The peninsula of Marjan (Poluotok Marjan) is located west of the town of Split in Croatia. The point of the peninsula is covered by a forest park of 340 hectares out of 3.5 km of length and 1.5 km of maximum width; its summit, the hill of Marjan (Brdo Marjan), reached 178 m height at the top of Telegrin.
Because of its rocky nature, the urban development saved the peninsula which is from time immemorial remained the green lung of Split at a few minutes on foot of the downtown area. The peninsula was retimbered between 1852 and the years 1920 - primarily in pines of Alep, but also in holm oaks and cypress; Marjan is since 1964 a forest park protected with 400 species from protected plants.
The peninsula of Marjan became the recreation center of the city with walks, from the point of view, ways of discovered nature, sites of climbing and adventure playgrounds. The peninsula has also some beaches, most known being that of Bucket.
The name of Marjan (which decides “mariane”) is a name of Roman origin which would derive from “Fundus Marianum” (the Farm of Marianus). During centuries the name of the hill knew many variations around this root of origin.
Marjan was also called “Mons Kyrieleison” because of the many small churches dispersed on the peninsula, which caused processions and to prayers, Kyrie eléison (Lord, take pity).
Between the two coastal roads, the interior of the peninsula is traversed many pedestrian paths; the way of peak makes it possible to reach the top of Telegrin, to 175 m, and, while continuing towards the west, some vaults isolated. The starting point of the paths of the interior is the View-point, which one reaches since the downtown area by borrowing the Street Šperun, which begins close to the church Saint Francis, at the western end of Riva; to then take the Street Senjska which leads - straight through the district of Veli Varoš - to the staircases which go up, in 15 minutes, to the View-point.
The path which leaves on the left the View-point is less difficult but very exposed with the sun: this pleasant path (Marangunićevo šetalište) carries out towards the point of the peninsula. It overhangs the sea between the cypresses, the pines, the rose laurels and the brooms. On the left, downwards, one sees the sea and the coastal road of the south where the museums are. The path itself is punctuated small vaults built by hermits who sought calms it to meditate and request: the Saint Nicholas vault, the Our-Lady-of-Bethlehem vault, the chapel Our-Lady-of-Seven-Pains, the chapel Saint Jerome and, above, the hermitage. The peninsula of Marjan does not count less than twelve vaults. After the hermitage one can continue on an asphalt road to the point of the island, the course Marjan. It is necessary to envisage three hours on foot to take this walk since the downtown area. On the level of the Saint Nicholas vault, it is possible to take on the right and to join the first way which goes up towards the top.
The funds of the museum understands mainly various jewels, weapons and daily objects of use, as a large number of stone monuments which were part of the interior of the primitive Croatian churches: fragmentary rebuildings of chancels of chorus and ciboria (the hoods builds on the principal furnace bridge of a church) of the Croatian churches of 9th and Xe century. Its collection of medieval sculptures to interlacing (9th-11th centuries) - appearing of braidings of wicker which point out the typical geometrical reasons for Celtic art - is one of most important of Europe. The museum presents also a large number of primitive Croatian monuments epigraphic.
In the garden draw up several stećci, of the medieval sarcophagi with their lid with pinion going back to the worship of Bogomiles, a sect opposed to the Byzantine Empire which developed in Balkans during Xe century.
Addresses: Stjepana Gunjace bb, HR-21000 Split
In the bus, to take the line number 12 at the beginning of the Place of the Republic, west of Riva (20 minutes way).
A few hundred meters towards the west after the Museum of the Croatian Archaeological Monuments, on the Walk Jean Mestrovic (Šetalište lvana Meštrovića) one meets the Gallery Mestrovic (Galerija Meštrovića). The Gallery Ivan Meštrović is a museum of art dedicated to the work of this sculptor of the 20th century; it is lodged in a building designed by itself.
Ivan Meštrović designed this neo-classic villa with ionic colonnade - almost a monumental and a little ostentatious palace - and started to make it build in 1931. The building was designed like a curious mixture between workshops of work for the stone, wood and clay, showrooms and dwelling house for Meštrović and its family. Meštrović moved in this residence of summer in 1939, but him and its family lived there only during two years, before taking refuge in Zagreb to escape the Italian occupation in 1941.
The Meštrović gallery opened in 1952 in the villa whose sculptor had donated as well as many works; Meštrović was in the United States, refusing to return in its fatherland then under communist tyranny. The gallery has the largest collection of works of Meštrović, representative of all the periods of the artist, of which some of most important: nearly 200 sculptures and low-reliefs, out of wood, marble, stone and bronze created between the beginning of the 20th century and 1946, but also of the oil-base paints and the drafts which show the evolution of the artist, and even of furniture. To these permanent exposures road shows coming from Croatia or other countries are added periodically.
