Flourishes Fit for a Fairy Tale: Admiring the Details in Trogir, Croatia

Trogir architecture coat of arm Trogir architecture coat of arm

Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries.René Descartes

Trogir architecture

How Trogir tempts me with its fanciful flourishes fit for a fairy tale!

At almost every turn in the Croatian town’s labyrinthine lanes, there emerge weathered faces, coats of arms, religious motifs, and even a nautical-inspired element. Embarking on a grocery shopping mission is a hapless endeavor, for I always become distracted, craning my neck to see the treasures on the façades above. At times, I expect my trusty Nikon (or husband) to start puffing out smoke, exhausted from my maniacal snapping.

Trogir architecture

I also find myself torn between wanting to be a symbologist or art historian, or simply a child playing hide & seek in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed town that has been inhabited for more than 2,300 years, and shaped by Greek, Roman and Venetian cultures.

Trogir architecture coat of arm

My husband and I have solved some of the mysteries about these limestone motifs, thanks to chats with locals, and scant research. On the Ćipiko Palaces’ south gate (image above) is the Latin saying nosce te ipsum (know thyself). A father and son built these neighboring palaces, which are heavily adorned with multiple family coats of arms.

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture

Yet so many other details around town remain a mystery that I wish to unravel… Perhaps it’s better that way.

Trogir architecture

Trogir architecture

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture

Trogir architecture

Trogir architecture coat of arm Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Trogir architecture coat of arm

Where in the World?

In what cities have you most found yourself getting lost in the details? 

Can you share any interpretations of what some of these coats of arms might mean? Creativity encouraged! :)

Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

26 Comments on “Flourishes Fit for a Fairy Tale: Admiring the Details in Trogir, Croatia

  1. Beautiful and fascinating, Trish. Great chatting with you yesterday. Love, Bionic Mama

    • We’re glad you can travel along with us virtually, Mary Ann! Tomorrow, we’re headed on our wine-tasting trip. So excited; we’ll of course share the details here. :) Hugs from both of us.

  2. In Rhodes, and these crests remind me of it! Trying to decipher the secrets encoded in those stone tablets is certainly fascinating. Curious about the ones with weapons, particularly the flails. Neat post Tricia :-)

    • Me too, Madhu (curious about the flail). I think we’re going on a guided tour next week, so I’ll have to follow up. That particular coat of arms was in the City Hall/Duke’s Palace, and there’s an incredible Gothic staircase in the courtyard where all the crests are.

      I hate to think of going to other places when we’re already in such a beautiful one, but Rhodes sounds really cool! Maybe, just maybe we’ll make it there this summer. How much did you spend in Greece?

  3. I’m not so hot on what they represent, Tricia. Just fascinated by the incredible detail. Some of these are very beautiful.

    • I agree, Jo, that some of them have a bit macabre details, but could you elaborate a bit more? As Carol mentioned, it’s impressive that we are admiring this work centuries later.

  4. I like to imagine the craftsmen who worked on all these ornamentations. They were highly skilled and they probably didn’t think about us admiring their work centuries later.

    • Carol, I was thinking about that the other day! How long did a piece take to do? Were they mostly done by local artists, or some traveling throughout the region? Just like the Descartes quote attests: “Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries…” I love the sense of history here.

      • It comes as no surprise that I highly recommend it. The weather is quite pleasant this time of year and there’s no battling to be done with crowds. I’ll be happy to share any pointers once you do.

  5. Hi Tricia, am so happy to find your blog. It seems we have much in common. Have been to many of the same places and seem to “focus” on similar things. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

    • Tina, the feeling is mutual, and what a clever play on words. :) So much to explore on your photography site, but I did see a few familiar destinations (the Redwoods and Luang Prabang). It’ll be fun to explore more.

  6. Another great post. You have a wonderful eye for detail, creating such interesting and meaningful photos. Cheers!

    • That’s kind of you to say; thank you. Indeed, it’s easy to delight in and get lost in the details in Trogir. We’re just around the corner from Trogir now (after having spent last winter there) so we’re eager to get back and see friends, and the town’s mélange of beautiful architecture.

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