A Brief History of Trogir
The ancient town of Tragurion (“island of goats”) was founded as a trading settlement by Greek colonists from the island of Vis (Zssa) in the 3rd century BC.
The Hellenistic town was enclosed by sturdy walls and its streets were laid out in a grid pattern. Tragurion goes back to the 2nd century when the historian Polybius mentioned it in connection with the attacks of the troublesome Illyrian tribe of Dalmati who lived in the hinterland pf Tragrion. The town flourished in the Roman period as an oppidum civium romanum, linked with the neighbouring cities of Salona, capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, and Siculi, a colony for Roman military veterans retired after all their many successful efforts of looting and plundering.
In the second half of the 9th century, Trogir became part of the Byzantine “theme of Dalmatia”, with its capital Zadar, and it was occupied by Venice at the end of the 10th century. Early medieval Trogir expanded to the south and new fortifications were constructed. At the beginning of the 12th century Trogir accepted Hungarian rule when the theme of Dalmatia was overrun. There was a short period of Venetian rule in the early 14th century, but it was not until 1420 that the town became part of the Venetian empire. Between the 13th and 15th centuries many new buildings were constructed, this period saw the construction of the Cathedral and the Camerlengo fortress, a radical re-modelling of the main square, and two campaigns of reconstruction and strengthening of the fortifications. The Treaty of Campoformio handed Trogir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to which it belonged, apart from a short period under French rule (1806-l0), as part of the Illyrian Provinces until 1918. As early as 1919 the first unit of the Socialist Party meeting was organised in Trogir – always a hotbed of political revolutionaries in the interwar years it was occupied by the Italian in WW2. After the collapse of Italy in 1943, Trogir was ruled by the partisans until the formation of Yugoslavia after WW2.
Half a day in Trogir
Trogir is certainly worth a visit. It’s just a 30 minute drive from Split and its very picturesque and has great atmosphere, restaurants and boutique shops. It’s an ideal half day trip from Split. We at Gecko tours visit Trogir as part of our fantastic guided historical tour – Salona, Klis Trogir tour – SKT. Alternatively, we are happy to arrange a private half day guided tour to Trogir for small groups in one of our great, fully AC/WIFI minibuses – see the City and enjoy a wonderful relaxing lunch at a restaurant of your choice.
Most of the highlights of the town are concentrated around the main square. You’ll see St Lawrence Cathedral and its bell tower, the town loggia, and the church of St. Sebastian and its city clock tower. The St. Lawrence Cathedral, the bell tower, and the baptistery are the main attraction in Trogir. You can gain access to all these sights with a 20 Kuna ticket (about EUR2.50). The Cathedral was built at the beginning of the 13th Century and constructed over the site of a previous Cathedral (built in Roman times) that was destroyed when the Venetian attacked the city. One of the most interesting highlights of the cathedral is the outside portal built by Croatian sculptor Radovan. You’ll see exotic animals and fantastical creatures as well as sculptors of Adam and Eve – it took him a lifetime to make but its certainly worth a few minutes of anyone’s time to wonder at his skills!
Right next to the portal to the Cathedral is the entry way to the Bell Tower. The tower has great views over Trogir and out to the open sea. At the end of the Trogir Riva is the Fortress of Kamerlengo which was built in the 14th Century by the Venetians to protect the town’s harbor. Again you get great views of town and the surrounding countryside from here.