Vitturi Castle was built by the aristocratic family Vitturi from Trogir, at the end of the 15th century. Two noblemen from Trogir, Nikola and Jerolim Vitturi, built the castle in order to provide protection not only for the Vitturi family but also for the population of the nearby village of Ostrog. The castle was built in the style of a luxurious renaissance palace and it was completed in 1564. It consisted of a residential building and two defence towers and it was connected to the mainland with a drawbridge. In the 18th century the drawbridge was replaced with a stone bridge. Near the castle there is a classicistic park dating from the second half of the 18th century. The park was also designed by the Vitturi family. In 1968 it was proclaimed a monument of park architecture.
Nowadays, the renovated Vitturi castle has become the cultural centre of Kaštel Lukšić, as a place where numerous exhibitions, concerts and plays are held. In addition to that, the town museum and other cultural institutions are situated in the former residential part of the castle. The Vitturi castle is famous not only for its beauty but also for a legend concerning one of its inhabitants – Dobrila Vitturi.
The legend of Miljenko and Dobrila is a tragic story about two lovers from Kaštel Lukšić, who are often described as the Croatian Romeo and Juliet. The legend was used as a basis for a number of novels, operas and plays. The story dates from the second half of the 17th century, when two noble families lived in Kaštel Lukšić – the Vitturi family with their daughter Dobrila and the Rušinić family with their son Miljenko.
According to the legend, Miljenko and Dobrila fell in love, but they had to keep their relationship secret because of a long-lasting feud between their families. When their parents found out about their relationship, they decided to separate them. Miljenko was sent off to Venice, while Dobrila’s father arranged for her to marry a much older nobleman from Trogir. However, Miljenko found out about his plans and came back from Venice just in time to stop the wedding. As a result, he was banished from Kaštel Lukšić and Dobrila was sent to a convent. However, she escaped with the intention of being reunited with Miljenko and marrying him secretly. When Dobrila's father found out that she had escaped from the convent, he decided to bring her home at any cost. He sent a messenger to find the two lovers and to tell them that he would no longer oppose their marriage and that they could come home. The lovers accepted his proposal, returned to Kaštel Lukšić and got married. But when the wedding celebration was over, Dobrila’s father, consumed with rage, killed Miljenko. Several months later Dobrila died of sadness. Her only wish was to be buried next to Miljenko. Their grave can be found in the church of St. John in Kaštel Lukšić, and it is famous for the inscription ‘Rest in peace, lovers’.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.