Surroundings

Trogir is a town on the central Adriatic coast of Croatia. Its preserved old town, known for its mix of Renaissance, baroque and Romanesque buildings, lies on a small island connected to the mainland and the island of Čiovo by bridges.

Trogir is about 38 miles (61km) from Sibenik and only 17 miles (27km) from Split, and has a population of just over 10,000. Trogir was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 and is home to a number of fascinating historic sights, the best of which is the Cathedral of St Lawrence. Its proximity to Split Airport also means that Trogir is very easy to reach.

Trogir is located on an island between the island of Ciovo and the mainland. Small bridges connect Trogir with the mainland and Ciovo.

Although the mainland facing Trogir is not particularly interesting, Ciovo island (really an extension of Trogir) is green and plush. The Mediterranean vegetation ends in small sand and pebble beaches on the western side. If you stay in Trogir you can combine sightseeing in the Old Town with beach days on Ciovo or you can take a boat to the unspoiled offshore islands of Drvenik Mali and Drvenik Veli.

Trogir is also advantageously located near the Split airport, making it a good alternative place to stay to catch an early morning flight.

Getting to Trogir

As mentioned, the nearest airport is Split Airport – the town is, in fact, only 3km from the airport. There is actually a direct bus from the airport to Trogir Bus Station – local bus line 37 – which stops on the road outside the airport (i.e. not outside the terminal building); journey time is 10 minutes. As the town is so close to the airport, you might also consider getting a taxi.

For details of which airlines fly to Split Airport, please see our Getting to Split page.

History of Trogir

Although findings in the local area suggest that there must have been settlements at the site of Trogir in prehistoric times, the town’s history really starts with a Greek settlement in the 3rd century BC. Greeks from the island of Vis founded the settlement Tragurion, which then went on to become part of the Roman Empire which was expanding through Dalmatia at that time.

Trogir came under Hungarian and Croatian rule over the next few centuries, including the rule of Croatian-Hungarian King Bela IV in 1242. In 1420, again as with much of Dalmatia, it became part of the Venetian Empire, until the Empire’s fall in 1797. Trogir then became part of the Austrian Empire (with brief occupation by the French in the early years of the 19th century).After World War I, Trogir was part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (which became Yugoslavia), although was occupied by Italy during World War II. In 1991, the town was part of Croatia when it declared its independence.

Sightseeing in Trogir

Trogir’s best sight is the Cathedral of St Lawrence (Katedrala sv. Lovrijenac) on which building work started in 1213 on a site where a previous cathedral once stood; the main part of the cathedral was completed in 1250. The cathedral’s bell tower was built between the 14th and 16th centuries, and can be climbed to see fantastic views from the top. A must see within the cathedral is the Chapel of St John, built in 1468, and which is considered the best Renaissance sight in Dalmatia.

Part of the city walls, built between the 13th and 14th centuries, are visible today on the southern side of the city. In the middle of the city wall is the city gate, which was built in 1593.

A city loggia stands near the cathedral, constructed in the 14th or 15th centuries. Over the years, it has had a number of uses, including that of a court. Within the loggia is a relief by Ivan Mestrovic, depicting Petar Berislavic of Trogir. He was a Croatian Ban (viceroy) and Bishop of Zagreb; he died in 1520 in a battle against the Turks.

The Cipiko Palaces, opposite the cathedral, were home to the town’s noble family in the 15th century.

Trogir Cathedral

Trogir Cathedral (Katedrala Sv. Lovre) — also known as the Cathedral of St. Lawrence — is widely considered one of the finest architectural achievements in Croatia. Construction of this splendid three-aisled structure, built on the site of an ancient church destroyed by the Saracens, commenced in 1193 and continued for many years until finally completed around 1500. One of the most notable features is the amazing Romanesque door, carved in 1240 by Master Radovan, and flanked on either side by two stone lions. Other notable highlights include a 47-meter-tall, 14th-century bell tower, which visitors can climb (usually before noon, for a small fee).

Also not to be missed is the Renaissance Chapel of St. Ivan featuring many fine paintings of St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist, as well as decorations created between 1461 and 1497 by Firentinac and Duknovic.

Beaches around Trogir

The Dalmatian Coast is famous for its calm and blue water, which is perfect for swimming and its pebble beaches. While there are no beaches in Trogir's city center there are a number of beautiful options within a short walk or drive. Medena Beach is in Seget Donji, which is a village located some four kilometers from Trogir. It is a pretty pebble beach that can get crowded in the summer, but is still fun.

Also check out Ciovo Island, which is across the bridge from the old town, and also hosts quite a few beaches. The largest is Okrug Gornji, which also gets really crowded in summer. For fewer crowds pay a visit to Slatina, on the island's other side. Here, you will find a lovely pebble and sand beach known as Kava.

Cipiko Palace

Cipiko Palace, in the Town Square across from the main entrance of Trogir Cathedral, was the home of the Cipiko family, one of the region's most prominent families during the 15th-century. The creation of famed architects Firentinac and Alesi, this splendid old palace — really two palaces joined together as the family's wealth increased — boasts a number of unique and noteworthy features, including a carved Venetian Gothic window designed by Alesi himself. Also of note at the main entrance is a carved wooden statue of a cockerel taken from the prow of a Turkish ship following a decisive battle in the mid 1400s in which Turkey was defeated (one of the Cipiko family members, a captain from Trogir, was involved in the battle).

