The Republic of Poljica

In the heart of Dalmatia that you have chosen for your STAYcation in Croatia, not far from the well-known Split, there is the small town of Omiš.

The confluence of the river Cetina into the Adriatic., Omiš, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš
The confluence of the river Cetina into the Adriatic., Omiš, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš

Omiš, although a small town in its size, is famous for many things; its picturesque streets, sharp rocks above it, the klapa music festival, one of the most beautiful sandy beaches, and the confluence of the river Cetina into the Adriatic.

Sandy beaches in Omoš, Croatia, photo credit by Omiš TB
Sandy beaches in Omoš, Croatia, photo credit by Omiš TB

The canal of the river Cetina itself is noteworthy for its unusual beauty, but our story is equally interesting; there is Poljica; groups of villages of extremely rich history located on the slopes of Mount Mosor.

At first glance, it seems like a place filled with peace and far from everything currently happening in the world; however, the history of this place is quite different.

photo credit by TB of Omiš
photo credit by TB of Omiš

The blast into the Past

In the area of ​​today’s Poljica, there was a real republic, starting from the 13th century, the so-called Poljica Republic.

What makes it extremely important for this area’s history is that it had a very advanced social and administrative arrangement for that time!

The republic did not have a ruler in one person. Still, the ruler was a people who once a year elected their representative, the Grand Duke.

 Real democracy, isn’t it?

photo credit by Tb of Omiš
photo credit by Tb of Omiš

Democracy can inspire 

As proof of the organization of the Republic of Poljica, we have the Poljica Statute, which shows in detail how life was organized in the 14th century, and the statute also exists today as an example of advanced legislation for that time.

The fact that Thomas Moore’s visit allegedly inspired him to write his famous work, Utopia, speaks volumes about the quality of life in this small republic.

 With the arrival of Napoleon’s army in the area, the Republic of Poljica ceased to exist at the very beginning of the 19th century, but we still have its legacy.

photo credit by Tb of Omiš
photo credit by Tb of Omiš

The (un)sung heroine of Poljica Republic

If you find yourself hiking through Mosor mountain, you might spot an unusual object on one of its lookouts. A statue of a young woman is the witness of a folk tale that goes as far as the mid 16th century when the Ottoman Empire was expanding and subduing everyone and everything they came across.

Cetina river canyon, Croatia, photo credit by Omiš TB
Cetina river canyon, Croatia, photo credit by Omiš TB

 Naturally, Poljica Republic was on their way too, which meant only one thing- under their military leader Ahmed Pasha, the Ottomans were about to destroy Poljica and all its legacy!

Among its citizens, the bravest showed up to be a young local woman, Mila Gojsalić, who decided to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her homeland.

A pirats battle, Omiš, Croatia, photo by Omiš Tb
A pirats battle, Omiš, Croatia, photo by Omiš Tb

One night, when she was taken to Ahmed Pasha’s tent, not far away from Poljice, Mila did the unspeakable!

 Not only did she lose her chastity, but she also waited until Ahmed Pasha and his army went to sleep and took a flaming torch to ignite the whole camp. Her plan was executed in one night, most of the soldiers died, as well as Ahmed Pasha. The rest ran away in fear for their life.

The confluence of the river Cetina into the Adriatic., Omiš, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš
The confluence of the river Cetina into the Adriatic., Omiš, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš

 Mila lost her own life in the arson. Still, she gained a legendary status known to this day as the unofficial patron of Poljice.

The statue on Mosor mountain was sculpted by Ivan Meštrović, Croatia’s most famous sculptor of all time, overlooking her home and her people, and her story will also be known to further generations through the work of August Šenoa, one of Croatia’s most notable authors ever.

photo credit by Tb of Omiš
photo credit by Tb of Omiš

The most famous local dish

In addition to several churches and cemeteries, in Poljica, there are the remains of the Roman Villa Rustica from the 5th century, the Poljica Statute, and a gastronomic specialty, the so-called Poljica soparnik, a simple bread-like dish that is even included in Croatian intangible heritage. 

Soparnik, Croatia, photo credit Marijan Malenica

A Folk costumes from Omis, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš
A Folk costumes from Omis, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš

We find Poljica’s story unique and have a fantastic excursion of Poljica Republic for you! 

Our partner Croatian Attractions will make it memorable. 

Mosor, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš
Mosor, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Omiš

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