Thursday, September 3, 2015

Leaving for the Land Where "Games of Thrones" & "Doctor Who" Film: aka, Croatia

I leave tomorrow for an end-of-summer,  Labor Day weekend vacation. Destination: Croatia. Trogir, to be exact. The entire island is an UNESCO heritage site.

Why write new, when you can just quote Wiki:

Trogir has 2300 years of continuous urban tradition. Its culture was created under the influence of the ancient Greeks, and then the Romans, and Venetians. Trogir has a high concentration of palaces, churches, and towers, as well as a fortress on a small island, and in 1997 was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. "The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period", says the UNESCO report.
Trogir is the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex not only in the Adriatic, but in all of Central Europe. Trogir's medieval core, surrounded by walls, comprises a preserved castle and tower and a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Trogir's grandest building is the church of St. Lawrence, whose main west portal is a masterpiece byRadovan, and the most significant work of the Romanesque-Gothic style in Croatia.

Pretty amazing, yes?
I am drawn there by the prospect of a Renaissance Polyphony workshop, lead by the extraordinary Patrick Craig.  The music and theme of the week he has chosen: "Hope Amidst Turmoil in Tudor England," with brilliant compositions by the usual suspects: Tye; Sheppard; Taverner; Morely; Weelkes; Tompkins; and my favorite: Byrd. Whom we Catholics claim as our own, though scholarship has placed him on various sides of the Reformation divide through the years.

After a week of rehearsal, we will give a free concert of this extraordinary music in the famous St. Lawrence Cathedral. Anyone in the neighborhood, please come by.

And as fate would have it: that concert is on 9/11. This is the first 9/11, I will not be home. And so for that day, I again offer my own witness.

If I have to be anywhere other than NYC on this most New York City of all days, giving a free concert in an Eastern European city that has known great strife and sadness itself seems like a good place to be.
And now for the pop cultural conundrum: Game of Thrones films in Split (nearby to Trogir), and there is a now a tour: "Get a behind-the-scenes look at the hit HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ on this 3.5-hour tour of the show’s filming locations in Split. Hear insider gossip about the series, see where Daenerys Targaryen plotted her return to power, and creep around the cellars where the slaves conspired with the Unsullied Army to overthrow the masters."

Now, I don't watch Game of Thrones. But, it's unlikely I'll ever be back in the region. So, do I find time to take that tour? More importantly, I'm hoping to stumble on some of the streets from Doctor Who: Vincent and the Doctor in Trogir. 
Doctor Who: Vincent and the Doctor, recreating Van Gogh paintings in Trogir

Please follow me @mapeel on Twitter for dispatches during the week.