Along the Croatian mountain massif of Biokovo and somewhere in the heart of the Dalmatian hinterland the town of Imotski has found its spot. Firstly, it was mentioned in the year 950 in the records of the Byzantine emperor and historian Porphyrogenet. Although a predominantly rural and native agricultural area, it is decorated with numerous natural and cultural sights, the most popular of which is the Topana fortress
Almost 713 years later, during the Candian War, a special tower with a cannon platform was built. Very necessary and useful for soldiers, known as topana in their professional terminology, it has kept its name until today. In addition, it is decorated with the title of the most beautiful natural stage when cultural events take place in this town on summer evenings.
The medieval Imota, rich and fruitful region was the residence of various rulers. For more than two hundred years, the Turks tried to jealously preserve it because it was in an important strategic position. The one who held Topana controlled the trade through the ports in central Dalmatia, and for Imota this meant development into the trade center. Later, after it was occupied by the Venetians, life would emerge over the ramparts of the Topana fortress and spread into the settlement, similar to today’s outlines.
Topana is a meeting place of history, heritage and rich cultural legacy. One valuable example of the Croatian cultural tresure, a well-known ballad about Hasanaginica, who was supposed to marry a caddy (a Muslim judge) from Imotski, found its scenario at one of the ridges above the Blue Lake, rounding off the story of historical conquests and turmoil in the area of Imotski.
Topana – an imposing, irregularly shaped building was raised high above the Blue Lake, a symbol of the Imotski region. Except it follows the gorge, some of the archaeological remains date back even earlier than it is known, and it is believed that Topana was built on the remains of a prehistoric and Illyrian fortress. Given that Topana was built in several levels for military purposes, it is additionally surrounded by stone ramparts and loopholes. The upper part of the fortress was used for housing, but also for numerous dungeons and water rooms. Next to the main entrance used to be the priest’s apartment, and about a hundred years later, the church of Our Lady of the Angels was built on that place. In addition to good architectural solutions, the fortress benefited from natural protection, which preserved it for all these years. Namely, a large part of the fortress is surrounded by an inaccessible part of the lake, and on the side of the entrance there is a large deep sinkhole, which today has been transformed into the football stadium Gospin dolac.
Today, Topana is an extremely valuable cultural heritage and an asset of the Imotski region. For all artistic souls and those who like to imagine, Topana is a place of inspiration and photo spot for wonderful photos that do not need beauty filters. Every traveler or intendant should include Topana in their trip, and from there take a wonderful promenade down to the main attraction – Blue Lake. It is best to come in the summertime, soak up the town bustle, stories and legends from Imotski stone and water, and listen to what the hosts have to say. Or as Petar Gudelj says in his work “My Imota”: „ If there is a drop of wormwood in you, a drop of blood from Imotski, you don’t need water or birds, compass or moss, that single drop will bring you back to Imota.“ Whether you have drop of Imotski blood or not, it is worth to come, see and admire the pride of the Croats that they inherited.