December 2, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Túlačky LXXXIX – Velika Mrdakovica, archeolokalita / HR / – Peter Krivda Soliwarski

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…as we pass into distant history, somehow symbolically, as if through a mysterious portal, a strange path, a seemingly endless stone wall on either side, through which nothing can be seen. Nothing awaits us, nothing where we are going. Huge amount of stones and an unimaginable amount of hard work. We still have a kind of unpleasant feeling that the path between the rock walls narrows and over time we get the frustrating idea that we are going through some kind of strange maze, which will end up connecting the stone walls. No signs, no certainty of the right path, the right direction. And then, when we overlook the idea of ​​whether it makes sense to go back while there is time, a space suddenly opens where there is still noticeable stone pavers, and an area bordered by pine trees and a still-felt stone wall. The area is dominated by a stone rainwater cistern serving the inhabitants of the ancient settlement of Arozona. It consists of a limestone block with a sculpted tank with water inlets, and vaulted with a stone vault that prevents dirt and dust from getting in. The tank is still working, there is water in the tank in which someone put a red fish.

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Just a few kilometers from the coastal town of Vodice, on the Adriatic Highway from Šibenik across the Šibenik Bridge around Vodice, the motorway is paved with the stone-clad Butte Galiza. So it is only set at first, then it is rickety, but it is well tolerable. After the first meters, the stone wall begins to climb the path from both sides, and then stretches to the end. Velika Mordakovica. A hill rising from a rocky plain filled with pines, junipers, shrubs and other trees, it can be seen from a distance, but it is much more difficult to reach. Velika Mrdakovica, an important archaeological site on the site where one of the many Illyrian tribes of Liburnovia lived long before the arrival of the Romans. I read that these tribes settled in a fertile area, but our idea of ​​fertility is slightly different. Around the first century, Roman veterans began to settle here and gradually began to Romanize the local population. They brought more modern farming methods and thus an increase in trade. The ancient Croats settled here at the beginning of the 8th century and were gradually assimilated. They lived here until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when devastating raids on the Turkish mountains forced them to move to a safer coast.

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In the Velika Mordakovica region, 50 years ago archaeologists discovered the remains of the Roman settlement of Arauzon, which, according to Pliny, was located between Ladera / Zadar / and Salona / Solina /. They opened a cemetery with 40 graves, and after 2011, under the leadership of archaeologist Tony Braykovo, six more brick graves with ashes buried here and their favorite things. The tomb was the first discovery, but certainly not the last. Stone houses separated by streets. The house was surrounded by huge double stone walls, the rocky stone parts of which evoke respect for their strength and perfection in workmanship.

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From the top of Velika Mrdakowice we have great views of Vodice and on the other side we find on the horizon the hill of Uket, where the architect Nikola Bašić of Zadar built a magnificent architectural ship, the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which shines over the plain like a lighthouse. And somewhere behind it, the blue end of the bay near the town of Zatoun.

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We sat on the stone walls of the houses built here centuries ago by Liburnians, Romans, and Croats, and tried to listen to them with a touch of palm trees on a rough, sweltering surface. We believe that archaeologists from the Šibenik Museum will succeed in revealing their own history. Or not only thy? Here, in places like these, we have long been aware of much more than the intertwining of the histories of nations, and what might for a brief moment seem to be part of the history of one nation suddenly appears as the history of the whole of Europe.

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We are still taking the water to the top. The scorching sun reflected from the white stone can do anything. Under parts of the walls we meet a group of Polish tourists, who can be escorted here by an off-road vehicle from the other side. In the corner of our souls, we were glad we didn’t rock the car all the way here. This output is worth it. After all, the beauty of knowledge must be compensated for by something, said Ingua. And Andre Mauroy once said: “Only those who are worthy can be romantics.” Even in those endless stone walls, we now looked completely different. In Vodice, when we had great pleskavica and čevapi, when we were still unable to speak of the experience, when we put all that we had seen into the deposits of knowledge and memories, and then with aromatic coffee, in Vodice, we realized that we were just like that because they made a small part of Date. We left our mark on the rock of history and one small stone from the bank of the Danube…

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Text, photo © Peter Krivda Soliwarski + apoliticni.hr

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