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The town of Omiš in Croatia

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Escutcheon of the town of Omiš (author Frank Murmann). Click to enlarge the image.Port. Click to enlarge the image.Omiš is a central port city of Dalmatia in Croatia. It counts nearly 6,600 inhabitants. But Omiš is also a commune, of almost 15,500 inhabitants, being part of the county of Split-Dalmatia.

The peak Omitted overhanging Saint Peter (author Hedwig Storch). Click to enlarge the image.This picturesque small town owes its celebrity to pirates who prevailed in his trimmings of Xe century to first half of the 15th century. Omiš is with the mouth of the Cetina river, where the pirates found refuge; it is dominated by a stripped mountain where they built two fortresses from where they could supervise the sea traffic in the channel of Brač.

The Ćaća restaurant in Omis. Click to enlarge the image.Today, Omiš is mainly a seaside resort which experiences - as will riviera it of Omiš - a discrete development of tourism.

The starting quay of the boat-taxis with Omis (OnkelJohn author). Click to enlarge the image.This tourism is centered on the excursions along the valley Cetina or the visit of the Dalmatian islands, the festivals of traditional songs “unaccompanied” (klapa) and the celebration of the tradition of piracy whose city is made proud without shame.

It is thought that the toponym of Omiš derives from the Slavic word Holm or Er, translation of a word illyrien Onaion or Greek Oneon, meaning “hill”. Under the Roman Empire, the city was named in Latin Oneum or Onaeum.

Starting from the end of the 15th century, when the city fell to the power from the Republic from Venice, it was known under the Italian name of Almissa.

For a French, the name of Omiš decides “omiche”.


The estuary of Cetina with Omis (author Zoran Knez). Click to enlarge the image.Omiš is located in the middle of Dalmatia, to 25 km in the south-east of capital, Split, on the trunk road D8. The city extends from the commune of Duća, in the west, to the commune of Brela, in the east.

The port of Omiš is on the Adriatic coast with the mouth of the Cetina river.

Doors of Cetina close to Omitted. Click to enlarge the image.


The left bank of Cetina with Omis. Click to enlarge the image.Omitted seen since the citadel. Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).The silhouette of the solid mass of Mosor dominates the town of Omiš; steep lanes climb with the attack of this impressive spur, crowned by the ruins of two fortresses.

At the time of the Venetian domination, Omiš - because of its strategic position - was a military and maritime city protected by walls on three sides, the northern side being protected by the mountains. These walls were mainly destroyed as from the 19th century, but of the vestiges of ramparts are still visible at certain places.

The Fortress of Mirabella
The first of these fortresses was the fortress of Mirabella, also named Peovica, built at the 13th century under the Kačić dukes who reigned on the pirates of Omiš. This fortress - located at a 245 m height - was very important for the pirates, because from this place they could supervise a vast zone of the ground and sea: since Peovica, one can indeed observe the totality of the town of Omiš, the channel of Brač, the islands of Brač, of Hvar and Šolta, Poljica average and the mouth of the Cetina river.
The Fortress of the Old city (Stari Grad)
The fortress of Stari Grad in Omis. Click to enlarge the image.The fortress of Stari Grad in Omis (author Hedwig Storch). Click to enlarge the image.The second fortress is the Fortica fortress or fortress of the Old city (Stari Grad), located above the city; it dates from the 15th century and was built mainly to defend the city against the attacks of the Othomans.

The legend says that in 1537, at the time of an attack by the Turks, the defenders of Omiš impressed the attackers by their cries and of the blows so much so that the Turks over-estimated the number of defenders and fled.

The Church Saint Peter (Crkva Svetog Petra)
The pre-Romance church Saint Peter (Crkva Svetog Petra Na Priku U Omišu) is located on Right Bank of the Cetina river, in the district of Priko. A this building of Xe century, with only one nave, a cupola and an apse; it is one of the most invaluable monuments of Dalmatia going back to this time, the only church with cupola dating from Xe century. It is mentioned in documents as of the year 1074, under the reign of king Slavac. At the 18th century, starting from 1750, it was used as seminar for the priests glagolitic.
The Church Saint Michael (Crkva Svetog Mihovila)
The frontage of the church the Michaelmas d' Omiš. Click to enlarge the image.The Saint Michael church is the parish church of the one of the two parishes of Omiš, located in the old workings of the city. It is a building mainly of early style baroque - with Gothic elements and Rebirth - built at the beginning of the 17th century, starting from 1604, to replace a medieval church become too small.

In a niche, above its gate of style mannerist, a statue of saint Michel Archange is. On the walls of the church one finds emblems the noble Venetian ones and the escutcheon of the town of Omiš. The bell-tower dates from the 18th century: its construction began in 1720 and was completed in 1724.

