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02. 02. 2016 @ Antonija Eremut

Field of Imotski

Category: cultural heritage GPS: LAT: 43.391267024 / LONG 17.2391640209

Throughout the history the major part of the field of Imotski was not inhabited. Even in the prehistory, during the period of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, the communities of the Illyrians, among whom the most notable were the Delmatae, used to live on the fortifications around the field. In that period, but even through the later centuries, temporarily or permanently were inhabited only the areas of the field that were on a greater height, such as, for example, Otok between Vinjani and Runovići or Lug in Proložac, where the remains from different periods can be found. Roman settlements and villas developed on the hillsides around the fields or on their borders, and the road from Salona to Naronia used to have access to the field from the south-western side and it used to go down towards Runovići across the village Drum. "Drum" is a Turkish name for the road, which derives from a Greek word - dromos. Among the archaeological sites on the field, the one that is of a great relevance is in Opačac, which is one of the sources of the river Vrljika that flows through the field. There are preserved remains of a fortress from the period of the Late Antiquity and the medieval church (or a monastery?) with the cemetery from the 17th century, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. Through the greatest part of its history the field was flooded, since the abyss Šajinovac, where the river Vrljika plunges into the ground, couldn't pass the entire amount of water that would be accumulated.  Therefore, already in the course of the 18th and 19th, and especially through the 20th century, in order to diminish flooding, there was organized drainage channels digging and gully cleaning as well as the soil improvement. That is the period of the development of the first mills and bridges made of stone, among which the most preserved one is the one on Brvina or the bridge over Bublin (Zmijavci), and the bridge of Zmijavci. In the western part of the field, on Perinuša, is preserved the residence of the family Franceschi from Omiš, which Venetian vassals and nobles obtained for their merits in the Venetian-Ottoman wars. The estate consists of two residential – economic buildings, one of which was constructed on a Turkish fortress of Omer-beg Čaušević, gardens and 14 mills. After the end of the conflict in 1717 there was a border between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire created, therefore, the old part of Imota, including also the part of the field, remained on the other side of the border. This part in Herzegovina is called even today Bekija, which means the rest in Turkish. In the hamlet of Majići, from the Herzegovian part of the border, even today there is a Turkish border guardhouse preserved, a so-called fortress of Majić kula, a circular building with interesting architectonic solutions.

Towards the end of the 19th century, after plurennial requirements, the Austrian government allows, and afterwards encourages more and more the cultivation of tobacco around the field and on it. For that reason, between 1887 and 1911 in Imotski was built the first and the biggest tobacco station in Dalmatia. Unfortunately, there hasn't been any tobacco for the last 30 or even more years.

In 1947 was finished a 1650 - meter-long drainage tunnel near the abyss Vrljika (on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina), with which the surplus of water from the field was carried away in a faster way.

Among other things, that contributed to the vine cultivation, in particular the local type of the white grapes of the ancient name tvrdac or kujundžuša, which, due to its particular colour, has the name that derives from the local surname Kujundžić, i.e. from the Turkish word for the goldsmith (kujundžija).

As it has already been stated, through the field flows the river Vrljika, one of the most interesting and the most preserved rivers in Dalmatia. That is the river that springs on several places on the western part of the field (Dva oka, Opačac, Utopišće, Jauk and many other that are smaller), and it is also filled with the water from Jaruga which flows from Prološko blato (which is, however, filled by the water from Suvaja and from many abysses) and with the water from smaller streams. Vrljika in its lower flow changes its name into Matica, and in Drinovci (Bosnia and Herzegovina) plunges under the ground in the abyss Šajinovac. Few kilometres in the direction of east, the river re-appears in Peć Mlini under the name of Tihaljina, and on its way towards the mouth into Neretva in Struge in the vicinity of Čapljina, it changes its name another two times and firstly it is called Mlada and then Trebižat.