Organized by the Agency for the Development of Split-Dalmatia County – RERA SD, as part of the AdriaWealth International Movie Convention, various cities in the Dalmatian hinterland were visited by over 40 representatives of tourist workers, hoteliers, guides, agencies and journalists in an effort to boost the tourism offer in the inland region. TCN was fortunate to take part in the convention, which took place from September 28-30, 2016.
On September 28th, the convention titled “International Film Convention in Split: The Creative Industries – Growth Driver for the Adriatic Region” eagerly kicked off at Klis Fortress. After the official opening and a thorough presentation on the AdriaWealth project, the series of discussions at Klis Fortress were based on topics such as “AdriaWealth capitalization concept”, “film commission – good practices and future steps for SDC FC”, and “international cooperation of young film makers”. The day at Klis was met with coffee breaks, a light lunch, and plenty of networking. The participants then made their way back into the city of Split to enjoy a cocktail hour and film premiere at Zlatna Vrata. The film “The Salt of Heart”, directed by Vladimir Kanić, was shown to all participants, as well as films from the first Kino Kabaret Adriatic that took place in Split from September 18-21. “The Salt of Heart” was filmed in August and early September of 2016 in the Dalmatian hinterland, showing the possibilities and tourism development in the area – the perfect introduction into the coming days of the convention.
Day two was marked by a journey to Sinj and Vrlika to experience the cultural, historical, and natural heritage the locations have to offer. The educational tour was organized in an effort to explore the attractive tourist destinations in the Cetina region, while displaying the strong link and accessibility to the hinterland from the city of Split.
When guests arrived to Sinj, they were greeted by the Mayor of Sinj, Kristina Križanac, and Director of the Tourist Board of Sinj, Monika Vrgoč. The day’s official opening was then followed by a visit to the shrine of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj which is displayed in the Church of the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj. Fr. Gabriel Jurišić greeted the group with the history of the monastery, recalling the Ottoman attack on Sinj in 1715. Extra significance was given to this meeting as the 300th anniversary of the coronation of Our Lady’s image was recently celebrated.
A quick stroll over to Museum of the Sinj Alka, which has been opened just over a year now, was met by museum director Boris Filipović Grčić. “In the past year since it has opened, the Alka museum was visited by 40,000 visitors, and next year the number will, according to our estimates, grow,” stated Grčić. There, participants enjoyed a full tour of the museum, exploring the rich history, extravagant costumes, life-sized Alka horses, and Alka props that are hundreds of years old. Guests were greeted on arrival to the museum with refreshments, with the whole of the experience crafting a perfect mid morning treat.
After a thorough museum tour, the group was accompanied by the famous Sinj Majorettes and seasoned and young “Alka” contestants for a visit to Kamičak fortress, where members of KUD Brnaze performed a traditional folklore rendition, encapsulating what is truly special about the Dalmatian hinterland.
After the visit to Sinj, the group made their way to tour the sites of Vrlika, just a 30 minute drive inland. Here, guests enjoyed the Cetina river, the old Croatian Church of St. Saviour (one of the most important pre-Romanesque buildings), rowing club Garjak set on Lake Peruča, and the Česma in the center of Vrlika where “uštipak” (Croatian fry bread) and cheeses from the area were met with a pleasant cultural performance by the local KUD.
As the day was approaching the mid afternoon and unfortunately the end of the educational tour, it was time for lunch at the spectacular setting of Panj, located in Hrvace. Panj is a stunning green complex complete with a bocce ball court, an old stone house converted into a reception room, livestock and rich vegetation set perfectly on the Cetina river. Guests were firstly greeted with an array of homemade rakijas and platters of domestic meats, cheeses, and sauerkraut. What seemed as if it could not get any better (or tastier), traditional, homestyle hinterland classics were served, including sausages, polenta, and the famous Sinj cabbage rolls, what many know as sarma and in Sinj is called “arambaši”. While enjoying honest-to-goodness fare, more dancing was had by HKUD Peruća-Hrvace, with KUD Vrilo-Obrovac Sinj making ears dance by chanting traditional hinterland songs in “ojkavica” and “rera”. As a surprise to the entertainment program, and to the delight of all that were present, the Children’s Alka Vučković paid the group a visit.
Day three was spent exploring the nooks and crannies of Trilj and the Klis municipality, other pertinent parts of the Dalmatian hinterland. The final day kicked off in Trilj with Marko Župa, head of Culture and Tourism in Trilj, and Andriana Ivković, Director of Tourist Board of Trilj.
The arrival of guests was met with a stellar panoramic view of Nutjak, a 15th century ruin located on the right bank of the Cetina river. Professional guidance then led the group to the archaeological site Tilurium where refreshments included homemade cakes and welcome drinks. The group made their way to the 600 year old water mill “Grabski”, the indispensable pearl of Trilj, where they were greeted by Emperor Diocletian and Empress Prisca to complete the effect of the Roman legionary camp Tilurium.
As guests then made their way to Grab, they enthusiastically tasted homemade uštipak and traditional breads, all accompanied by the sounds of the minstrels Jure Babić and Association Urig. Afterwards, the group made their way to restaurant Gaz where they were hosted by the sounds of folk songs and dances, thanks to the Association for the Preservation of Heritage Cetina Region. A true ancient feast where guests tasted as many as 17 ancient dishes, including plenty of Cetina specialties, was enjoyed by all.
In conclusion, the Dalmatian hinterland is not a region to be missed. The tourist offer is rich, including everything from adventure tourism such as mountain biking, kayaking, and even tandem parachute jumping from Sinj airport, to gastronomic experiences so different yet comfortable you’ll always feel as if you’re at a family gathering. The heavy culture in the region is truly unlike any other, with domestic traditions as prevalent today as they have ever been. Director of the Tourist Board of Sinj, Monika Vrgoč, has said that the tourist offer of the Dalmatian hinterland has already been presented at tourism fairs across Europe, and is planned to be represented next in Prague. As the pace is beginning to move quicker for the potential of this region, we can only think of the accessibility, cultural, natural, and historical perks the Dalmatian hinterland has to offer. A gift to Croatia – it’s time to show the world our inland treat.
In the words of Jozo Sarač, director of RERA SD, “The goal of AdriaWealth is to create a series of public-private networks for the implementation of results in the field of sustainable tourism and to contribute to the diversification of the tourist offer of the Adriatic-Ionian region, starting from previous positive experience in the sector. The project AdriaWealth transmits knowledge and promotes the sharing of best practices and I am convinced that it can contribute significantly to the creation of new, innovative and attractive tourism products.”
We know TCN is looking forward to the next one.
All images by TCN/TZ Sinj/TZ Trilj