Trogir


View on Trogir's Uvala, 24th of April 2019


Over the years I visited Trogir several times: in 2003, 2011 and 2019. With a UNESCO heritage city center it is one of those "places to be" at the stunning Adriatic coastline of Croatia. No wonder that Kurt Hielscher included nine photos of Trogir in his book, of which I rephotographed eight over the years, some several times. Trogir also was one of the first places where I experimented with rephotographing old photos starting 2003, next to nearby Šibenik and Split.


Selfie in front of Kamerlengo Fortress in Trogir with a copy in my hands from page 43 of Kurt Hielscher's 1926 photobook from Yugoslavia, 24th of April 2019


View on Trogir, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

View on Trogir, 6th of August 2018

Photo: Casper Molenaar

Well, I could have stepped a dozen of metres more to the right, but I was afraid that I would lose sight due to some trees. And it was hot. The sun was burning and with the van shut down also the airco was shut down. The other familymembers were shouting at me to come back to the car and get it running again. "Could I once not think about this Kurt Hielscher project?", they asked me. 


City Gate, Trogir, Croatia, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

City Gate, Trogir, Croatia, 24th of April 2003

Photo: Casper Molenaar

City Gate, Trogir, Croatia, 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar

What happened to the lion? Of course, that's the key question here. I did not know the answer when I made the photo in 2003 nor in 2019. In 2003 I just got the photobook of Kurt Hielscher and it was one of the first photos I made.

Now I do know: it happened on the 1st of December in 1932. The Venetian lions were seen as political symbols instead of monuments from the past. Italian nationalists and fascist propaganda used its presence for territorial claims on Dalmatia and Istria. Eight stone Venetian lions on old public buildings and the Trogir city walls were damaged or destroyed by a group of young Yugoslav nationalists that day. It had a strong impact on the public and aggravated the already bad Yugoslav-Italian relations at the time. 

Source: "Trogirski incident od 1. prosinca 1932. i mletački lav svetog Marka kao simbol "talijanstva" istočne obale Jadrana", Časopis za suvremenu povijest, Vol. 39 No. 2, 2007, Mario Jareb. Full article can be downloaded here (in Croatian).


Uvala, Trogir, Croatia, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

Uvala, Trogir, Croatia, 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar

At the Uvala, a lady who guarded a tourist boat told me that some recent changes took place like the chimney and the roof construction in front of the most characteristic building. I was invited on the boat and we chatted about what the right angle should be. These changes made it hard for me to find the right angle, but I think I am close and happy with the result.


A few years ago we passed Trogir on our way to Ćiovo. The new bridge was not there yet and the road was very busy when we came and when we left a week later. Though I had been to Trogir before, it felt not right to leave Ćiovo and Trogir without visiting the city center, but we did, unfortunately. There was simply no way we could park the van nearby. So, when we were in Trogir again in April 2019 I was very happy to take plenty of time to stroll around and to take the photos Kurt Hielscher once did. There's only one photo I could not find. I asked around and some people told me the church on it is not to be found here in Trogir. You can find that one by scrolling all the way down. Now I do know where that photo has been made, so I have to go back again.


Uvala, Trogir, Croatia, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

Uvala, Trogir, Croatia, 24th of April 2003

Photo: Casper Molenaar

Uvala, Trogir, Croatia, 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar

This must be one of the first photos from Kurt Hielscher I ever tried to capture again (The photo from the lion at the cathedral's portal in Šibenik was the first one). That was in 2003. While taking a look again on these photos, I realize now that the old one from 2003 is actually better than the one I took in 2019. Anyway, I am sure I will come back here. Not only because I missed one photo from Kurt Hielscher, but mainly because it is simply a beautiful photogenetic town with a really laid back atmosphere. 


Trogir Cathedral, Croatia, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

Trogir Cathedral, Croatia, 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar


The building of Katedrala Sv. Lovre, the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, also and maybe better known as St. John's Cathedral (Sveti Ivan) began in 1213, largely completed in 1251 it lasted 600 years till it reached its full completion. The Cathedral is constructed in Romanesque-Gothic style but also shows all styles that were dominant in the region during this period. 

Portal of the Cathedral, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

Portal of the Cathedral, 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar


Unique is the portal, its carving done and signed Majstor Radovan himself in 1241 with the inscription meaning that he was the one who made it: "FUNDATUR VALVE POST PARTUM VIRGINIS ALME PER RADUANUM CUNCTIS..."

On the portal one can see above the lions, the nude figures of Adam and Eve but also hunting scenes and scenes from the life of Christ, from the Annunciation to the Resurrection to the Birth of Christ from the outside in.

Marmontov Glorijet and the Kula Svetog Marka (Saint Mark's Tower), Trogir, 1926 

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

Marmontov Glorijet and the Kula Svetog Marka (Saint Mark's Tower), Trogir, the 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar

When built, the Marmontov Glorijet was placed in the water and connected with a small bridge to the shore. Today we can find it near the shore, just behind the soccerfield behind the Kamerlengo Castle. I believe that the citizens of Trogir have mixed feelings about the classic style 1809 built Glorijet ordered by a French General, but a bust of Napoleon was never placed in it. Here some young boys seem to have a good time hanging around and chatting with a man not disturbed by me taking some photos. I dont know how many times the Glorijet has been replaced but it is clear that it has been done since Kurt Hielscher made his photo in 1926, I actually realized only when I arrived on the spot. Saint Mark's Tower is way older. Built during the 15th century at the time of the Ottoman attacks, and originally connected to the city walls with Kamerlengo Castle.

Fort Kamerlengo, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

Fort Kamerlengo, 24th of April 2019

Photo: Casper Molenaar

In 1420 Trogir became a part of the Republic of Venice. Soon after Kamerlengo Fortress was erected to protect the sea channel and its port. The fortress was originally surrounded by a moat with a main entrance on the north with a drawbridge. 

When I was in Trogir in 2003, I remember that cars were still allowed to park in front of the castle. I made a photo at the time, but it was not good enough to show it here. Today the surroundings of the castle are a pretty quiet part of the city centre, except maybe when there is a match on the footballfield behind the castle.


Trogir, 1926

Photo: Kurt Hielscher

This is the only photo left I did not manage to rephotograph again. Now I finally found out where it is with some online help from Marin Galjanović, who showed me the place: the photo has been shot from a little square just behind primary school "Petar Berislavić", where used to be Konoba Pizzeria Popaj.

the photo has been shot from a little square where Konoba Pizzeria Popaj used to be

I am sure I will be back one day to make this one too, and not only to make this photo again, but mainly because Trogir is worth a visit, over and over again.

In the footsteps of  Kurt Hielscher