The interior of the church conceals many invaluable objets d’art: most invaluable and most famous of four retables is the “Descent of the Holy Spirit”. These retables are the work of the school of Palma the Young person. The crucifix on the furnace bridge of the Holy Cross is the work of the sculptor Juraj Petrović; the furnace bridges of Our Lady and Saint Michael were carried out by the sculptor Ivan Rendić.

The River Cetina (Rijeka Cetina)
To go to the Cetina River.
The Cetina river close to Omitted. Click to enlarge the image.The Cetina river close to Omitted. Click to enlarge the image.Huts of fishermen on Cetina close to Omitted. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).

History and traditionsHistory, literature, arts, traditions, legends, religions, myths, symbols…

The area around Omiš was initially populated by Illyriens. Under the Roman Empire in this area several small colonies were, of which Oneum, which was located on the territory of current Omiš. After the fall of the Roman Empire of Occident, the city knew a short Byzantine domination.

Omiš fell then to the hands from Slavic from Neretva which controlled it until the 14th century. To 12th and 13th centuries, the city was directed by princes Kačić, who were to the frightening pirates of Omiš, among the most dangerous pirates of the Mediterranean.

The pirates of Omiš used very powerful ships with oars, called “arrows of Omiš” (sagittas). These ships were designed for the attack and the fast retirement in the mouth of the Cetina river; one of the most important characteristics of the “arrows of Omitted” was a weak draft; the pirates built an underwater wall in the river bed Cetina, close to the estuary. This underwater wall (Mostina) was not visible and comprised only one opening, which was adapted to the ships of the pirates, but caused the failure of the enemy ships if they tried to continue the pirates. On left bank of the Cetina river small was extremely (Gomilica), today ruins some, whose role was associated with Mostina.

The pirates of Omiš (Omiški gusari) attacked the papal galleys and to the powerful trading vessels of the Republic of Venice, Raguse, Kotor or Split… That led to frequent wars carried out against the pirates, and often to the concluding of peace agreements with payment of tributes to the pirates. However, any peace with the pirates was of short time.

In 1221, the pirates carried a victory against a fleet of cross going to Palestine to the call of the pope Honorius III. But, in 1286-1287, the Venetian ones overcame then princes Kačić, which put an end to their domination on Omiš, known under the Italian name of Almissa. After the fall of princes Kačić, the hacking will continue but will be never as virulent as under their reign.

In 1444, Omiš recognized the authority of Venice. The area, like its surroundings, was the place of ceaseless combat between Turks, Vénitiens, Hungarian, Croatian and other Christian people. In 1498, a first Turkish invasion showed their defeat but, in 1537, Omiš fell between their hands: the Turks occupied the city until 1684.

The city returned then under the domination of Venice until 1797, date on which Omiš passed to the hands of the Austrians, then under the control of the Napoleonean French Empire, then, in 1815, again under that of the Empire Austro-Hungarian until 1918. For this period, the city lost of its strategic importance and is impoverished.

With the beginnings of industry and tourism at the beginning of the 20th century, Omiš took again its development.

The “republic of Poljica (Poljička republika)”
The “republic of Poljica” was an autonomous community which existed, since the end of the Middle Ages until the modern time, close to the town of Omiš. The name of Poljica comes from the word “polje” which means “flat” in Croatian, by reference to the karstic plains characteristic of this territory.

This community of twelve villages was organized as a “republic of peasants” whose inhabitants obeyed only their own laws. The territories of the “Republic of Poljica” were mainly in the south-eastern curve made by the Cetina river before its mouth with Omiš, in the valleys of Mosor and the fertile coastal strip between Omiš and Stobreč.

The quarrelsome mountain dwellers of Poljica very early became the allies of the pirates of Omiš, who could thus badger the maritime trade their neighbors, without fear of a sudden attack per terrestrial way.

In 1444, the “Republic of Poljica” accepted the suzerainty of Venice at the same time as Omiš, while preserving its interior freedom. After the fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797, Poljica was taken again by Austria. The following year, it incurred the enmity of Napoleon for the assistance which it had brought to the Russians; it was invaded by the French troops which plundered its villages, massacred its inhabitants and finally has deprived it of its independence. After the Napoleonean era, Poljica was absorbed by the Empire Austro-Hungarian.

Poljica passed then to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and, in 1912, the area was reconstituted like only one municipality of Poljica. However, in 1945, the “Republic of Poljica” was divided again between several municipalities, and remains it until our days: its villages are part of the communes of Podbablje and Omiš.

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