The Republic of Poljica was a small republic that was situated between the city of Split and the town of Omiš, following the river Cetina, stretching far into the hinterland. The republic enclosed all the little, but fertile fields in the picturesque mountainous area, from which Poljica got their name (Polja = Fields). The republic, governed by 12 towns, existed from the 12th century, thrived through 700 years of wealth and prosperity, effectively defending itself against the Ottoman Empire incursions for 400 years (even though the republic had no conscript army) and was eventually dissolved upon the arrival of Napoleon’s troops at the beginning of the 19th century. The statute of Poljica from the year 1400 shows us the laws and regulations of the time, which were incredibly advanced, not only for medieval times, but even in regards to modern states today. Among other fascinating aspects of this document, it was ever-changing, adapted to fit the needs of the new times, written by the people, for the people. Examples of these regulations include: freedom of all residents to fend for themselves, tax was 0%, and the Duke of Poljica was chosen every year. The statute itself was written in the Croatian language, however, using a dialect, and script that was invented, and only used in Poljica, so you could say they even had their own language.
Poljica today are a part of Croatia. The main industry is still agriculture, although the expansion of tourism has had a significant impact on the locals, who have adopted their houses in this picturesque landscape to accommodate guests from all over Europe, and the world. The canyon of the river Cetina, which surrounds Poljica for the greater part, is a favored destination for adventurists in search of rock climbing, rafting, hiking, and canyoning. Anyone that comes to Poljica is offered “Soparnik”, a chard-infused, traditionally prepared bread that has been recently registered as “protected nonmaterial cultural heritage” of Croatia. This flavorsome, yet healthy meal, once known as “poor mans food”, is so popular that the annual bake-offs that take place in all of the towns within Poljica, are visited by thousands of people that can barely wait to sink their teeth into this delicious dish.
Poljica are a must-see (and taste!) for anyone traveling to Dalmatia!