THE HOME of our DOMINIKOVICH FAMILY from MOMICI
From the mountain ranges of the eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Neretva River runs for 225 kilometres a total distance of 203 km through Bosnia and Herzegovina and then 22 km through Dalmatia, Croatia. The upper river flows swiftly through the mountainous landscape of the eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From mountain highs of the eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through canyons, gulches and the hollows of it's upper and middle flow, Neretva leaks through Dinarid mountain system and downstream from Počitelj, a small town in Herzegovina, then spreads to large wetland valley and through branched delta flows to Adriatic sea.
The biggest river of the Adriatic, although greatly curbed and fettered, is still with it's beauty and landscape variety unique. Within it's delta, the river influenced a totally unique way of human living which today is slowly disapearing, but it is very much present in the memories of older inhabtants, in their stories and memories, handed down to the young people who don't want to let this history to be forgotten. The tradition of the hunting and fishing is still carried on by the local inhabitants, but they are aware however that the bird and the fish resources are in jeopardy and it need protection.
The last 30 kms of the River flows on from Pocitelj in Bosnia and Herzegovina and then it spreads into an alluvial delta before emptying into the Adriatic Sea. The Neretva’s lower course and delta were shaped by flood waters that periodically washed down from the mountains, bringing dissolved organic substrate, which was the sedimentation that created the rich, fertile soil. It is the most indented delta in Croatia and spreads into a large wetland valley which meanders before meeting the Adriatic Sea.
THE NERETVA DELTA
This is a wonderful landscape where the river meets the sea, of the valley along the last 30 km of the Neretva River, and the river itself, comprise a remarkable landscape. Downstream from the confluence of its tributaries, the Trebizat and Bregava rivers, the valley spreads into an alluvial fan covering 20,000 hectares. The upper valley, consists of 7,411 hectares in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is called Hutovo Blato. In the lower valley in Croatia, is where the Neretva River splinters into multiple courses, creating a delta covering approximately 12,000 hectares. The delta in Croatia has been reduced by extensive land reclamation projects, and now flows in just three branches, a drop from the previous 12. The marshes, lagoons and lakes that once dotted this plain have disappeared and only fragments of the old Mediterranean wetlands have survived, which consisted of plains, karst, lakes and marshes. A pleasant Mediterranean climate is a characteristic of this region.
The average yearly temperature hovers above 15 degrees Celsius and with more than 2700 hours of sunshine each year, this makes the Neretva delta the sunniest part of the Croatian seaboard. The most well known characteristic of the lower Neretva landscape has long been the marshlands with their abundance of fish and swamp birds. Soil conservation and land reclamation practices in the last few decades have transformed considerably the regions agriculture, the most famous being the cultivation of citrus fruits. A wide variety of flora and fauna are protected with the establishment of three omithological and ichthyo-ornithological reserves.
The lower Neretva stream is not just a local feature but also a key region in the cycle of migration, hibernation and the nesting of birds as well as a hatching ground for numerous types of fish. This region is most famous for its gastronomic specialties. Eels, black water hens and frog’s legs, amongst others, are specialties of the Dalmatian kitchen and present an excellent reason to visit the area.
The valley along the last 30 km of the Neretva River, and the river itself, comprise a remarkable landscape. Downstream from the confluence of its tributaries, the Trebizat and Bregava rivers, the valley spreads into an alluvial fan covering 20,000 hectares. The upper valley, the 7,411 hectares in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is called Hutovo Blato.
In the lower valley in Croatia, the Neretva River splinters into multiple courses, creating a delta covering approximately 12,000 hectares. The delta in Croatia has been reduced by extensive land reclamation projects, and now flows in just three branches, a drop from the previous 12 branches. The marshes, lagoons and lakes that once dotted this plain have disappeared and only fragments of the old Mediterranean wetlands have survived.
This area hosts a rich collection of plants and animals. According to existing data, there are 34 species of freshwater fish, including three endemic species from the trout family, more then 100 marine fish, seven species of amphibians, 16 species of reptiles and 52 species of mammals. A major attraction in the delta are its water and wetland birds. More than 300 bird species can be seen here, 115 of which nest in the area.
The area around the Neretva's lower flow is contains a legacy which can testify to milleniums of human presence. The productive land recovered from the wetland led to developement of a river highway which resulted in trading with other regions.