Meštrović acquired its reputation by monumental works with ideological and historical topics, but one discovers a work plus intimist here. At the ground floor, on the right, and in the staircase, are gathered different piétas, as well as expressive “After the childbirth”; in the old dining room, on the left, are very spontaneous portraits of the members of its immediate family, in particular the honest one and sensitive bronze “My Mother” of 1908. On the first floor, the “Woman should not be missed suffering” from 1928 and especially a “Job” out of bronze from 1946 with the tortured face expressing the pain from this time which had seen its divided fatherland; one sees there also the giant statues out of wooden of drowning “Adam” and “Eve” of 1941, and a “Merry Youth” a little insipid. The gardens are strewn with bronze sculptures, of which powerful “the Cyclops” of 1933.
Some 300 meters - 5 minutes on foot - after the Meštrović Gallery on Šetalište lvana Meštrovića, is the châtelet Crikvine, which one names also Pavillon Meštrović because the sculptor Ivan Meštrović bought of it to shelter one of his major works.
The châtelet Crikvine was in the beginning a beautiful residence of summer strengthened, built at the beginning of the 16th century for a rich noble family of Split, Capogrosso-Cavagnini (Kavanjin), for if required taking refuge there in the event of Turkish threat. The châtelet knew, with the wire of the centuries, various uses of which that of lazaret for the victims of the plague, or of hotel after the First World War.
Crikvine Kaštelet was in state of decay when Ivan Meštrović bought it in 1932. From 1937 to 1939, with the architect Harold Bilinić, it made restore, transform and increase the manor; it made rebuild the western part of the court in the shape of a peristyle of columns of doric style. Meštrović made add a vault, the chapel Holy-Cross, by integrating it in the existing structure, with the project to install there its cycle of low-reliefs out of wooden on the topic of the “Life of Christ”.
Ivan Meštrović, a deeply religious sculptor, had begun this cycle of low-reliefs by 1917, during the First World War: it is said that the sculptor began this work in answer to the horrors of this war. It is about a succession of 28 large low-reliefs carved in wood and appearing the life of Christ. The panels are hung on the walls of the chapel and lead the glance towards one seizing emaciated crucifix. Meštrović will complete its cycle of the “Life of Christ” only in 1950, after more than thirty years of intermittent work; work was presented to the public for the first time in 1950 at the University of Syracuse in the United States - except for low-reliefs which were preserved at Split. Even if its style and its artistic quality are not uniform, the cycle is regarded by much as the most beautiful work of Meštrović.
At the end of 1953 Meštrović donated these low-reliefs to its native land; the cycle of the “Life of Christ” was installed the following year in the chapel Holy-Cross. The chapel Holy-Cross is dedicated to masses in language Slavic old man (dimanches and festivals, at 9:00), according to the wish of Meštrović itself.
Most recent of the institutions installed on the peninsula of Marjan is the Mediterranean Institute of the Life sciences (MedILS); it is built on the field of the splendid villa, “Dalmatia Villa”, that the socialist dictator Yugoslav Josip Broz, said Tito, had been made build on the southern part of the peninsula.
The chapel Saint George is located all beside the Oceanographical Institute; the chapel was built with the site of an ancient temple of Diane, goddess of hunting. This temple is mentioned with the western point of the peninsula of Marjan, like “AD Dianam”, on the famous geographical map of the Roman world, said Table of Peutinger, copy preserved at the 12th-13th century of a Roman chart much older of the 4th-5th century after J. - C. The vestiges of the temple were used as foundation with the chapel Saint George at the 9th century.
The course Marjan is commonly named the point Georges (Punta Jurana) because of the presence of the chapel Saint George.
While following the coastal road of north, one passes in front of some beaches, like Kašuni or Obojena svjetlost, then one arrives at most known of the beaches of Marjan, the beach of Bucket located on bay of Bucket (Uvala Bene) at the North-West of the peninsula. The bay and the beach draw their name from the old Croatian church Saint-Benoît whose ruins are at this place of the coast; it was a chapel préromane 9th-11th century.
Bucket is a family recreation center with some beaches concreted and some rock splits on bottom of pine forest, with many equipment: playing fields for children, courts of tennis, grounds of ball to the foot, game of bowls, cabins of preparing, showers etc; there are also a bar and a restaurant opposite the beach.
One can go to Bene on foot or while travelling by the bus n° 12 to the bus station or Place of the Republic (departures all 30 min), but not in car.
In the south-western part of the peninsula of Marjan, the almost vertical cliff east coast very steep (relief of flysch); in the caves formed in these cliffs of the hermits established their cell of monk to the Middle Ages. Thus, holy Jerome (sveti Jere) would have fled the city and would be to withdraw in one of these caves. The hermitage Saint Jerome is now a cave-dwelling vault; it was refitted at the 16th century. In the hermitage one can see an inscription which would be of saint Jerome:
“MIHI OPIDUM CARCER SOLITUDO PARADISUS EAST” (For me, the city is a prison, loneliness the paradise).