Kamerlengo Castle and St. Mark's Tower

The impressive Kamerlengo Castle dates back to the early part of the 15th-century and is another top thing to see in Trogir. It was built by the Venetians and served for a time as the governor's palace. With commanding views over the sea and high walls connecting its three towers, this splendid old castle has found new life as a venue for outdoor performances held during the summer months in the courtyard.

Renaissance St. Mark's Tower (Kula svetog Marka), built after the castle in a circular shape, was once used to support artillery on its broad roof and was built to defend the channel between the island and the mainland. Along with its broad grounds and waterfront setting, it's a delightful place to explore as you ponder its former role safeguarding the old city.

The Clock Tower and City Loggia

One of Trogir's most famous landmarks, the Clock Tower was once part of the church of St. Sebastian. Located on John Paul II Square (Trg Ivana Pavla II) next to the Loggia, it is famous for its large blue face and domed roof taken from the chapel of St. Sebastian in the middle of the 15th-century. The tower also boasts a statue known as Justice, which was carved by Nikola Firentinac in 1471.

The Loggia, previously at the level of the square but now reached by a few steps, was once linked with the Church of St. Mary and is notable for its fine reliefs and columns.

Day Trip to the Blue Cave and Hvar

One of the top day trips from Trogir is to see Hvar Island and the Blue Cave. If you don't have a lot of time to explore the Dalmatian Archipelago, an organized tour like the five island speedboat tour is a great way to experience these stunning destinations. This tour isn't for the faint of heart, as it lasts 11 hours from start to finish, but you get your money's worth. And from Trogir, you'll visit Biševo Island and the coastal town of Komiža, explore the epic Blue Cave and Stiniva Bay, swim in the clear waters off Vis and Pakleni Islands, and check out Hvar Island's ancient architecture.

The City Gates: Land Gate

The Land Gate (Kopnena Vrata) was the main entrance to Trogir during the 15th-century and was a vital part of the Venetian defenses along with the city walls, which were built at the same time. Rebuilt in the 17th-century in late-Renaissance style, the structure's tall doorway once housed a drawbridge. Notable features include, the Lion of St. Mark (the symbol of Venice) above the door's arch, and a statue of the city's patron saint, St. John of Trogir (Sv Ivan Trogirski), also referred to as Giovanni Orsini in Italian.

Another historic structure worth a visit is the North Gate. Though much smaller, it served as an important access point, and today it's surrounded by many great cafés, shops, and restaurants.

The Church of St. Peter

Once part of a Benedictine monastery, the lovely Church of St. Peter is best known for the half sculpture of its patron saint looking down from the doorway with Bible and scrolls in hand. Believed to have been built in the 14th-century, the church's interior belies its rather plain exterior and contains numerous fine paintings, including works by such important artists as Molinari and Lazzarini.

Other highlights include a number of 17th-century sculptures by Jakov Jucen, who is also believed to be responsible for the building's fine paneled ceiling, as well as statues of Saints Peter and Paul carved from wood.

The Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas

Another monastic church of interest is that of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas. Built in 1066 with a bell tower added in the 16th-century, the building's most impressive feature is its splendid interior, completely rebuilt in Baroque style in the 1700s. In addition to fine inscriptions carved in honor of the city's leading figures, the building boasts a number of precious artworks, including the Kairos, an exquisite relief depicting figures and scenes from Greek mythology. Of the church's many paintings, the most notable are pieces by Antonio Zanchi, Paolo Veneziano, and Nicollo Grassi, along with a 13th-century Madonna and Child.

The Civic Museum

The Trogir Civic Museum (Muzej Grada Trogira), housed in the Baroque Garagnin-Fanfogna Palace, is across from the Land Gate in the northwest corner of Trogir. Highlights of this worthwhile museum are displays of a variety of Greek and Roman artifacts, old manuscripts and documents, drawings and paintings, as well as old uniforms and antique clothing. Also of interest is a fine collection of 18th-century furniture on the first floor.

While a quick visit is enough to explore the museum's highlights, its location near the Land Gate and the cathedral make it a convenient stop during a walking tour of this area of Trogir.

St. Dominic Monastery

Founded in 1265, St. Dominic Monastery has been much added to over the years, with its church and nave constructed later in the 14th-century. Highlights of this lovely monastery's exquisite interior include a number of important old tombs, including those of Ivan and Simun Sobota, well known in the city as humanists in the 15th-century. Also of interest is the triumphal arch and an altar made of wood by Palma the Younger dating from around 1600, along with numerous important works of art and religious relics.

The Town of Marina

Just 20 kilometers west of Trogir is the pretty coastal town of Marina, a picturesque community dominated by a massive tower that has been converted into the Hotel Kastil. This small seaside resort on the Dalmatian Coast boasts a beautiful sand and pebble beach, along with notable architecture in its two churches: the Gothic St. Luke and the Gothic and Renaissance St. John. Both were built in the 15th-century and still maintained by the same family. Marina makes for a fun day trip, especially if the aptly named Marina Bay is included, a much-favored spot for yachting types from around the world.

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