There are numerous prehistoric forts, habitations and the remains of human occupation in the lower areas of the River and Delta. In this area lived the old Iliric tribes of the Iron Age. The Greeks in the 4th century built a port which developed into the well known Port of Narona, near to the present Vid near Metković. The whole delta around Narona was scattered with settlements whose remnants are today hidden by the wetland and river drifts. The rich legacy of monuments also testifys about Roman times. City bulwarks with towers, Roman villas, mosaics, epitaphs. In the Emperor Augustine's time Narona was an administrative center. As recently as 1996 in the Vid city centre in the main square were recovered the remnants of a temple where 16 statues of gods and goddess's were found. Between these statues was an impressive statue, 3 meters high of the Roman Emperor Augustine.
During the Turkish invasion at the end of the 1400’s, several churches were destroyed and the memory of those times is kept alive by the fortress Norinska Kula situated at the mouth of the small Norin River flows into the Neretva River. Kula Norinska, is about 6 km from Metkovic and this village is where Napoleon’s Road meets the delta and where it crossed The Neretva River. It was the final frontier against the Ottoman Empire. The tower of Norinska Kula (now on the other bank of the river) was built by the Turks in the 1500’s as defence against Venice and to protect the water ways of Norin and the Neretva River. The Turks held the Norin tower until 1685 when they lost it to the Venetians. After the fall of the Venetian Republic the tower fell into the hands of the Austrian army and later the French army.
The advent of Christianity can also be found from the middle of the 5th century in the lower Neretva area. From the early Christian legacy of St Vid's Basilica, with its extraordinary baptistery in today's church in Vid Place.
There are very few reminders from the Middle Ages. During the Turk attacks at the end of the 15th century many churchs were demolished and there is mention at that time to the impressive Fort Norinska tower, at the Neretva mouth. Because of frequent wars from the Venetian Republic times there are also not many significant sites.
The Maraton Ladja (or 'The Ladja Marathon') is an amateur sporting/rowing competition of traditional sailing vessels held on the Neretva River. It is held once a year, on the second Sunday in August. Held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, the Maraton Ladja originated out of a need to preserve the age old customs and traditions of this unique Neretvanian river boat that otherwise would have become extinct or largely forgotten about.
In essence, the gondola is to Venice what the Ladja is to the Neretva region. Judging by the many spectators that watch the race live, the Maraton Ladja is one of the biggest events in Croatia, as well as a huge tourist attraction. More than 50,000 spectators line the banks of the Neretva River along its 22 kilometre course to watch the drama unfold. The annual cultural/sporting extravaganza is contested over a course stretching from Metkovic to the coastal town of Ploce. The event has been running uninterrupted for 288 years in the small Dalmatian hinterland town of Sinj.
THE VILLAGE of MOMICI
THE DOMINIKOVICH HOUSE
The affluent of the Neretva river that flows through Momici is called NORIN.
The village is named after the flower that grows in the swamps of the Neretva Valley.
Family members emigrated to New Zealand and Argentina
Bacina lakes not far from the traffic route in the Neretva River valley, is another place of beauty, which must be visited. Northwest of the Neretva estuary, only two kilometers from the port city of Ploce, a series of six picturesque lakes lie in a rocky valley. The bottom of Bacina lakes lies below sea level, while the lakes surface lies above it.
Several thousand years before Christ, by some estimates 6000 years and 2000-3000 years by others, the area near Dubrovnik was first inhabited. The earliest history of Dubrovnik goes back to Ancient times, at least to the 6th-5th centuries BC. In other words, the Grad (the City) is at least thousand years older than it was believed until recently, see [Nicetic]. This is confirmed by excavations carried out in 1980s and 1990s. The existence of the city was lost through the cloudy course of history, legends are interwoven with historical facts and there are no preserved documents from those ancient times. There are so few that historians and archaeologists are left with the massive task of bringing these many assumptions on the life near Dubrovnik to light. One thing is certain, Dubrovnik is an old city, standing on its stone cliffs for at least 14 centuries. Before Dubrovnik, there was a much older city, Epidaurum, which developed in the area of where Cavtat is today, 18 kilometers southeast of Dubrovnik.
Until the time of its demise in the 7th century, Epidaurum existed for at least 10 and perhaps as many as 12 centuries. Some historians have stated that the Greeks founded the colony as early as the 7th century before Christ.