The small chapel Saint Jerome, of second half of the 15th century, is under the hermitage, plated against the wall, between the cypresses and the fatty plants; it shelters a furnace bridge of the sculptor Andrija Aleši and a low-relief representing holy Jerome (1480).
Still more east of the chapel Saint Jerome, on the driving way at the top of Telegrin, is the Our-Lady-of-Bethlehem Vault; one reaches it by a staircase which goes up on the side of the way towards cliff against which the chapel snuggles.
The chapel of Bethlehem (Gospe od Betlehema) dates from the 14th century, but was recently restored; its interior conceals a beautiful low-relief of the Nativity.
The hill of Marjan culminates at the top of the Telegraph (Telegrin) to 175 m of altitude; from Split one goes up there by a very long staircase. The top draws its name from the optical station of telegraph - a semaphore of Cap - that the Napoleonean troops had installed there at the beginning of the 19th century. An immense Croatian flag floats there.
Before the French, the top was occupied 150 years earlier by the Othoman Turks: in 1657, in spite of his dominant situation above Spalato, the Venetian vice-chancellor of the city, had left the top without defense, which made it possible to the Turks to seize and threaten of it the city itself; however impromptu reinforcements coming from the close islands saved Split.
The view-point of Telegrin offers a splendid panoramic sight:
in north, on Plaster filling (Salona), the mountainous solid mass of Kozjak, and to the rocky outcrop of the citadel of Klis;
A Museum of Natural history was created on the hill of Marjan, on a top located a little east of top of Telegrin, in an old house. A zoo - one of smallest of the world with 0.65 hectare of surface - was annexed to him; this zoo fell in disuse in consequence of protests from defense groups from the animals: the exotic animals were transferred elsewhere and the zoo does not accept any more new animals.
The Saint Nicholas chapel is at the beginning of the Walk Marangunić (Marangunićevo šetalište), shortly after the View-point on the south-eastern slope of Marjan. It is named sometimes chapel Saint-Nicolas-of-Mount to distinguish it from the Saint Nicholas church which is in the district of the fishermen downtown. It owes its name with the fact that the sailors of the navy with veil greeted it with their passage in front of the peninsula - saint Nicolas being the patron saint of the sailors and the travellers.
The Saint Nicholas chapel is a small Romance chapel of the beginning of the 13th century, characterized by a small side pinnacle. It has side of a monastery Benedictine demolished at the beginning of the 20th century.
Most Jews taken refuge with Spalato, after Reconquista Christian woman of Spain and Portugal, elected residence in the old city, inside the Palace of Diocletian; they established the synagog right north of the Iron Gate; one called this district the ghetto where they were confined. Richest - nouveau riches in the trade taken the tax off between Balkans and Venice - were installed on the hill of Marjan; in 1573, they accepted the authorization to create a cemetery there. This cemetery contains approximately 700 tomb stones, of 16th at the 18th century.
The first of the two view-points (vidilice) which one meets, while going up to the hill of Marjan from the old city, is the view-point located beside the terrace of the Vidilica Coffee. It is on the Eastern slope of the hill and makes it possible to admire the port, Rivetted it, the Palace of Diocletian and the bell-tower of the cathedral, with in background the modern city and its hideous suburbs. Beyond, draw up the solid mass of Kozjak, with north, and the solid mass of Mosor, in the east. With broad one sees the silhouettes of the islands of Brač, Hvar and Šolta.
One reaches it from the old city by borrowing the street Senjska, and, after having crossed the street Nazor (Nazorova Ulica), while climbing on the left which ends close to the Vidilica coffee. This coffee is a welcome halt - as well with the outward journey as with the return - with a large shaded terrace and a splendid sight on the city.
On its south-eastern side, the peninsula of Marjan presents a small peninsula which plays the part of natural dam for the wearing of Split: peninsula of Sustipan. This peninsula draws its name from a monastery Benedictine of the 11th century and its church Saint Stephen (Crkva Svetog Stipe) which one can see the foundations. The monastery was abandoned at the 14th century. The current Saint Stephen church was built in 1814; it contains a polyptyque Gothic of the 15th century.
The gardens of Sustipan, planted cypresses elegant and strewn with benches, offer unforgettable sights on the sea and marina. The showpiece of the garden is a curious neo-classic house, set up by the French at the 19th century when Split was part of the Illyrian Provinces of the First French Empire.
In old times, the Diocletian ex-emperor built his palace at a few minutes with foot of Marjan. This opulent city-palace was inhabited by 8,000 to 10,000 people who needed parks and spaces of leisures; Diocletian arranged some of the parts of Marjan closest to the palace as a park where itself liked to drive out.
A Dalmatian folksong, “Marjane, Marjane”, recorded by the poet Ivo Tijardović, was sung in the town of Split in the years 1930.
During the Second world war, this song was diffused by the official radio of the State Indépendant of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska) of the oustachis (“rebellious”), but became also very popular among the partisans of the marshal Tito, with modified words.
The song - with its original words - is the official song of the festival of the town of Split.