Rocky beaches of Croatia – Koromašna, Murter

For most of us locals, rocky beaches are the best.
Flat rocky beaches, that is. Sand is fun for kids but not when you get past your teens. We only look for a nice, flat piece of rock by the sea and that’s it. Luckily, there are numerous great rocky beaches all over the coast. Quite popular ones, in the central part of the coast, are the beaches of Murter: Kosirina and Koromašna.

Koromašna bay

Koromašna bay

Koromašna is located on the western coast of Murter and easily accessed from Jezera village. Just make a first right towards the historic Sv Roko church and continue straight. Some parking place is available but not too much. The entire bay is formed of flat rocks and there are dozens and dozens of great spots!

Beats any sandy beach!

Beats any sandy beach!

The entire bay is quite nice and especially in Spring when there is an abundance of beautiful flowers!

Bušin | White-rock rose (Cistus salvifolius)

Bušin | White-rock rose (Cistus salvifolius)

oštrolist | golden drop (Onosma echioides)

Rumenjača| Golden drop (Onosma echioides)

The name Onosma comes from Greek word for donkey as it’s roots smell like donkey. Croatian name is much more interesting! Rumenjača means something red and the flower is always white. However, the roots of rumenjača were the main source of red pigment used for millennia on the shores of Mediterranean!

Crveni ranjenik | Common kidney-vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria)

Crveni ranjenik | Common kidney-vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria)

Vlasnati zmijak | Villous viper grass (Scorzonera villosa)

Vlasnati zmijak | Villous viper grass (Scorzonera villosa)

Villous viper grass is a fascinating plant! Its name comes from a belief that the roots of this flower are good for extracting snake poison. Its “cousin” from Ural mountain has been used for ages in getting a very high quality rubber.

Bertolonijeva kokica | Bertoloni's bee orchid (Ophyrs bertolonii)

Bertolonijeva kokica | Bertoloni’s bee orchid (Ophyrs bertolonii)

Bertoloni’s bee orchid is Croatia’s best known orchid and we have about 170 different orchids. All of them are protected and endangered so please do not pick them.

Sredozemna sjekirica | goat pea (Securigera securidaca)

Sredozemna sjekirica | Goat pea (Securigera securidaca)

So, exploring the bay, flowers and beaches, one easily gets to very pretty, tiny island of Murtar. The island is connected to main island of Murter by a narrow stretch and everyone can walk across without getting wet feet when the tide is low. There are some great flat rocks all around the island.

Murtar

Murtar

Pure paradise!

Koromašna bay is best visited out of peak season as the place is quite popular and a bit crowded. But again, it is one of those places with perfect rocky beaches for perfect day on the water!

Croatia travel

 

 

Dalmatian pyramid

No, this is not a new discovery in line with “Bosnian pyramids”. This is just a possible explanation of a mysterious pyramid first drawn on a 1570 map that was based on an older map by Šibenik native Martin Kolunic Rota who one of the most significant graphic artists of the second half of the 16th century.

map

I heard about it a while back. About the time when Bosnian pyramids were still making the news back in mid 2000s. A friend of mine – a legendary collector of all sorts of antiques, Ivica Ćurković  - told me that there is an image of a pyramid on an old map. Hmm… I saw it and there was no doubt that it was a real piece of late 1500s cartography. I personally bought a later version as the image was much more clear and all other details were pretty much the same. My map is this later one, by Merian from 1652. Simply a stunning piece!

Martin Rota was born in about 1520 in Šibenik. Little is known of Rota’s early life or where he trained as an engraver, but most of his documented career was spent working in Venice, Rome, and Vienna.
Rota has been described as one of the most significant graphic artists of the second half of the 16th century, though few if any of his prints were original compositions. You can learn more on Rota here.

So, it was puzzling why would anyone draw a pyramid on a map… Legend? Folk stories? Something so ancient that no one remembers any more?
I was thinking about a location near Vrlika, foothill of Dinara. Or something closer to Bosnia?
Recently I was discovering more and more on a very historic area of Nevest and Cera in the very heart of Zagora. The region has gone through dramatic changes through the history and holds some of the most interesting historic sites in the country. What particularly got my attention was the village Ostrogašica that was named after (allegedly) the Ostrogoths that once ruled the area. And then, studying maps, I saw it…

Zvonik hill near Ostrogašica

Zvonik hill near Ostrogašica

A topographic maps shows a very steep hill. It is called Zvonik (Bell Tower) and the only written piece on that was also found on that Neves and Cera web site discussing a medieval fortress on top of the hill. The pieces of the puzzle are now shaping into a story. What else but a field trip!

