Zablaće, and the rest of the area around Šibenik, was one of the places I enjoyed exploring most on our recent road trip around Croatia. It’s completely unspoilt, a little off the beaten track and some of the very minor roads, for example around the Kanal Sveti Ante, leading to Šibenik, have been opened up.
Unspoilt, perhaps, not for much longer though hopefully in a good way!! Croatia Week reports the arrival of Brad Pitt and entourage in Croatia last week to inspect the proposed site of a substantial investment destined to provide a luxury resort including villas, shop, marina, hotel and golf course.
Reassuringly the project team includes local but internationally renowned architect, Nikola Bašić, probably most well known in Croatia for his two Zadar installations Greeting To The Sun and the Sea Organ.
I interviewed Nikola Bašić for the 2009 edition of Time Out’s Visitors’ Guide To Croatia and this is what he told me about the Zadar installations and, prophetically, about future plans!
When commissioned to regenerate the western part of Zadar’s peninsula, Bašić took his inspiration from Hitchcock’s immortalisation of Zadar’s sunsets, and the sound of waves breaking on the shore. Resisting a conventional approach, he wanted the public space to be a “kaleidoscope of metaphors” to enhance the visitor’s appreciation of the true spirit of Zadar. Though there’s plenty of technology involved in the Greeting To The Sun, The Sea Organ could have been engineered centuries ago, and Bašić maintains that the result of both is more of a man enhanced natural phenomenon than a man made installation…….Bašić has more challenges to pursue before he retires to his idyllic islet of Ganagarola to “catch cuttlefish and dry figs”. His “1246 project” involves a commemorative stone for each of Croatia’s 1,246 islets and islands, and his innovative enthusiasm is currently directed towards the concept of a new breed of tourism developments designed to blend with their surroundings.
The project has apparently been in the pipeline for several years and early reports suggests that eco friendliness will be a priority. Reports also suggest that the project is generally welcomed by locals for the additional infrastructure and facilities, such as schools and clinics, it will provide, and for the additional money it will inject into the local economy.
Hopefully it will make the most of Zablaće’s place in history as well as its natural assets – the settlement dates back to the 18th century and inhabitants were engaged in fishing and salt extraction. As well as the salt lakes, the mud is reputed to have medicinal qualities.
It’s not far from the large Solaris resort and has a campsite and beaches of its own as well as a small local marina. However, partly due to its remoteness by road, and also because all but 500 inhabitants remain after many have gone abroad, it does have the air of a rather sleepy settlement which may well get a rude awakening once development starts.
For more information on the proposed development go to:
Croatia Week - Brad Pitt in Croatia
People.com - Brad Pitt Visits Croatia Luxury Real Estate (though I wouldn’t describe the Sea Organ as a giant sculpture, as all the working parts are concealed underwater beneath the steps, and the “Dogusvom Hotel” is actually a hotel of the Dogus Group called D-Resort Šibenik.)
Independent Balkan News Agency - Swiss Investor Building Town In Croatia
For more about Nikola Bašić and his work, including a recording of the sounds of the sea organ, go to:
Croatia.Org - Nikola Bašić
Domus Web - Nikola Bašić And The Adriatic Landscape