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Visit Omiš – a town of pirates!

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They went any length even against the Pope, their fast boats were a thorn in Venetian’s side, and not one ship could pass without paying them fee

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Not much is needed for happiness, a saying familiar to the owner of a house where even today stays a writing Thank you Lord for my presence on this world. Locals especially like it, tourists find it attractive, so the house got a name The House of a Happy Man.

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Relaxed lifestyle, perfect climate and beautiful landscape shaped by the Cetina canyon, the sea and Dinara mountain make Omiš people truly fortunate. Their town is not just another attractive holiday destination on the Adriatic, but also a place of rich cultural heritage.

Pirates, Omiš

The Nemesis of Split and Dubrovnik Historians would probably start from the beginning – two thousand years ago when Cetina mouth was being inhabited. But, we’ll skip all those centuries of long and turbulent past and take you to 12th and 13th century, in time of Kačić princes who had the most famous pirate fleet on the Adriatic. Striking everyone with fear, Omiš’s pirates charged free sailing to everyone who passed their town.

For almost two centuries they ruled this part of the Adriatic while attacking merchant ships of great maritime cities of Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Venice. They didn’t even flinch before Pope’s galleys sailing to Palestine. It was pope Honorius III who lost the First Crusade against Omiš people in 1221. 60 years later, in the Second Crusade, fought by Venetians on behalf of the Pope, Omiš pirates weren’t so lucky. Not long after the lost battle Kačičs retrieved from the town, defeated and weakened, but not giving up piracy for a long time.

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It resisted the battles, but not a thunderstroke

As a permanent reminder of famous history above the old town stands fortress Mirabela– former pirate lookout from which entire Brač channel is visible, ensuring that no ship passes unspotted. Thanks to Byzantine coin found in its foundations its construction is dated back to the 13th century.

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Those foundations resisted numerous battles and wars, but not a thunderstorm 30 years ago, when a thunder stroke at the top of the fortress and demolished it completely. Today it is restored into its original shape and is a favourite tourist site. It is most easily reached by steps that start at Omiš’s largest church – St. Michael’s.

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The biggest summer manifestation in Dalmatia

Although they’ve given up piracy centuries ago, Omiš people still keep their sea agility, which is confirmed every 18 August. On this day more than ten thousand visitors from all over the world come to Omiš to enjoy in history revived and reconstruction of Pirate Battle between Omiš people and Venetians. Apart from Omiš’s pirates many historical groups take part in this manifestation: Dubrovnik Trombunjeri, Klis Uskoks, Knight’s society Kumpanija from Blato on Korčula, Župski Gospari, Pirates from Župa Dubrovačka and Cultural Society St. Juraj, Poljica.


Photo:,, archive of tourist boards of Split – Dalmatia County

This post is also available in: Croatian