Dragons above Makarska Riviera
Updated: Apr 14
There are so many interesting, but scary, mythological stories about Makarska Riviera no one told you about, and we're here to break the ice. Although the first to break the ice were brave inhabitants of Biokovo who dealt with different scary stories and myths, but also real events. For centuries, this magnificent giant mountain was a kind of deity for its inhabitants in countless ways. Not only that it was agricultural land and a cattle farm, but also a safe haven. Its deep pits, numbering dozens, back in days were human's homes and workplaces. Some of those pits, explored years later, tell their stories that were passed down from generation to generation.
Put aside the tribes which later formed the hamlets and villages here, Biokovo mountain was, according to the stories, also a dragons' runway. Rising high above the sea, Biokovo seemed to be a perfect viewpoint for those mythological creatures who, because of the ideal location of the mountain, sometimes did not even have to fly for the territory control. They had the whole Makarska Riviera, inland and the islands at the palm of their hand.
Legend says that dragons' echoes can still be heard, if you listen carefully.
The legend of Saint George and the Dragon speaks of Saint George (died in 303) taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices; the saint thereby rescued the princess chosen to be the dragon's next offering. The narrative was first set in Cappadocia (today Turkey) in the earliest sources of the 11th and 12th centuries, but the story somehow ended up here, at the top of the Biokovo mountain. It's not entirely clear how the Makarska Riviera's highest peak was named after St George, but some of the old stories say this event really took place on the Biokovo mountain. Biokovo, especially the marginal parts of it, was inhabited in prehistoric times, long before the writing appeared.
Here's one interesting "sports - mythical" link. Most sports clubs in Croatia have traditional names, names that have been around for years, describing national heroes, movements or location specifies, but Makarska's football club Zmaj (meaning dragon) is a bit different. Hajduk Split, Dinamo Zagreb and Rijeka are the most popular football clubs in Croatia and some of the significant athletes from those clubs, later became worldwide known, started their career in Makarska, at the foot of Biokovo, wearing a fire-red jerseys and representing "the dragons" from Makarska.
Makarska's the most recognizable "dragon" is Alen Boksic, a former Croatian footballer whose skills are still celebrated in Italy's Serie A.
Regarded to as one of the greatest players in the history of the Croatia national football team, Alen Boksic moved from Makarska to Hajduk Split as a young player and was introduced into the first team (1987–91). What happened afterwards is a story for a documentary series.
When we speak about Makarska's "dragons", it is important to mention Gajo Raffanelli, one the best midfield players of the 1930's in Dalmatia, but celebrated for his courage and determination for opposing the efforts of the Italian fascists to change the name of the Hajduk into FC Spalato. In 1940., Ratko Kacijan and Raffanelli become the first Hajduk's players who ever played for the Croatian national team.
Another dragon from Makarska, who also built his career in Hajduk is Mario Carevic, currently the assistant manager of Croatia's U20 team.
Considering the mountain's landscape being a perfect setup for a dragons' layer, it is no wonder that it was also chosen as a set for movie filming.
Game of Thrones, HBO's fantastic drama series, created as an adaptation of "A Song of Ice and Fire", George RR Martin’s series of fantasy novels, popularized the stories of dragons and of Croatia making them known around the world. The series follows the exciting action and constant twists in the life of seven kingdoms. Excellent production series has reached unprecedented popularity. What makes us proud is that the television series are largely associated with Croatia. It is no surprise, considering the amount of historical sights and mythological stories that Croatia is full of. While fortress in Dubrovnik doubles as King's Landing, Makarska Riviera's city of Baška Voda was chosen for a filming location of another interesting scene.
On the slopes of mountain Biokovo they filmed the key scenes. One of them is a scene in which the Emilia Clarke's character Khaleesi comes to town Meereen. Another one is where Daenerys' dragon Drogon drops a sheep in front of her for the first time. Local residents rented out their animals that were needed for the scenes, and more than few extras were from Makarska Riviera.
When you look at a map to find Croatia, you'll notice it's sort of shaped like a dragon. Since Daenerys owns three of them it is not surprising that most of the scenes were shot right here. We are proud of the beauty of our country, and always glad that other people (even if it's just through the television series) have the opportunity to experience the beauty of Croatia.
Other places in Croatia used as filming locations, aside from Dubrovnik and Baška Voda are Split, Šibenik, Klis, Kaštela and Trogir. It's a 2 hour drive from Makarska to Dubrovnik and if you decide to go there, book yourself this interesting Game Of Thrones tour, provided by King's Landing Dubrovnik tour agency. Tap here for more info. Game of Thrones Tour in Split is another well organized tour you should check out if the road takes you on the other side to the Diocletian's ancient city of Split. Choose your favorite social network and check out their social pages. GOT Split Facebook, GOT Split Pinterest and GOT Split Trip Advisor.
For more interesting sights, selfie spots and other, All in Makarska Riviera mobile guide can help! It's totally free and really helpful, make sure to equip your smartphone with this app before you hit the road. Also, this app will show you other great bars and restaurants, but also beaches and historical places in the Makarska Riviera and more! Android users should tap here, and iOS loyal users should use this link.
If you want to save your money on accommodation, don't miss our accommodation section. For gastronomic experiences, there's our food guide. It would be a shame not to visit the most important top sights and activities you can enjoy while staying in the Makarska Riviera, so make sure to check those underlined links.
Respect the copyright and be aware that the screenshots of scenes from the Game Of Thrones series, posted above are the property of HBO. Other photos and a drone video are our work.