Pyramid of Dalmatia – the mystery continues?

13081647334_7fa1cd8a2e

It has been a while since I last reported on the pyramid “mystery”: https://secretdalmatia.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/dalmatian-pyramid/ in the meantime, I was contacted by several very interesting people who were trying to locate it and challenge the location I established.
One of them  – Mr. Galic from Mostar – had a very interesting story and most likely the right location of the “pyramid” from the old map.

13081647334_7fa1cd8a2e

Basically, he did a proper research on the toponyms mentioned on the old map and concluded that the “pyramid” cannot be where I put it (the hill of Zvonik) and is further south. He made correct assumptions and found a place that actually has a hilltop ruin named kulina. Yes, that is very close to Colina mentioned on the map! The place is located in Nisko, a tiny hamlet on the southern slope of Moseć mountain. The area suffered greatly during the Turkish wars and occupation and was brought back to life when the Franciscan monks brought new inhabitants from Bosnia back in 1720. so it is likely that those inhabitants had no clue of the region they were brought into and that the fortress was already a ruin.

Today, Nisko is nothing more than a sleepy hamlet…

nisko007

Nisko village and Kulina hill above it.

nisko006

Very few people live in Nisko…

One winter day, when vegetation wass low and one could actually see most of the structures, I drove to Nisko. The access to the hill is easy but there is not much to see. The hill is full of stone dry walls that don’t make much sense. And, it seems, someone from the village still plants some vegetables (potatoes?) in the only part of the hill that looks fertile.

It is very hard to make any educated guesses so I just took a lot of photos of structures and also studied a lot the aerial photos.

niskoo

The structure does not say much nor it indicates that it could be of a pyramidal shape. Mate Matas – one of the explorers of the gradina hilltop fortresses in this area – wrote that this could even be a possible seat of old-Croatian county Zmina. Here is the full text (in Croatian):

Oko 1 km južnije od spomenute Gradine odnosno oko 500 m sjevernije od zaseoka Galići nalazi se Kulina koju prema položaju i nekim drugim obilježjima treba ubrojiti u ilirska gradinska naselju. Naziv Kulina (stara ruševna kula), specifični ostatci (temelji građeni s vezivom) i predaje (u njih treba ubrojiti i usmene izjave stručnjaka arheologa i povjesničara), upućuju na zaključak kako se navedeno gradinsko naselje najduže koristilo. Dužina između temelja bedema Kuline u smjeru I-Z iznosi oko 70 m, a u smjeru sjever jug približno 50 m, što znači da se ona ističe primjernom površinom.
Kulina se ističe i impozantnim širinama i visinom nekadašnjeg bedema. Prema zapadu i sjeverozapadu odakle je i najbolji pristup prema utvrdi širina bedema iznosi oko 12 m, a njihova visine oko 4 m. Prema jugu i strmijem prostoru širina i visina bedema se postupno smanjivala. Prema količini materijala moglo bi se zaključiti da se bedemi prema jugu te istoku i sjeveru bili najniži i najtanji, što se donekle može objašnjavati i strmijim padinama odnosno lakšoj obrani utvrde s tih strana. Međutim, na južnoj i istočnoj strani naziru se tragovi temelja građenih s vezivom. Jesu li u pitanju temelji utvrde ili posebnih stambenih objekata građenih u novijem razdoblju teško je odgovoriti bez detaljnih arheoloških istraživanja lokaliteta.
Takvim bi se istraživanjima pronašao i odgovor na 
pitanje što predstavljaju pravilni kvadratični temelji također građeni s vezivom, a koji se nalaze uz zapadnu stranu već spomenutih dužih temelja građenih s vezivom (možda su u pitanju ostaci spremnika za vodu, zemunica, stambenih prostora i sl.). U zanimljivosti ili posebnosti Kuline treba ubrojiti i jasno izražen unutarnji prostor s naglašeno ravnom podlogom, ograđen suhozidinama. Dužina tog prostora u smjeru I-Z je 12 m, a u smjeru S-J iznosi 10 m. Na tom unutrašnjem prostoru još su vidljivi i veliki kameni blokovi koji su očiti predstavljali okvir vrata okrenutih prema jugu gradine. Postoje i pretpostavke kako je spomenuta gradina mogla biti i sjedište starohrvatske župe Zmina. Tome idu u prilog i pronađeni ostaci starohrvatske bazilike u polju ispod Kuline u blizini crkve sv. Ivana. Dio pronađenih ostataka pohranjen u samostanskoj zbirci u Sinju. Ispred sadašnje crkve sv. Ivana je stećak s ukrasom koji je nekada služio i kao oltar…

