Attractions – our nature
The Cetina region is the area in central Dalmatia, more precisely of its northern part, located beside the river Cetina, by which this region is named. This is the area of rich history and unspoiled nature. It is surrounded by mountains, Dinar on the north, Kamešnicaon the east, with Svilaja, Visočica, and Visoka on the west. The distance from the Adriatic sea and the largest dalmatian town of Split is only 20 kilometers.
The Cetina is a river located in the county of Split-Dalmatia. It is 105 km long and it flows into the Adriatic sea near the town of Omiš. The spring of Cetina is in the mountain Dinara, on 385 meters above the sea level, on the northwestern slopes. There are more springs, and the main is Jezero with the dept of 100m and more. There are much smaller rivers that are flowing into Cetina like Rumin, Kosinac, Grab and Vojskova. In this area, there are 360 spring. Along with the Krka and Zrmanja, Cetina is the largest Croatian coastal river nad its stream is covering numerous breathtaking landscapes.
The name Cetina was probably given by the native Croats after the river Cetyna in Poland, from where they immigrated to these areas in the 7th century.
The area of Cetina is also a place of rich history.
Did you know the fact that the first football games in the world were played on the territory of present-day Dalmatia, more precisely in the area of Cetina? Long ago, in the 1st century BC, young warriors of the Ilyrian tribe Delmati, ( native people form which the Dalmatia got the name) were, to pass the time, throwing to each other a ball made of leather or bulls hair. This was the case until the Romans arrived in the area, and Delmati were courageously resisting but they couldn’t resist the most powerful military force in the history of mankind. But the Romans couldn’t resist the fun playing with the leather ball so the legionnaires of VII. Roman Legion started to dribble each other rather than sharpen their weapons and gear, or to engage in social activity for the benefit of the empire.
In that time the Roman empire was covering many parts of the world, so it didn’t take long for them to get abroad with this game of football. Football activity extended on the Greek island of Samatrik, and then also in the rest of the world. Even it came in jealous England, which makes itself known to be a cradle of football. In memory of these events, there is an event called “Kolijevka nogometa” (what means cradle of football), a football match that is played by “Delmati” and “Romans”, which attracts many of tourists.
In the Cetina area, there is a large number of early Christian churches, and the most famous one is the church of Sveti Spas in the village of Cetina. It is undoubtedly, one of the most valuable and most glorious Croatina churches. After all, it is the oldest bell tower in Croatia that is entirely preserved. The church was built in the time of Croatian prince Branimir, in the last quarter od the 9th century.
Fort Vrlički prozor
At the beginning of the 15th century, the duke Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić built a fortified mansion above the fields of Vrlika. In the year 1523, it was conquered by Turks and remained theirs for two hundred years. Folk tradition, amongst the others, remembered the bloody lord of Turks, Suli ma Muli Hodžić. A violent bey, using “the right of the first wedding night”, grabbed the bride from the ceremony and he rode off on his horse in the town named Grad. Groom pride was crushed and he decided to wash it away in blood. Like a shadow, he approached the tower, climbed by thick vines to the window that was lit. Drunk by lust, the bey was looking at the naked body of the stolen bride. The groom jumped in, pulling out his knife, he stabbed the boy in the chest. Sulí`s mortal blood noise from the lungs, the farewell kiss of groom and jump from the tower to the abyss. After, every summer is grooming heather on that rock where the groom made his last breath.
Ascend to Gradina starts at church in Vrlika, from where we drive a kilometer and a half in the direction to Maovice, and then we walk for 25 minutes by dirt road.
On the stone cone underneath the mountain Svilaja, walls of fortress Potravnik are falling. Ocassionly, two torrents are ripping the sides of the stone cone. The mighty gorge Orlovače testifies the strength of the waters of the old. When I imagine that time, I see a town of stone, surrounded by waters, unpenetrable. The Turks are sieging Potravnik for days, rushing and dying in the waters of Orlovača. Realizing that they can not conquer it while it was protected by waters, they started to search the springs underneath mountain Svilaja. Seven days and seven nights they were putting ox’s skin and clay in the springs. Orlovača dried up and Janissaries completed the job in 1522.
The ascent to Potravnik starts from the center of Potravlje, then follows the shepherd’s trail to the top of the tower.
Town fort of Sinj
On the 7th August 1715, the courier of Mustafa Čelić, leader of Turks army, struck the knocker on the gates of town fortress and handed an ultimatum to the commander. “Hand over the city or I will crush it down and cut all of the living”. Commander Balbo refused to surrender, while Franciscan priest Pavao Vučković gathered the folks around the image of Blessed Virgin Mary in prayer. On the third day of the siege, the spear of the enemy pierced the chest of priest Ivan Grcić, and the city springs Miletin and Odrina were covered in blood. In the next days, the thirst, fear, and defection sneaked in Turkis rows and on the dawn of the feast “Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary”, Turkish general stoped the siege and ran away. The bells were singing victory, water on the springs became clear again, and the grateful people of Sinj crowned the image of Blessed Virgin Mary.
