Today is a special day for Split-Dalmatia County! The first Roman thematic road section in the area of Kurtovići-Klapavice was officially opened at ten thirty in the morning, which initialized the revitalization of this very part of the rich history of Central Dalmatia. The opening ceremony was attended by numerous prominent tourism professionals, travel agencies and media. At the beginning we were all welcomed by Joško Stella, manager of the county’s tourist board. The road passes through the area of Dugopolje and Klis, and both their tourist boards, with the support of the Tourist board of Split – Dalmatia County. The visitors were also greeted by the mayor of Municipality of Dugopolje, Stanko Balić, director of the Tourist Board of Klis, Slavica Caktaš, and manager of the Tourist Board of Dugopolje, Tomislav Balić. The project leader, Lino Ursić, and archaeologist Miroslav Gogala led us through thematic path and invited all of us to join the revealing of gorgeous veils of centuries and talked about how things were in the Province of Dalmatia as far back as the ninth year after Christ!
By visiting this road section, tourists will be able to learn everything about the past and ancient times when the Roman Empire ruled this small but important corner of the world.
With the collapse of the Pannonian-Delmata rebellion in the year 9 AD (bellum Batonianum), the construction of the road network in the Province of Dalmatia was imposed to the Roman Empire as a primary military and security task.
The starting point of this major infrastructure project was Salona, administrative and political center of the province. These were, after all, the first vehicle roads in this area. In less than seven years (14 – 20 AD), agile governor (Legatus Augusti pro praetore) of Roman Dalmatia – Publius Cornelius Dolabella, built five roads through the interior of the province with a total length of more than 550 Roman miles (more than 820 km).
The remains of the ancient communication road found in the region of Kurtovići-Klapavice, (the area of municipalities Klis and Dugopolje), correspond to the basic direction of Roman roads that were leaving Salona over the Klis saddle (Klis – Grlo), stretched along the Dugopolje plateau, and parted in two directions near the hamlet of Kapela. A single highway route continued northwards and to the veteran colony Aequum (Čitluk near Sinj), while the second was directed to the north-east towards the Roman military camp Tilurium (Gardun), that is, the Pons Tiluri (Trilj) crossing on the Cetina River.
The road is nowadays preserved in a length of approximately 1.5 Roman miles (2 km), while its width (originally from 4 to 6m) varies according to the building interventions in this area during the following centuries. This transport route was in use as the vehicle road probably until 7th century and the Great Migration that overwhelmed the former space of Roman Dalmatia.
The ancient main road direction Kurtovići – Klapavice is a first of series of implementations of the archeological tourism project Roman road communications of Central Dalmatia. The project bearer is the Tourist Board of Split – Dalmatia County, while municipalities of Klis and Dugopolje are project partners. Cleaning of the terrain, archaeological supervision and rescue excavations at the monitored site were performed in the period from August to November 2014, followed by further archaeological research in order to collect as much data on this road section.
We warmly welcome this initiative of Split-Dalmatia County, and we strongly believe that this is just the beginning of capital projects in the revival and evaluation of the glorious past of Central Dalmatia and another sumptuous contribution to its rich tourist offer.