message on Facebook asking if I had lost a laptop in Zagreb. Expecting this to be the start of an intricate blackmailing process for cash, I could not have been more wrong. And two hours later, I was reunited with my laptop, one which had been repaired by the kind stranger who had found it abandoned in a street in central Zagreb. It is one of my favourite stories of my 17 years in Croatia

The kindness of strangers is something I have become used to over the years in Croatia, as has the safety. Truly, there is no better place in the world to bring up children in those impressionable early years. Starting life on the idyllic island of Hvar, surrounded by nature, community and learning to swim at the age of three, childhood in Croatia is still As It Once Was. 

I have had several conversations in recent weeks with returnee Croats, several of whom have returned with family. As a place to bring up family, Croatia was easily the safest option to bring up a family. There was no part of Zagreb I am afraid to walk late at night, said one, and I certainly couldn't say that of Sydney. 

And with the digital and remote worker revolution around the corner potentially addressing one of the biggest causes of the crushing emigration in Croatia - jobs - a key aspect to making this happen is to communicate the message that Croatia is a safe place to bring up families, where the kindness of strangers is the norm and not the exception. While locals may realise that Croatia is a kind and safe society, the message needs to be exported. 

This theme of how Croatians want tourists to see them and what tourists actually experience came into focus at the recent Croatia 365 conference in Zagreb. Katarina Milicevic from thinktank Think Tourism took the example of gastronomy. Many of the conference participants agreed with her suggestion that gastronomy was Croatian tourism's most important offer after sun and sea. As a scientist, Milicevic went on to present some results of social media analysis of the promotion of Croatian gastronomy in official tourism promotion. In a recent interview with Poslovni, Milicevic explained one of the reasons why Croatia's average tourism spend of 86 euro was a lot lower than some of the neighbours - while Croatia believed that it was a gourmet destination, it was doing a very poor job at projecting that gourmet image, so that arriving tourists were unaware. 

According to the Milicevic interview in Poslovni, she analysed the social media of the Croatian National Tourism Board over 12 months, and the results told their own story of how gastronomy was perceived as a pillar of Croatian tourism excellence. Of the 1,100 Instagram posts, just 20 were related to food and wine, of the 440 Facebook posts, just 15 were related to gastronomy. Little wonder that tourists arrive with low gourmet expectations, perhaps. 

The good news is that all this is easy to fix. Croatia, the lifestyle destination - for tourism, bringing up young families, remote living - it has so much to offer. 

We just need to be a bit better at communicating the message of the treasures we possess. And the currency of the kindness of strangers and safety are increasingly in demand in this crazy world. 

Thinking about moving to Croatia? Here is the Total Croatia Living in Croatia guide to give you a little more info.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

What Happens If You Leave Your Wallet in a Restaurant in Trogir, Croatia?

October 8, 2019 - A heartwarming tale of honesty from a Minnesota tourist visiting Trogir.

One of the first things expats will tell you about the benefits of living in Croatia is just how safe it is. From walking around late at night to letting children play outside, Croatia seems (happily) to have been caught up in a time warp of the past where some of the less savoury aspects of modern life rarely occur in Croatia. Murders and violent crime are rare, as is theft (unless you talk on the State level...). I remember reading in the regional news a few years ago about the theft of a few litres of olive oil from a resident's garage - that is the level of crime epidemic we are dealing with.

When I first moved to Hvar, I never locked my house, and neither did many of the neighbours. There was simply no need, and it was easier for the postman to enter (as he did) if he had a package to deliver while you were out or sleeping. I know of many foreigners and diaspora who have moved to Croatia to bring up their kids in a safer environment. 

And part of that safety comes with honesty. I have lost count of the number of times I have left my laptop in a bar after a cold one too many to find it just where I left it. There was even my favourite story of the postman who liked a drink or two who left the town's pension money on a cafe table as he went off to do his rounds. He was more than a little relieved to find it being looked after in the cafe two hours later. And for my personal ultimate experience, this is what happened when I dropped my laptop on the streets of Zagreb and only noticed the next morning

And so to the reason for this post and the identity of the lovely lady above. Perhaps it is best told through the words of tourist John Kaul from Minnesota, a region with a sizable Croatian population of its own. John was apparently enjoying his holiday in Trogir when disaster struck:

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This is Anna. She works in a restaurant in Trogir, Croatia. Yesterday was not a red-letter day for me. I dropped my camera and damaged a lens. Then I left my wallet at a restaurant the same evening. The next morning when I returned to the restaurant in a state of near apoplexy she comforted me by rejoining me to my wallet. Everything was there. I tried to thank her with a big tip. She would have none of it. So, I went off to a local market bought her these flowers. She said that I had made her very happy. Not nearly as happy as she had made me! I love Croatia and Croatians are the warmest and most honest people on earth.

Great story - if anyone knows the name of the restaurant, please let me know and I will add, so that others may enjoy Anna's fine service and hospitality. 

I loved some of the comments below John's post:

When I got to Croatia the first time I said "my family left this place for the Iron Range of Minnesota??? You've got to be kidding me!" lol! It honestly is a magical place to me. I am glad you have been enjoying your vacation!

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You have heard about the lovely people of Trogir, now meet the town, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site close to Split. Learn more in the Total Croatia Trogir in a Page

 

 

Friday, 4 October 2019

1.4 Billion Kuna Agreement Signed for Water Supply in Kaštela and Trogir

ZAGREB, October 4, 2019 - A 1.43 billion kuna (€193 million) co-financing agreement for the construction and reconstruction of the municipal water supply infrastructure in the Kastela and Trogir agglomeration was signed in Split on Thursday. The work should be completed by December 2023.

The agreement was signed by Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić, the CEO of the Hrvatske Vode water management company, Zoran Đuroković, and the CEO of Split's "Vodovod i Kanalizacija" company, Tomislav Šuta.

The project provides for the construction and reconstruction of more than 125 kilometres of the water supply network and over 230 kilometres of the public drainage system. After its completion, over 8,600 households will be connected to the public drainage system and over 1,600 households to the public water supply network, Minister Ćorić said.

About 70 percent of the project cost will be co-financed through the EU operational programme "Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020."

Also signed was a 16.1 million kuna (€2.17 million) co-financing agreement for the construction of municipal water supply works in Lećevica, a village in Split-Dalmatia County.

More Trogir news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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