Imotska krajina is a historical name for an area situated in the hinterland of the mountain Biokovo massif. In the past it also included the part bordering with Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the current demarcation originated with the peace Treaty of Passarowitz, which ended the conflicts between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire during the Second Morean War between 1714 and 1718.
The fertile Imotsko polje (field) has had a key role in the life of this area. In between its almost flat surface and the mountain Biokovo massif (1762 m) there is a spacious karst area with a series of alternating hills and bays. The field and the karst area in its immediate vicinity abound in water. The Vrljika River flows alongside the entire field, and Prološko blato (mud) in its north-western part becomes a floodplain area during the cold season of the year. Thanks to them the field offers excellent conditions for agriculture. Several karst lakes for which Imotska krajina is well-known are situated in the karst area north of the field.
Not far from Imotsko polje, on the slope of the Podi hill is situated Imotski. It developed from the medieval fortress which was the centre of the Croatian municipality and whose existence in the 10th-century was recorded by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos. The oldest traces of life in the wider surroundings of the town originate from prehistory with some findings from the classical era. On the cliff overlooking the Blue Lake, the strong fortress Topana was built in early medieval times. In the 10th century, it was the centre of one of eleven counties in the Croatian kingdom. In the late 15th century, the fortress was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. During their reign, Imotski became an important administrative centre and this is recorded in the verses of the popular folk epic Asanaginica. After it was liberated from the Ottoman Empire in 1717, the town started to be formed over time from the scattered houses around the fortress. The town development was accelerated in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the mid-20th century Imotski developed as an industrial centre while maintaining its administrative and trade roles, and in recent times citizens started to hope Imotski would develop into a tourist centre thanks to its cultural heritage and natural attractions – the Blue and Red Lakes. The rest of the important settlements were situated by the very edge of the field: Proložac (by the north-western edge) and Zmijavci and Runovići (by the south-eastern edge). Out of the settlements situated further away from the field, it is worth mentioning Zagvozd and the western villages - Studenci, Lovreć, Cista…
The area of Imotski is well-known for its tradition and culture. It is mentioned in the famous folklore ballad Asanaginica which has been translated into a number of European and world languages. The Imotski area is also famous for its ganga – a traditional type of singing which originated at the beginning of 20th-century. Ganga is a type of singing performed in a way that one singer sings verses and the rest follow him imitating the sound of gusle. Finally, Imotska krajina contributed greatly to 20th-century Croatian literature. The greatest credit for that deserves the great poet and writer Tin Ujević (1891 – 1955.).
Most popular points of interest are: town center of Imotski, Crveno i Modro jezero (the Red and the Blue lake), the collection of the Franciscan Monastery with archaeological and etnological artifacts and Dogana industrial complex in Đirada, Prološko blato (Proložac mud) with the Islet of Manastir (Monastery), Vrljika River with ichtiological preserve, the Basilica in Zmijavci as one of the finest early-Christian remains throughout Imotska krajina, medieval tombstones called stećaks placed all around Imotska krajina, climbing up the northern slope of Biokovo with a number of marked trails and mountain huts there.
Public events and manifestations are very important in Imotski tradition. The oldest being the town Carnival with its unique character of Bakho, not present in any other Croatian carnival tradition. During Holy Week, Imotski becomes the backdrop for the Passion (Muka) - a play about Christ’s last hours. May is reserved for Mandolina Imota - an international festival of the mandolin. During the summer, Imotska sila takes place. This tradition started in the 1970s, and now gathers many domestic and regional artists. Actors in Zagvozd is an event held there since 1998 upon the initiative of the actor Vedran Mlikota. Theatrical guest performances and occasional music evenings are held there. This summer festival is one of the most important cultural phenomena in Croatia, while Trg glumaca (the Artists’ Square) in Zagvozd is a must-see attraction for all culture lovers who happen to be in the area.
The Imotski gastronomic specialties are an important part of the tourist offer in the area. Along with the traditional dishes on the spit and under a baking lid (pod pekom), the most eminent prize is awarded to the best well-known cheese of the Dalmatian hinterland – the cheese from Studenci produced from full-fat cow’s milk from the north-western hilly part of Imotska krajina. In addition to its salty specialty, Imotski is well-known for its almond and walnut sweets. And apart from the Imotski (style) cake, a great popularity enjoy the so called rafijoli – cookies made out of dough stuffed with ground walnuts and almonds with a hint of additional flavouring.
Learn more on the pages of Tourist Board of Imotski.