Sunday, 3 February 2013

Roman Ruins and Walking in Solin, Croatia

The Church of St. Mary in Solin

Croatians are very proud of their history and love showing it off to visitors so when visiting the country do be prepared for plenty of visits to ruins.
The Cellars below Diocletian's Palace
In Split (the nearest town to Solin) is Diocletian's Palace. Don't be misled into thinking that it is just ruins. Despite several centuries of changes and additions, some of the original palace still exists. Nowadays this area is known as the Old Town which is confined within the palace walls.

I found it fascinating to stand in the main street watching people strolling and looking in the shops - exactly as they may have done 2,000 years ago. (I had visions of Frankie Howerd's 'Up Pompeii' sitcom). But where to start looking at the remains of this Roman palace - at the Cathedral, the Golden Gate, the Piazza or any one of several other locations. Best idea is to pick up a map at the tourist office and follow the walking tour.

On the outskirts of Solin are the ruins of Salona which was the original capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Now all that remains of this city are the ruins showing temples, an amphitheatre, the governor's palace, the forum, Christian churches and cemeteries.

Discovering the Fort of Klis
On clear days in the pass between two mountain ranges can be seen the fort of Klis which was very strategically placed to ward off enemies. It was originally built by an Ilyrian tribe and from the 7th century it was the castle of the Croatian kings. It subsequently became a fortress to repel such enemies as the Turks.

My bad luck was rain. On each of the three trips it rained - to a lesser or greater degree. So if you are planning a visit to this area in the winter there are two important things you need - wet weather clothing and some warm clothing - especially if planning a trip to Klis!

I chose to stay in Solin because I wanted a quiet and restful holiday, but it is also an excellent location if you enjoy walking as there are many walks available. There are also plenty of buses to Split and other surrounding towns.  There is just the one hotel - The President Solin - which is a 5*. Built in 2011 it overlooks Our Lady's Islet and the church of St. Mary. I enjoyed strolling along the footpath around the edge of the park alongside the River Jadro and its tributaries. The hotel is beautifully decorated, the staff are friendly and efficient, the rooms and public areas are kept clean and the food is excellent and plentiful.

One last word of warning - if you are even slightly disabled and need help dealing with steep steps (which often don't have a handrail) or cannot easily cope with hills or rocky footpaths, take a walking stick. I recently bought a folding one which is very useful as it can be packed into my suitcase.

This last bit of info may not come as a surprise - I went with Saga. The rep, Tatiana, is one of the best Saga reps I've ever met. Even though there were only a few of us she worked really hard and organised lots of local walks for those who wanted them.
Looking across the park towards the hotel.

No comments:

Post a Comment