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Omiš

A PLACE WHERE A RIVER, CANYON AND SEA MEET

One of the most beautiful highways in the world from the coast follows one of the most beautiful seas and passes through numerous Croatian towns and cities, from Istria to southern Dalmatia. Enchanted by the beauty of the Adriatic Sea and the rush to get from one destination to another, through some places you just ‘fly’.

Omis may not be one of those places, but visitors who decide to get to know it a little better, are almost always surprised and surprised by its uniqueness. As a tourist guide, I have heard countless times the phrase like “we had no idea that Omis is so interesting”.

What makes Omis special? First of all because of its diversity, in the historical-geographical, and then in the natural and gastronomic sense. All of the above has produced many stories that this city keeps in its streets and who is ready to proudly tell them to anyone who wants to hear them. I highly recommend that you be curious enough to find out about them.

WHERE IS OMIS?

Omis is located in Central Dalmatia, almost halfway between Split and Makarska and overlooking the island of Brac.

I will never forget my first meeting with Omis. Next to the blue sea and the emerald green river, the hills stunned me the most when I first met. With the mountain Mosor in the background, the hills of Omiška Dinara, Komorjak and Babnjača in the immediate vicinity surround this beautiful Dalmatian town. A few hundred meters high cliffs tower over the city, so at their foot, it looks like a tiny anthill. It was only later that I became aware of the beauty and the fact that Omis is located at the mouth of the beautiful karst river into the Adriatic Sea. At this place, the river Cetina broke through the mountain range in who knows how long process and divided it into Omiška Dinara and Poljica mountain.

HOW DID OMIS GET ITS NAME?

During its more than two thousand years old history, Omis bore several names. In the time of the native Illyrians, it was called Onaion, the Greek Oneon, the Romans Oneum, Slavena Holm, which meant the same thing – the hill.

During the Middle Ages, it was called Olmissium, Almivssium, the Venetians called it Almissa, and the French Omiche.

10 INTERESTING THINGS YOU MAY LIKE TO KNOW BEFORE YOU COME TO OMIS

Fortica, PHOTO: TZ Omiš

1. CITY FORTRESSES – PHENOMENAL VIEWS

There are two fortifications in the town with an incredible view of Omiš, the mouth of the river Cetina, the canyon, the historical region of Poljica, the Brac channel, the island of Brac, Hvar and beyond. The nearest and oldest tower is Mirabela, also called Peovica. It is a Romanesque fortress of medieval Omis, probably built at the beginning of the 13th century just above the red roofs of houses. The second fort is called Fortica or the Old Town and is located at the top of the Omiš Dinar and at a height of more than 300 m. The Ferrata has been leading to Fortica for the last few years, so you can climb it with the help of a cable.

The central town beach, PHOTO: TZ Omiš

2. VARIOUS BEACHES IN OMIS

Beach lovers have the opportunity to try different types of beaches in Omis and choose their favourites. River or sea, sand or pabble, public or hidden…. that is the question 🙂 And you will have to find the answer for yourself. It is extremely practical that the main city beach is located in the city centre. Everything is at your fingertips, especially restaurants in case you get hungry. The town beach consists of a little coarser sand, and a series of sandy beaches continues for five kilometres in the direction of the neighbouring town of Dugi Rat. From the Omiš pier, in the direction of Makarska, everyone who does not like sand can choose one of the pebble beaches. You can find out more about Omis beaches in my second post here.

3. CETINA RIVER, ITS CANYON AND RADMAN’S MILLS

The source and mouth of the river Cetina are located in Central Dalmatia. Its spring is placed seven kilometres from Vrlika, at the foot of the Dinara, and flows into the sea in Omis, breaking through the mountain range located along the Adriatic Sea. It is approximately 105 km long and belongs to the Adriatic basin. Cetina actually has several springs, and the largest and the most beautiful is Glavas Lake, 130 m deep. Near the town of Trilj, Cetina leaves Sinjsko polje and enters the canyon, which is a significant landscape from the dam Prančevići to almost the mouth of the river. Towards the end of its course, six kilometres from Omis, there is a traditional picnic area of Omis – Radman’s mill. In the nineteenth century, the site of today’s restaurant, playground and green areas housed water mills, a park with ancient and medieval stone fragments and a summer house of the Radman family.

4. FOOD, WINE AND CRAFT BEER

The gastronomy of the Omis area is diverse because it is associated with sea, river and continental dishes. As an almost vegetarian, I am not inclined to experiment too much with meat dishes, especially not with seafood and others, sorry to write that, slime 🙂. But being in Omis, and not to be tempted to try at least a part of that gastronomic exotic is not only a sin but also nonsense. Some dishes, like black risotto made from cuttlefish, I tried just out of curiosity. And it was yummy! Some dishes, like frog legs, I tried because I was brought before the finished act. When a famous Croatian food blogger, in my case it was Ribafish, put a piece of cleaned frog leg meat under your nose, there is nothing to do but to open your mouth 🙂 Yes, I also tried squid, but only the part without legs. I’m not really into shellfish, but I’m into fish. My favourites are fried sardines, sea bass and grilled mole.