The Illyrians were the first inhabitants of the greater region occupied by the former Yugoslavian state, but most of the data is coming from Greek and then Roman sources. The old Greeks have colonized the fertile coastal regions and a few islands like Vis (Issa) and Hvar (Pharos). Discovery of their coins and few art crafts along the old Imotski county roads suggests they were trading there. It is most likely they were coming from the direction of Vid (Narona).
The name of current Dalmatia traces its origin from the Illyrians tribe Dalmatae. They were the largest Illyrians tribe in the region, the other two nearby tribes being Daors and Ardiaei. The tribes lived organized in smaller units connected with family ties. That was dictated in part by the mountainous terrain. There are many Illyrians stone forts and burial stone piles, 2 and 3 meters high and over 30 meters in diameter all over Imotski County. Many very rich deposits of Illyrians artifacts were found in Postranje and Sebišina, including pieces of jewelry.
Illyrians were excellent warriors and they were very efficient in forcing nearby tribes to pay taxes. The Romans clashed with the Illyrians in 230 B.C. when the Illyrian started pirating Greek and Roman merchant ships. There were periods of hostility and peace between them so it took the might Roman war machine several centuries to conquer the war oriented Illyrians tribes. Daors, as the smallest tribe made a pact with Romans, enduring harassment from the Dalmatae tribe, and eventually helped the Romans to their quests to pacify the Dalmatae.
Dalmatae (Delmatae) -arum, m. pl. the Dalmatians, inhabitants of Dalmatia.
The old Illyrian settlement names were still reflected in the work of well known geographer Claudius Ptolomy ( ca. A.D. 90-168) from Alexandria who has published famous Geography in eight books. He collected geographic data from the then known world including the Mediterranean region. His "Fifth Map of Europe" contains Dalmatia with the following nearby towns: Epetium = Stobreč, Oneum = Omiš, Oiguntium = Podstrana, Andetrium = Muć, Delminium = Duvno, Noabrona Col = Vid, and Salona = Solin.
Note: Brythonic (p-Celtic): a Celtic language, which is a branch of the Indo-European languages, out of which came Welsh, Cornish and Breton
Goidelic (q-Celtic): a Celtic language which is a branch of the Indo-European language, out of which came Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx Gaelic.
The Belgae Confederation which is not added here is seen more as a hybrid of Germanic and Celtic groups, possibly a hybrid language as well, but the jury is out on the language:
Boii: a Celtic tribe from the area known as (Pannonia) Bohemia, which is now Austria, Hungary. The Boii were also found in Germany. The Dardani(?): found in Romania. The Dalmatae / Delmate: found in Dalmatia, in Croatia.
Trade brought the ancient Greeks to this area, and during the time of ancient Rome the area was a part of the province of Dalmatia. The city of Narona was then one of the largest economic end cultural centers on the Adriatic Coast. The migration of people here brought Croatians principalities. The Neretva principality had dominance over the sea and from the 11th Century was a part of the Croatian Kingdom.
The site of the ancient Narona. First mentioned as a Greek market town, then as a Roman colony (Colonia Julia Narona). Around 200 Roman inscriptions have been preserved, bearing witness to the existence of the Temple of Liber and the Temple of Asclepius, winter baths and theatre performances in Narona. It reached its peak between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century. The seat of the diocese in the late ancient period. The life in Narona ceased after the Avarian and Slavic raids at the beginning of the 7th century.
The ruins of the city walls rise from the southeastern slopes of the hills towards the river. The Forum used to be on the present location of the square in the village. Fragments of the monumental architectonic plastic forms, the bases of capitals, the pavement and a mosaic have been preserved (buried today). A marble portrait of Emperor Vespasian has been recently excavated on the forum, and the portrait of Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus and the head of Mercury (both exhibited in the Ashmolean Museum in England) were found at the end of the 19th century.
The famous marble relief featuring female dancers originates from the Hellenistic period. The most representative excavations from the Roman period include the bust of an emperor and the statue of a woman (today in Opuzen), the bust of Isis made of alabaster, the relief featuring Dioscuri, a fragment of the sarcophagus with figures of Heracles, Cerberus and Hermes, tombstones featuring Roman horsemen and officers, a small bone-made case featuring the battle between the Pygmies and cranes.