Today, nothing more of some indications of walls can be seen.

nisko005

Parts of the structure that can be followed in a in a semi-circular shape around the hill

nisko004

The fertile field of Nisko

Basically, the mystery stays. No one can prove that this was truly a pyramid but the theory that this was an important stronghold is based on facts.

There was another interesting discovery by Mr. Galic – he connected the Nisko “pyramid” to the ruins of Asseria and Varvaria… Those two important archaeology sites were connected by “lay lines” in another blog post I wrote 3 years ago: https://secretdalmatia.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/ley-lines-in-croatia-secret-dalmatia/

lay001

From Nisko to Nin

The blog is just the discussion on whether all these important “temples” (structures) were found on a single line just by coincidence or it was done on purpose. I still believe it is pure coincidence but…

So, here are the exact locations of the line going through previously established locations of Visovac, Bribirska Glavica, Asseria and Nin (Temple of Jupiter – the largest Roman Temple on the Adriatic coast we know of)

 

The line continues north to Brijuni as described in that blog on the Lay line.

Now, calling it a Lay line may be completely wrong as this may be something very different. It is also VERY strange that all these important historic places are on the same line but let’s still say it is a pure coincidence due to the orientation of our coastline.

There is another curiosity connected to this “pyramid of Nisko”: Nisko – in Croatian – means “low”. The alleged “Bosnian pyramid” is in Visoko. Which translates “high”…

Another interesting coincidence! Or not?

 

Dining in Split

File 06-08-16 09 40 50

The number of quality restaurants and various eating options has recently exploded in Split. Not all places are worth eating at, of course. Since we always send restaurant recommendations to our clients, here is just a brief overview of some of the best places we recommend.

DVOR
Long time our favorite is still a popular place in town for great settings and seafront seating. The views and atmosphere are simply great and very relaxing no matter if you are looking for an easy family lunch or a romantic dinner for two.

File 06-08-16 09 45 42

The menu got some needed additions and refreshments although the basic idea is still the same.

 

Overall, Dvor is still a good place to eat at but it got somewhat more expensive than last years. In Dvor, I always had issues with waiters who were never professional as in some other places and were trying to be friendly more than they should be. Also, this time the three of them were quite loud and we could not even talk normally at the table located near the entrance to the kitchen. Will look for a table further away next time.

PERIVOJ
Operated by the same folks who own Dvor, I did expect a bit better food and a bit better service as this was a major investment and it is one of the nicest places in Split.

File 06-08-16 09 48 47

The ambiance is absolutely superb despite being surrounded by socialist buildings. It is a proper oasis close to the very heart of the city.

I must say that the food was better than expected. The tastes were there, structure and design were flawless. My lamb shank in pea sauce was absolutely great! Also, desserts are superb in every way so definitely leave some room for them after the meal!  This is a place I can easily recommend everyone for food and settings although staff again is the weakest link. They don’t seem to realize that their working hours are to be dedicated to the guests. No serious issues but just an overall feeling that the service level has room for improvement.

O’ZLATA
Long awaited addition to restaurant scene in Split opened this very spring and is already getting praises for food and ambiance. We had lunch there maybe a week or so after it opened and did not have high expectations as, usually, restaurants need some time to get started and everything starts rolling.

