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Evolving through Greek, Roman, and Venetian phases, the historic port of Trogir boasts more than two millennia of continuous habitation. Its core is surrounded by solid defensive walls and incorporates a medieval castle, towers, palaces, and churches. Home to outstanding baroque and renaissance architecture, Trogir has been Dubbed ‘a museum city’ and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Situated on the Dalmatian coast, 27 km west of the city of Split, Trogir occupies a small island between the mainland and the isle of Ciovo. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by Greek colonists from Vis, developing as a trade centre with megalithic walls and a grid plan very typical of ancient Hellenistic settlements. It remained a major port until the Roman period, subsequently receiving two large Basilicas.
In 1420, the Venetians took control and added many new buildings, including the Cathedral and Carmerlengo fortress, the main square and yet more defensive walls. Today, Trogir’s Old Town retains much of its fine Venetian character – a great place for strolling or sampling the local cafe culture.
The Cathedral of St.Lawrence, one of the most important structures in town, is built on the site of a former early Christian basilica (destroyed in a Saracen attack) and now dominates the main square. Completed over almost three centuries, it features Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles, and an exceptionally fine stone portal attributed to Radovvan. The bell-tower, 47m high, is the tallest structure in Trogir – climb it for commanding views.
Nearby, St. John the Baptist church contains many medieval frescos and the tombs of the powerful Cipiko family. The town hall, also not to be missed, features a fine gothic staircase, various fragments of coats of arms built into the walls, and a well-preserved winged lion of St. Mark on the well outside. The city’s palatial complexes include the big and small palaces of Cipiko, which cover a town block and feature fantastic rows of Venetian Gothic windows.
For an overview of the town’s history, head to the Trogir Museum, opened in 1966. Its exhibits include archaeological finds from Greek, Roman, and pre-historic eras, fine sculptures and art, and numerous historical documents. Other important artefacts can be seen in the Kairos collection, maintained by Benedictine nuns inside the St. Nicholas convent. They include a piece of marble relief depicting the Greek God of Kairos, the God of luck, various renditions of Achilles, paintings from Trogir, religious objects and antiques.