In 1995, on the location of Plecaseve Stale, a Roman temple from the 1st century was discovered. Near the ruins of the temple 16 statues of supernatural dimensions representing emperors, members of imperial families, aristocracy and Roman deities were discovered, ranking among the peak achievements of the ancient art. The finds from the late antique period comprise a valuable stone relief featuring two peacocks between kantharoi, adorned pilasters and imposts, Ostrogothic helmets and golden jewelry of the woman named Urbica, rings and more than 100 Byzantine coins from the beginning of the 7th century. The Byzantine helmets from the 6th century, discovered on the top of the hill along the city walls, now within the holdings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, are particularly important.
The earliest history of this area has been written in stone and saved in the material relicts of cultures of that time, such as stone axes, grindstones, knives, darts, and pottery, all gathered and exhibited in the Sinj museum. From the Roman legacy (this territory had been governed by the Roman Empire for more than 600 years) we have learnt that a large Illiyric tribe Dalmatae lived here. The Romans named their province Dalmatia (formerly called Illyricum) after them. With the irruption of Avaric and Slavic tribes, the Croats became and stayed to the present day the main ethnical subject in these parts.
The history of this area dates back to the very distant past when the Stone-Age man left the first traces on the Adriatic Coast. The archaeological remains from the islands of Brac and Hvar, Split, Trogir and Sinj speak of activities in these areas during the Bronze and Iron Age, and contribute to the beauty of historical complexity.
In 389 B.C. Greek settlers founded the town of Issa on the island of Vis, and in 385 the very strong settlement Pharos sprang up in the northern cove on the island of Hvar. On land, Greek settlers founded Tragurion (Trogir) and Epetion (Stobrec). Under the Roman rule, that directed the organization of life along the entire coast, many present-day towns were founded.
Salona the onetime port of the Illyrian tribe of Delmati, became the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Salona bears testimony of the earliest traces of Christianity on the east Adriatic Coast. Diocletian, a former soldier, probably a native of Salona, who was proclaimed Roman Emperor in 284, had a magnificent palace built from 295 to 305 (nucleus of today's Split) in the vicinity of Salona. Religion was the reason why many lives were taken, mostly during the rule of Emperor Diocletian who in 303 issued a decree forbidding Christianity. The bishop of Salona and Syrian martyr Domnio (Dujam in Croatian) was the victim of prosecuting of Christianity. In memory of this bishop he is still celebrated as the patron saint of Split. The Croats settled these areas in the first decades of the 7th century, founding a state in the hinterland with Solin and later Knin as one of its centers.
NERETVA DELTA MAP
This then is the Neretva Delta District and the small village of Momici where our Dominikovich ancestors emigrated from. As you can read our ancestral history and culture goes back a very long way in recorded time. In 156 B.C. the Dalmatians were for the first time attacked by a Roman army and compelled to pay tribute. Later there were units of Dalmatian soldiers in the Roman Army and some units were stationed in Britain when Rome invaded England. Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (245-316 AD) brought an end to decades of crisis and anarchy in the Roman Empire when he became Emperor in 284. He was born somewhere on the Dalmatian coast in humble conditions. Originally his name was Diocles. The times were chaotic with ever changing emperors, and Diocles sought a career in the military. He was a able and successful commander, and in 284 he was acclaimed emperor by the soldiers. He changed his name into Diocletian at that occasion.
The art of printing found its way to Dalmatia as early as the end of the fifteenth century. The great explorer Marco Polo was reputed to be a Dalmatian born on the Island of Korcula offshore from the Neretva Delta. The crew of the explorer Christopher Columbus is also said to contain Dalmatians. At one time they were a maritime nation with large fleets. These explorers, sailors, mariners, captains, pilots, merchants, bankers and diplomats, were mostly from the Dalmatian Coast and the Republic of Raguza.
Metkovic (which is pronounced met-co-vich) is a Croatian town, placed on the River Neretva in Dalmatia. It is about 20 km far from the Adriatic sea. Metkovic, as far as we know today, was first mentioned in a historic document from 1422.
Most probably, the settlement was founded by farmers and livestock breeders. As a farming, livestock settlement, from its beginning up to eighteenth century, it was of small significance. Metkovic gained in importance after Venetians founded a new Neretvan port in Metkovic in the Unka area, in 1716. The result of this was a new borderline between the Venetian Republic and Turks. The border on the Neretva River betwen these countries was moved four kilometers down the Neretva River. During the eighteenth century,at the time of Venetian rule, the settlement had gradually developed. Agriculture and livestock breeding were still the main occupation of Metkovic people.
