The Secrets of Imotski: The Extraordinary Imota Mosaic

Total Croatia News

One thing I have learned in Dalmatia is not to be surprised by anything.

Coming out of the hotel with some 30 international wine journalists near Imotksi yesterday, many of my international colleagues looked on with incredulity, as the neighbour was making short work of a freshly slaughtered pig, but the sight of the day for me was something altogether more incredible, as spectacular for its workmanship as it was for its unexpectedness. 

“Do you think this place is abandoned,” asked the Danish journalist, as we pulled up outside the vast Imota winery, once the second largest in all former Yugoslavia, churning out some 20 million litres a year. Looking at the numerous smashed window panes and general sense of decay, I could understanding his question. As for me, I was back in the Soviet Union in my mind – I have visted a million such places.

But then… 

Along a nondescript corridor and with vast production facilities seemingly unused through the internal windows below, we came across the presentation room, where a range of 21 wines from the Imotski Wine Association were to be presented. But as impressive as the wines were, I could not keep my eyes of the walls, for three of them were covered in the most fabulously detailed small tiles I think I had ever seen. Together they represented an overview of Imostki – the town, the nature, the tradion. A simply fascinating piece of work.  

As our host, Zoran Pejovic from Paradox Hospitality in Split explained, the tiles all have their original natural colour, and the huge mosaic – which consists of 450,000 pieces – includes tiles from all five continents and took some four years to put together. It is the work of Slobodana Matić, who was born in Proložac in 1947, studied in Belgrade at the academy of fine arts, and whose late husband was one of the most important writers of Ex-YU of the second part of the 20th century, Mirko Kovač.

Together with her students, the mosaic took four years to contstruct, from 1976-1980.

Even more incredibly, when I went to search for information about it on the web (ostensibly to get better photos), I found that there was almost no mention of it all, apart from this article (with much better pics), which went live two days ago (and so was probably inspired by the press trip).  Quite incredible.

As for the wine tasting… that is another story, and one which will be covered comprehensively by Google News tomorrow. 


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