Zvonik

Zvonik

The hill stands steep but not as steep as I expected. Actually, this is the easiest “looking” side and it looks much steeper from other direction. But, this is not an easy climb! This is a very demanding hill with really steep slopes and lots of thorn trees and rocks. Of course, it is not a pyramid. It is a natural hill that, from the Šibenik side, looks like a pyramid. Still not enough evidence to prove this is the “Pyramid” on the old maps. Some 20 minutes later, we were on the top.

The walls

The walls

There are clear evidences of the structure on top of the hill: nicely carved blocks still showing the size of the structure. Most of them either taken away or simply rolled down after the fortress was destroyed. There is a pit on top of the hill probably dug out as some sort of a cistern for water in case of a siege.

A pit on top of the hill

A pit on top of the hill

Cross on top of the hill

Cross on top of the hill

Someone put up a big cross on top of the hill. Probably after the war as this area was also quite affected by the war in the 90s. What was more interesting to me were the outer walls of the fortress. They are typical medieval walls on an angle. Closing in towards the top. Just like on pyramids.

The walls

The walls

The walls

The walls

A lot of broken roof tiles shows that at least one of the buildings had a roof. Combined together – hill and fortress with a roof – one can get a pretty decent pyramid shaped hill looking from the distance.
And that was the only way to look at the hill back in the late 1500s as the Turks captured the region in 1522… So, I guess the “mystery” is solved.
I was also quite impressed by the steps carved in the rock!

Steps in the stone

Steps in the stone

Steps in stone

Steps in the stone

There is also a door on the image. At the very bottom of that “pyramid”. It can be explained probably by some sort of the gates. I saw a basic stone wall going around the foot of the hill and there was some sort of the entrance to the area. Probably marking the easiest access to the top as it was easy to guard and close. Not visible now and it is quite hard to figure out the easiest path because of all the trees and bushes.
We managed to go down the hill – not easy – to see one small pond.

Pond next to Zvonik hill

Pond next to Zvonik hill

There were some local girls with dogs next to it. The pond is now much bigger than usually as it was quite rainy last month.

Dogs having fun

Dogs having fun

The spring is definitely here!

So, is this the pyramid from the old maps? Maybe. I would leave some space for different interpretations but from all the evidences on actual maps, history, remains of the fortress… I think it is. After hours spent on aerial shots and reading different sources, this makes the most sense.

The pyramid

The pyramid

So, of course it is not a pyramid, but a historic hill with remains of a fortress that, at one point, looked like a “pyramid” from the distance. And a great place to visit any time ;)

Travel in Croatia

 

Winter sunset walk in Modrave

Modrave is one of the last untouched areas of our coastline. Hopefully, it will stay that way as it should be protected from the devastation that destroyed most of our coastline. This beautiful stretch starts after Drage and continues to Prosika just before Pirovac, central Adriatic. Vransko lake is behind it (in the old days it would be “in front” as coastline was very scarcely populated) and Murter archipelago in front. The area is known for thousands of olive trees and it’s dry stone walls. Lately, the bike routes have been established and it makes a great cycling area.

Modrave Sunset

Modrave Sunset with Murter archipelago and Kornati in front

It is also a great area if looking for some nice secluded beaches or coves to anchor. Nowhere near as crowded as popular destinations. But, in the winter time, these bike routes and narrow trails by the sea, make a perfect walking area! We were rewarded with one amazing sunset last month when we decided to explore the Stani bay.

Modrave Sunset

Each family had it’s own pier

Modrave Sunset

Old harbor

Modrave Sunset

By the water

Stani got it’s name from cottages that used to be here. Probably just for olive oil pickers from Murter and Betina that are owners of most of these lands. Several ruins still remain.

Modrave Sunset

Agave

Modrave Sunset

Old cottage and one restored

Just one great spot for walking and enjoying a very quiet shore in the winter.

Last light

Last light

Croatian travel
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