Forget Pirates of the Caribbean, we have real pirates here in Croatia! Yes, that's right REAL PIRATES Arrrgghhhh!!
Before Disney gave us Captain Jack Sparrow, the seaside town of Omis along the Dalmatian coastline had their own squad of Buccaneers terrorising the seas.
So here's the thing about the Pirates...
At the peak of their power, Omis Pirates were one of the most powerful and fearsome pirates on the whole Mediterranean Sea. In the 12th and 13th century Omis was governed by the Dukes Kacic's, the leaders of the pirates of Omis.
The Omis Dukes from the Kacic family: Malduk, Toljen, Pribislav, Osor were the masters of the Adriatic Sea, so mighty that the towns of Dubrovnik and Kotor were forced to make treaties with them on non-attacking, and in the 13th century even the almighty Venice appeared as a party in the pact with the Omis pirates making a commitment to pay tribute to ensure free sailing and trade.
The pirates of Omis used to attack Pope's galleys and merchants of Venetia, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Split. On few occasions they even attacked the crusaders on their way to the Holy Land.
Omis Pirates ruled the Adriatic Sea for more then three centuries until in the year of 1420 the whole of Dalmatia, except Omis, fell under rule the of Venetian Republic, the most powerful naval force of those times.
Surrounded by the enemy and left completely alone, the Pirates of Omis managed to defend themselves for 24 years!!
In 1444, Omis fell into the hands of Venetia and that year marks the end of piracy on Adriatic Sea.
Omis Pirates were extraordinary sailors and shipbuilders, famous for their Sagittas (the Arrow), a special type of ship constructed for fast attack and even faster retrieval into the safety of the mouth of the Cetina River.
Due to its position and the bravery of its inhabitants, Omis was practically impregnable to all invaders. Even the Turks, who conquered all of the south-eastern Europe, and were stopped at the gates of Vienna, didn't manage to defeat Omis.
Now the cool thing about all this is that every year the township of Omis go full Pirate and re-enact one of the huge battles on the sea that occurred in the 13th century. It's very much for the kids, but it's pretty impressive to see the effort such a small town puts in to show off their proud history.
If you're lucky enough to catch the battle over the Summer, make sure you don the eye-patch, grab your sword and trusty parrot and get a good spot along the water to see the show as the town gets close to 10000 spectators for the event.
Koda Sail visits the beautiful port town of Omis on the Dalmatian Voyager tour. Book your place now and get your Pirate costume ready!! Arrgghhhh!