In Split: a hike in Marjan Park - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

October 13, 2020

In Split: a hike in Marjan Park

Tuesday, our last full day in Croatia, is beautiful.  We had a few ideas for a bike ride for today, if we were lucky with the weather: we could take a ferry out to Brač, or a loop south along the coast to Omiš.  Both look appealing, and if we make it back to Split someday perhaps we’ll check them out.  Neither sounds as appealing though as taking a hike in Marjan Forest Park.

This large, forested park begins right at the edge of the waterfront promenade and covers the entire peninsula west of there.  It’s large enough for a substantial hike - we logged over seven miles walking to the west end and back, taking a reasonably direct route.  It’s an extraordinary resource to have so close in to the core of a major city, and makes me think of Portland’s good fortune to have its own Forest Park so close by.  

It’s a park with a long history that perhaps goes back to the time when the Diocletian Palace was built in 300 AD.  It’s been used over the centuries as a hermitage by monks living in its caves, and concrete bunkers give evidence of its use as a military outpost.  Now though, it’s a fantastic urban outdoor playground, the domain of bikers, hikers and runners escaping the city.

Entering Marjan Forest Park from the waterfront side, climbing up the Marjan Stairs. This long staircase leads up to dramatic viewpoints and then on to trails across the high summit of the peninsula.
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Cats everywhere. Split is a fine town for cat lovers.
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In Marjan Forest Park.
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Looking back across Split.
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The Church of Saint Nicolas, one of several religious structures scattered across the peninsula.
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Looking inland, through a gap in the coastal mountains. Assuming that’s really snow back in there, that must be Kamešnica, the 6,000’ mountain at the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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Higher up on the peninsula, looking past Split along the southern coast.
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A view north across the inlet to the interior. The mountain is Kozjak, and the town below is Kaštela, which we biked through following along the coastline on our ride from Trogir.
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Much of Marjan Forest Park is covered by a canopy of Aleppo Pines.
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Bethlehem Church, a gothic structure from the XIV century.
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There are several bunkers like this along the outer coastline. They look relatively modern, perhaps from the Second World War or even the Croatian war of independence.
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In Marjan Forest Park.
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Remains of a renaissance hermitage, built against the cliffs. There are small caves nearby.
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At one of the highest points on the ridge we find this fine lookout for our lunch break. The land opposite is Čiovo, the small island that ends at Trogir. In season you can catch a ferry from the waterfront to Slatine, that small town across the water, and bike from there to Trogir.
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Jen GrumbyThat's my kind of lunch stop.

Beautiful!
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2 weeks ago
Another look southeast along the coast. As we hike the sky gradually gets a gloomier look but never turns to rain.
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Eagle-eyed Rachael noticed what looked like a structure along the crest of Kozjac. Let’s zoom in.
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She’s right. From the map, it looks like this must be the church of Saint Luke of Kozjak. From the photographs I’ve seen, the views from up there must be incredible.
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Toward the end of the peninsula, dropping toward the point.
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Pushing up the pine needles.
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From the end of the peninsula, looking toward Trogir at the end of the inlet.
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