While in Dalmatia, a day tour to the Biokovo-Imotski Geopark is a MUST DO! An area of exceptional cultural heritage, rich in historical and natural values. So much to see and enjoy. A one-hour drive from Split through the Dalmatian ‘Zagora’ hinterland, passing through fields and vineyards, watermills, forts, churches, and small villages built hundreds of years ago by Croatians of Bosnia & Herzegovina, fleeing from the invading Turks of the Ottoman Empire. A land of sweeping scenic beauty, delicious local cuisine, and exceptional vintages.
Driving from Split along the ancient inland Roman route through Cista Velika, we passed Roman tombstones, one bearing the name of Maksimin, the oldest known sculptor in interior Dalmatia. (2nd Cent. AD) Ruins of an early Christian Church have also been found at the source of the Vrlijka River. The ancient rounded stone-walled ‘Bunari’ were built to hold water for animals in this often hot and dry karst region.
The floor of the local parish Church and the fence around the cemetery bear engravings in honour of the Roman Emperors Galian and Valerian (c. 253-259 AD)
The old town of Imotski with its steep streets and numerous steps reminded me of many Dalmatian coastal towns, while the 10th c. Topana Fort offers visitors a splendid view of the Blue Lake below. The other landmark is the Red Lake, the deepest karst lake in Europe, with a depression of 528 mt. and a depth of 300mt.
Topana Fort, built to protect the town of Turkish Ottoman invasion..overlooking the Blue Lake.
Visiting Imotski is not complete without visiting the noble home of the Radinovinović Family, and we were treated to a guided tour, not only through the many rooms of antiquities but also to the underground JAGUL WINE CELLAR, a perfect location for wine tastings and private functions.
With much talk about the Sučić winery and restaurant, we continued a few kilometers to their restaurant in Glavina Donja, a stone’s throw from the beautiful and babbling Vrljika River. This delightful place is set in one of those secluded corners of the Dalmatian hinterland, providing the guest with an ideal feeling of privacy while still being close to nature. Here you can learn about local cooking traditions, experiencing the passion invested in food and winemaking. These traditions are all alive and well at the Sučić family vineyard.
The road back to Split winds its way across the fields towards the majestic coastal Biokovo Mountain range, passing through a tunnel and emerging on the coast near Brela, (A 45-minute drive) then continuing north, a drive of continual and sensational scenic delights, particularly late afternoon with the setting sun creating a golden glow across the sea and nearby islands of Brač and Šolta.
Returning to Split, we felt we had experienced a day that will remain a very fond memory for many years to come. The people we met, and the sights we saw, thanks to our local hosts and guide Jela Ganza and driver Branko Tonković, were exceptional. A wonderful experience and highly recommended!
Robyn Vulinovich – February 2022. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org