After the ruin of the Venetian Republic (1797), the delta was under Austrian
rule, but did not expirience any changes in relation to the previouse period. Of somewhat greater importence, even a turning point in Metkovic's development was the short-lived rule of the French in Dalmatia (1806-1813). Thanks to "Napoleon's road", it become an important crossroad and commune centre. Metkovic had an even greater importance in the time of the second Austrian rule, that is, the Austro-Hungarian rule which lasted from 1814 to 1918.
During World War I, there was general stagnation of the entire economic and social life in Metkovic. In the period between the two World Wars (1918-1939), Metkovic had mainly similar problems as in earlier times. The entire economic life was connected with the port, the tobacco station, well-organized trade, crafts, hotels, and restaurants, etc.
During World War II, Metkovic was devastated by bomb attacks since the port played a very important role in the war. The U.S. Air Force 460th's squadrons were the 760th, 761st, 762nd, and 763rd, the Group did not enter combat until March 1944. According to the group's unit history only two missions were flown in March 1944. On March 19th, 33 B-24s dropped 61 tons of 500 lb bombs at 13.03pm from 20,500 feet on the Metkovic Marshalling Yard in Yugoslavia. There was no opposition encountered on the mission and there were no losses. March 30th, 33 B-24s were dispatched to attack Mostar Airdrome in Yugoslavia, with Metkovic as a secondary target. The R.A.F. also bombed Metkovic. Nowadays, people of Metkovic enjoy freedom and democracy, but much needs yet to be done in order to create a better society, and better lives for everybody.
The Republic of Dubrovnik was known in the Middle Ages as the Republic of Raguza and it was well respected for its merchants, shipbuilders and sailors. Together with Venice they commanded the largest merchant fleets in the Mediterranean. Using the able diplomats and unsurpassed skills of its mariners and merchants Raguza managed to spread trade interests far away from the Mediterranean. In order to improve the spice trade a Raguzan colony of Sao Braz was established on the Malabar Coast in north Goa, India. The Church of Sao Braz was built in 1653. This coIony had at one time 12 000 residents. Saint Vlaho was (is) the Patron Saint of Raguza (Dubrovnik). It is of interest to note that Saint Vlaho is mentioned as Blaise or Blaze in English and Braz or Bras in Portuguese.
"During the absence of Venice the largest part of the oriental trade was taken over by Raguza, which in about 1530-1540 had a virtual monopoly of that trade. For a decade or two there existed a sharp competition between Raguza and Portugal, which was also carried on in Portugal's own East Indian empire. The Raguzan colony Sao Braz near Goa is one of the strangest and most interesting examples of the economic expansion of that little republic in the period of the commercial revolution."
St Jerome was born in Strido, Dalmatia, in 342A.D. He was a doctor of the church and one of the world's greatest Biblical Latin Scholars.
The Dalmatian Narentine pirates of Pagania (named after the river Narenta, today's Neretva) also operated from the Delta. The mid part of the Adriatic, remained a difficult and unprotected no-man's-land for Venetian ships. South of Istria, along the Dalmatia coast, Slavic invaders from the upper Balkans had seized control of the area where the Narenta [Neretva] River enters the Adriatic, as well as the islands such as Lesina, Curzola and Lagosta that lay in the river's delta and protected its mouth. From this stronghold the Pirates launched incessant raids on Venetian merchant ships that attempted to run their gauntlet and reach the Mediterranean. Sometimes the Pirates were joined by marauding vessels from former Roman cities of the upper Dalmatia coast, such as Zara and Spalato at other times they preyed on those other Dalmatians as well. After several unsuccessful, and sometimes disastrous, military attacks on the Dalmatian pirates from the late 9th to the mid-10th century, the Venetian merchants expediently arranged to simply pay the Dalmatians an annual tribute for safe passage of their Venetian ships. From the time of his election as Doge in 991, Doge Pietro II Orseolo wove a net of diplomacy through the Northern Adriatic and upper coast of Dalmatia as a foundation for the total extinction of the Dalmatian pirates and Venice's first major territorial expansion.
A fascinating history of which we are proud and part of.
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