I must say that everything was simply great and I love the fact that they have a great selection of appetizers. We had all of them🙂 and not one was mediocre!
Followed by the main course and fabulous dessert selection, O’Zlata got very high rating from us right at the first visit! My only negative would be actual number of meals as it seems that in one or two visits, one can taste everything.

PARADIGMA
Still undisputed in Split and most of the Adriatic coastline. The level of service, menu, wine list and (new) offer of select gins, make Paradigma number one place for great and proper fine dining in Split.

Where to start? Menu last year was great but this year chef Ante made huge progress in focusing even more on tastes and design of each meal. Of course, like in any restaurant of this sort, tasting menu is the way to go. Don’t expect to capture the “philosophy” of Paradigma just by sampling one or two dishes. We opted for full 9 course tasting menu but we had only few glasses of wine with it as it was a bit too late for me to drink.

Every single dish that was brought to us was a piece of art and the tastes were simply superb. My only “complaint” was that I needed something more refreshing for dessert so I ordered  a fabulous panacota to sweeten everything. Also, the service – still unparalleled anywhere in Split. By light years. All the staff from other restaurants should at least have one meal in Paradigma just to see how it is done.
Gin Tonic -and then there is my perfect summer drink done the perfect way. The selection of 29 world’s best gins make this place even better!

In any case, this is just a small overview of over 280 places to eat at in Split. Just a selection of some of the best that we eat at regularily over the season. We do not recommend many others to our clients but we are always happy, for those into more casual eating, to recommend Brasserie on 7, Mazgoon and newly opened Torito as great alternatives.

Split has come a long way and became a great place to eat out with numerous options!

Benkovac Wine Tasting

Benkovac-Tasting-001

Earlier this spring we had a pleasure to show our hospitality to several quite interesting guests from USA. Mr. Frank Dietrich of Blue Danube Wines, joined by his staff, wine writer Marcy Gordon and Zdravko and Marion Podolski of GoHvar blog all joined us at a very special little tasting in Benkovac.

Benkovac-Tasting-017

The tasting was held at a 15th century Benkovac castle – an impressive historic monument that was nicely restored and now houses a local museum. It is often used as a great presentation venue for various events.

Benkovac-Tasting-006

When the guests arrived, the food was also served. Just small bites but very tasty and quite authentic: escargot done the traditional way for the region…

Benkovac-Tasting-009

and prisnac.

Benkovac-Tasting-013

Benkovac-Tasting-010

Lady in typical Bukovica outfit.

But the stars of the day were, of course, local wines! All the major wine makers showed up: Škaulj, Figurica, Masvin…

Benkovac-Tasting-008

Mr. Šime Škaulj from Nadin at his stand

Benkovac-Tasting-004

Benkovac-Tasting-012

Figurica from Smilčić

Benkovac-Tasting-016

Almost all wines were organic and had the eco label which was a bit surprising but I am glad that the wine makers of the region are taking the right path after the war and neglected vineyards. Most of the wines were local maraština (white), merlot, plavac but also Masvin served their own Crljenak which was surprisingly good.

Benkovac-Tasting-007

One of more interesting wines was Asseria by small Bačić winery as it was a blend of several wines and also local maraska cherry brandy.

Benkovac-Tasting-003

Benkovac-Tasting-006

Benkovac-Tasting-005

The event was a great success and the best proof how a very unique settings can serve as a fabulous place for small and intimate events. The organisation was at a high level and all wines served proved that the quality is (finally) coming back to the region of Ravni Kotari. The region was once a major exporter of wines but, in the past 60-70 years has lost all the quality in favor of mass production… Badel, a major Croatian company for wine and liquor, made the tide turn with their Korlat vineyards and now is being followed by small local winemakers all over the region.

Benkovac-Tasting-011

The Bankovac tourist board with Bankovac Museum did a wonderful job in organizing everything!

So, what to say but “Živjeli!”

Explore more of Croatian food and wine with our Culinary Croatia.