Drašnice, a little coastal place, is situated some ten kilometres to the south from Makarska in the direction to Dubrovnik. It has a resident population of some three hundred people, but at the end of the nineteenth century it had a population more than 900 people!
The toponym Drašnice (pronounced: drashnice) comes from the name of a thorny grass sort called “draca zestica”, which has appeared in great quantities in the wider land area of Dalmatia. The place itself was first mentioned in some Turkish documents dating from the end of the 15th century. Apart from these written documents we have proofs that life has existed in this area since ancient times.
The remains of material culture in the area of Drašnice have existed since 8000 years, when an our coast and in the whole Mediterranean area the culture of the New Stone Age or the Neolithic expanded.
Hillforts and tumuli are remains of the Illyrians, the ancient population of the Balkan Peninsula. The hillforts were built for residential and defensive purposes, and the tumuli are in fact mounds of stones over ancient Illyrian burial sites. Except for their sepulchral purpose, the tumuli also served for reconnaissance.
A minority of tumuli is situated in the coastal area, and most of them are situated behind the mountain of Biokovo where you can also find many hillforts.
Life was going on in two zones; the mountainous in the summer and the coastal in winter. Life at the seaside was not so intensive like today, because these were troubled times.This alternating way of life survived until the 19th century!
As you can see in the background of the picture, the island of Hvar is situated in front of Drašnice. A couple of centuries B.C., the Greeks colonized some of our islands Hvar being among them. So, the name Hvar comes from the Greek name Pharos. The Romans, who took the Greek colonies and colonized the eastern coast of the Adriatic, used the weakening of Greek predominance.
Having taken possession of the eastern coast they established their rule over this area and stayed here for about five hundred years!!! Life under Roman rule became less turbulent and was less or more peaceful so many new settlements developed in the area of Makarskan coastland among them this real pearl of Drašnice. The remains of such a settlement is still possible to see not far from Drašnice in the direction to Dubrovnik.
On a rather large land area covered by olive trees today, there used to be a settlement dating from the Roman times.
On this area you can trace the continuity of life and settlements dating back to prehistory. Not far from a rather big reconnaissance tumulus there was an antique settlement. On this area you can gather with your hands either building or kitchen pottery material within seconds.
As the legend says, this settlement was ruined by unknown barbarians, who just rushed through this area to the area of Italy and France after the fall of the Roman empire.
The early middle ages, i.e. the period from the eighth to the eleventh century is not quite well known concerning historical events on the Makarskan coastland. Here are only sporadically some indications referring to some historical events. Not far from the area mentioned above where life and settlements were developing rapidly in Roman period, more precisely above the neighbouring place of lgrane, St. Michael’s church was built in the beginning of the 12th century.
Towards the end of the 15th century the Turks invade Bosnia and cause migrations of the Bosnian population that mostly take refuge in the coastal area. Among them were the Franciscans, who found it quite suitable to build a little church and a monastery in Drašnice. As they were not used to a strong wind (called the bora), which sometimes blows very violently under the mountain of Biokovo, they went ten kilometres further to the south, to the village of Zivogosce.
From the 17th century there is a little St. Stephen’s church, which was probably built on the old church site. Among others, let’s mention the existing church buildings: St.George’s, the patron saint of Drašnice, St.Catherine’s,, St George’s in the middle of the village, St. Roch’s on the part called lzbitac, and a small chapel of St.Nicholas in the hamlet of Urlichs.
What is characteristic for Drašnice, is a live until the great earthquake in 1962. In the same year the building of the coastal road called ˝Jadranska magistrala˝ started, and this change caused that many people moved to the coastal part of Drašnice. At the same time the tourist industry becomes the main source of living for the native population and they “overnight” move to the coast. Drašnice can be presented as Croatian Pompeii an a small scale, because you can feel the spirit of the times prevailing for centuries in this area.
Here you can see old stone houses, equipped with the old olive mills, with the authentic interior inside each house.
And for the end … as you’ve already seen, our mascot, tine symbol appearing on each page in the upper left corner, is the Mediterranean monk seal. We chase it because it practically doesn’t exist any more in these waters of the Adriatic. In Drašnice there is a cave called “Medvidine” which comes from the she-bears that used to come there. It is known that they are a big problem for fishermen because they destroy their fishing nets. This was the reason why fishermen pitilessly exterminated them. Nowadays, in the coastal area of Makarska there are no Mediterranean monk seals, but the last ones were seen in the area of Drašnice.