The ascent to the fortress begins at the square of King Tomislav, going through the Delbel passage it winds between cypresses and breaks out before the sacramental church of Lady Mary of Sinj.
On the Taboja ridge (707m) from the times of old, there is a tower observatory that controls the passage from Bosnia to Croatia. Right there the fortress was built by the noble family Nelipić in 1373. If we neglect the legend of how father built the fortress Čačvina on the east and son built Sinj on the west because of their quarrel, it remains a mystery how the Croats took it away of Turks in the 18th century. Visiting the remains of the fort, we see parts of the walls that were destroyed by explosions. Was that a thunder that struck the gunpowder storage and smashed the wall with explosion or is that a deed of the artilleryman Ante Grabovac, who was appointed as castellan of Čačvina because of his roll in “Small war”? Searching for the truth, I found his descendant in Sinj, who carried his legacy and the same name. He showed me a bundle of documents written with archaic calligraphy, stamped and signed by the provincial general of Dalmatia. “It’s here!”: Tony smiled and closed the folder.
It takes six kilometers to reach Čačvina by the road in direction Trilj-Kamensko. Then you have a separate road for Čačvina and parking at the village cemetery.
The northeast of the republic of Poljička is rounded by the river of Cetina, and above it is fortress Nutjak that guards it. The remains of the one mighty fortress remember many battles, arrivals, and departures of the duke Žarko Dražojević. In its long lifetime (1438.-1508.), a man of unusual skills fed the ravens which were nested in the crown of the fort, every time he was arriving in the fort. They were tamed and they would follow his every move and with the cry the would alert him about strangers in presence. He would come back, unharmed, from his fight celebrating victory with the raw meat along with hi blackbirds. Call for help from Sinj found him in the Klis in 1508. He jumped on his horse Riđan, trotted through Dugopolje, and climbed on Mali Mosor. Then he whistled and waits. Instead of his raven flock, he was surrounded by Janysaries who wounded him mortally. In the moment of death, he cursed the crew of Nutjak. Twenty years have passed, and the curse is catching them both, right ones and guilty ones. The same people who killed Žarko killed the people who were at that time in Nutjak. Centuries have passed, and still, on the day of Žarko death, two ravens from Mosor are flying around Nutjak to greet their master with a croak.
Access to the tower is possible by trail, which separates from the road Trilj-Bisko on its 4th kilometer. It takes about 15 minutes to reach it.
Fort Dinarić Glavaš
Folk costume of Vrlika is not interesting only for the ethnographer, covered with gems, it was alway attracting lovers of silver and so it became an object of robbery. The old woman remembers: It has happened in the “Great war”. A very car separated from the rest of the cars and drove to the hilltop. Two soldiers came out of it and walked in the fort with two large bags. For a little bit of time, flames were rising, then a shot. One soldier had jumped in the car and drove off in a hurry. Then I took a gaze in the tower. The dead soldier was lying on the pile of half-burned vests. I ran away. I came back there in the spring. There was no soldier, only the rest of the burned clothes, with no golden ornaments. Then, ten years passed. A car arrives around Ružarica to under fort Glavaš. It was a jeep from which a hunter emerged straight to the fortress. He was looking for something. Was he one of the soldiers who came for hidden gold? A sudden, scream! We ran to help and we saw a hunter lying on the pile of rocks, squeezing a large book viper (deadliest viper in Dalmatia), who bit the hunter’s neck anyway. When we stopped hitting the snake, the hunter was already gone.
The Dinarić is standing underneath the mountain Dinara and it can be reached by a detour from the state road Vrlika-Knin in Kijevo. Driving to Uništa you have to stop on the 8th kilometer. Glavaš is above you.
The fort Zadvarje are the gates of the Croatina cost and Cetina. Over the notch below wich the Gubavica waterfall roars, Turks have expanded existing fortress in the 16th century, achieving control over Dubci and Cetina. Fearing for their safety, people of Omiš have bribed the bey of Zadvarje, Murat, who left Omiš and in a wild spree kidnapped the girl in Kučići. The girl Katica, was begging for mercy in tears but the janissaries were cheering for bey. The full moon was shining when the bey took the girl in the tower. He ripped her clothes and raped her. She scratched the bays face with her nails to the blood and he strangled her to death. Four hundred and sixty years have passed since that crime, and yet still, in the night when the moon is full, the bloody faced bey is stumbling and screaming on the walls of a fortress.
From the center of Zadvarje, you drive to the surge tanks and then, when you get permission, go around the administrative building. A ten-minute walk and you are there, on “Murat tower”.