Omis has its own vineyards and it would be okay to start tasting local wine during your visit and then with other wines from Dalmatia and the rest of Croatia. You may not have known that the California Zinfandel and the Italian Primitivo have roots in Central Dalmatia. This variety has several names such as Crljenak, Tribidrag, or Pribidrag as it is called in Omis.

The brewery from nearby Dugi Rat brews homemade beer with the names of Omis legends: Malduk and Mila and Apache-based on a series of western films about Winnetou from the 1960s, for which some scenes were filmed in the canyon of the Cetina River.

Tombstone of the Kacic Duke from the 13th century. PHOTO: Malduk Vlahović

5. PIRATE’S PAST

Thanks to the piracy that the people of Omis were engaged in in the 12th and 13th centuries, Omis has a rather exciting and slightly different history from other towns on the coast. Piracy sounds interesting and exciting to some and repulsive to others as something no one shouldn’t really brag about. Their home was stone, they lived off the sea and the meagre arable karst soil, trade and also piracy, which was normal at the time. They claimed the right to their town, its inland and the sea as a common good, protecting it and defending it for two whole centuries. They controlled passages and roads, especially at sea, so for unhindered navigation through their territory, the people of Omiš demanded the payment of a certain amount (as we pay tolls today, for example). The time and circumstances of life in the Middle Ages should not be viewed from today’s aspect with a difference of almost a thousand years. The legend of Robin Hood is also located at that time. Omis, like the famous Vikings, were excellent sailors, shipbuilders, warriors, merchants and also pirates. They were the most successful during the reign of Kačić Dukes, Nikola, Malduk, Pribislav, Osor… they were part of the alliance of the Nobility of the twelve tribes of the Kingdom of Croatia. They had boats with special characteristics of a significant name, Omiš arrows. Unlike other cities, in Omis, the boats were not kept in the port but in the canyon of the river Cetina. At its mouth is still, though barely visible, Mostina – an underwater wall with a passage as wide as the boats of Omis. For everyone else, it was an obstacle. Centuries after their rule, the Mirabel Fortress and the tombstone of Prince Miroslav Kačić, which is kept in the Omiš City Museum, testify to the exciting past of Omiš.

Crkva sv. Duha i sv. Roka i gradski sat

6. SACRAL HERITAGE AND SIGHTS OF THE CITY

The oldest church in Omis, St. Peter, is located on Priko. It is an early Christian church, first mentioned in the 11th century, but is believed to be even older. In the old part of town, there are two churches from the 16th century, St. Of the Holy Spirit and St. Roka. Parish Church of St. Mihovil, as well as the church of St. Luke and St. Marija in the old Omis cemetery, are from the 17th century. Unexpectedly, there are six sarcophagi in the old Omis cemetery. Along the highway, on the way to Brzet where are the remains of the church of St. Euphemia from the 5th century, the Franciscan monastery and the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Skalice from the 18th century are located.

The old Omis cemetery PHOTO: Malduk Vlahović

The bell tower of the parish church PHOTO: Malduk Vlahović

7. ACTIVE TOURISM

In terms of tourism, Omis is today best known for its offer of active tourism excursions. The combination of river, canyon, hill and sea provides an unlimited choice of various activities. So, hiking, canyoning, zip-line, diving, kayaking, rafting, various surfing, cycling…

8. TRADITIONAL DALMATIAN SINGING AND UNESCO

Traditional singing in Dalmatia is called klapa singing. The most important klapa singing festival, the DALMATIAN KLAPA FESTIVAL, has traditionally been held in Omis for more than 50 years. The first official festival was held in 1967, while UNESCO included klapa singing on the list of intangible cultural heritage in 2012. You can find out more about the festival in Omis at the Exhibition with the permanent exhibition of the Festival of Dalmatian Klapas.

9. INLAND OMIŠ AND RIVIERA

If you take the road on the right side of the river Cetina uphill, you will embark on a real cultural adventure, getting to know the geographical and historical area – POLJICA. In relation to the Mosor mountain, which is located in the centre of this region, Poljica is divided into Gornja, Srednja and Donja Poljica. The area of the town of Omis covers the territory of Srednje Poljica. You can find out more about this incredibly interesting ending in this post.

On the left side of the river Cetina, between the canyon and the northern side of the hill Omiška Dinara, there are villages, such as Podašpilje, Svinišće, Kučići, whose locations will delight you.

From Omis to Makarska in a narrow coastal area, right by the sea stretches 20 km long Omis Riviera. It consists of places where fishing used to be predominant, while today, of course, tourism predominates. The Omis Riviera consists of the following places: Nemira, Stanići, Čelina, Lokva Rogoznica, Mimice, Marušići and Pisak.

10. THINGS TO DO IN OMIŠ

  • Omiš sightseeing with a tourist guide, like me for example 🙂
  • river cruise
  • the active type of excursions like canyoning, hiking, rafting etc.
  • swimming in the sea or river
  • cultural and artistic events, eg “Festival of Dalmatian klapa singing” or “Omis guitar fest” or sports “Dalmatia Ultra Trail”

GREETINGS FROM OMIŠ

Photo is emotion captured in time. See and feel the world you look at.

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