Sedam bisera - Kaštela
A TOTALLY FRESH APPROACH TO THE FUTURE RE-DEVELOPMENT OF THE BAY OF KAŠTELA

The history of Kaštela in brief

Prehistoric times
Traces of all historic periods could be found in the area of the town and surrounding areas of Kaštela where cavemen have hunted here as found in Mujina Cave on the western slopes with artifacts dating back to 45 000 years BC.

The Roman Époque
During these early centuries, the Italics started arriving in this area and to Salona, many of them merchants, seafarers and some craftsmen when, in 119 B.C., the Roman army-commander, consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus, decided to winter with his army here. Namely, he required a safe place to stay and friendly inhabitants in order to have the army rested before the spring campaign against the Illyrians.
Small section of the Peutinger Map showing the coast of dalmatia
The first town
This first town, or more precisely, the core of the future Salona, was situated on the coast. There, by the sea, initially just in the harbour, the first trading and other contacts took place between the Greeks (those of Issa – Vis) and the local Delmats. Salona became the place where the Mediterranean merchants and seafarers met the local population, trading in arms, jewellery, ceramic vessels, etc. They exchanged these goods for leather, cattle, food and sheep and goats cheese known as caesus delmaticus. The first contacts and trading connections are evidenced by the remains of Hellenic ceramics (3rd-2nd centuries), found at the site of the town forum and the locality known as Manastirine.

Arrival of the Croats
According to one scientific thesis, the Croats arrived a few years after the first Slavic-Arab penetration, i.e. in the first half of the seventh century, another thesis, seems much more plausible, and dates it in about the year 800. The Croats settled in the outskirts of the Roman town of Salona, to the east along the Salon river, and to the west as far as Trogir. They colonised the lands that had been left “without masters”, the lands of the departed owners, who fled rather than retain the lands owned by the Salona’s Church, state lands, etc. Having settled here, they accepted the traditional style of farming and started a settled way of life in an unavoidable symbiosis with the few remaining natives. This was a common situation throughout the contemporary world.

Great Centuries of Croatian History
The ninth and the tenth centuries are the time of the formation of medieval Croatia. It existed as a union of distinct communities united by origin, language, leaders, living conditions, tradition and, when adopted in the ninth century, the Christian faith. Both centuries produced several brilliant pieces of evidence of the Croatian presence in the new land; through artefacts, buildings constructed at the time and through actions of some prominent Croatians.

The Second Fall of Solin – the Turkish Conquest
 At the end of the 15th century the Turkish menace became obvious in these parts as well, since this expansive force came quite close to Dalmatia. Having conquered the Bosnian state in 1463, it could attack and loot Dalmatian lands with ease. A Turkish company reached Split and looted it as early as in 1471. The Venetians, who controlled Dalmatia, however, avoided conflicts with Istanbul for political reasons. They were concerned about the overall political situation, including trading and economic relations, especially in the eastern Mediterranean. Yet bloody and cruel wars lasted for one and a half centuries: there were numerous clashes between the Turks, the Islam converts, the Morlachi, outlaws, companies made up of the people of Poljica, Split, Kaštela and European mercenaries – with changing fortunes of war, but with dreadful casualties and looting that impoverished the entire area. The climax of this tragic past was the persistent strife of the already mentioned captain Petar Kružić, who died in Solin harbour in 1537, lacking support by both his own king and Europe.

The Venetian Era
The importance of the fruitful trading relations between the Venetians and the Turks contributed to the prosperity of Split, where, by the sea coast, they built lazarettos, warehouses for transiting merchandise and for quarantine of goods and travellers. In the late 16th century, namely, in the circumstances of quite peaceful Venetian-Turkish political, military and economic relations, Split became an important centre for the transiting trading with the Muslim continent. Consented by the Venetian Republic, and advocated by the well-known Spanish Jew, Daniel Rodrigo, building of the lazarettos was commenced next to Diocletian palace’s southeast tower in 1581. The Split lazarettos were among the largest in the Mediterranean for some time: a large complex of buildings with storehouses, customs house and bank, followed also by quarantine houses for people and goods that arrived in Split by sea or through Solin, Trilj or Klis, or that were to travel through Sinj deep into the continent. Split harbour had well-built wharves for the large number of vessels docking. Fruitful trading relations contributed to the development of both Split and the entire area.
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