Ivan Vukas is an educated engineer, a profession which is largely sought in modern world. One would think such person has a large villa in the middle of grandiose city; however this is not the case. You see, Ivan has an entire settlement just for himself. An isolated and secluded settlement with no population, to be more precise. And as you are about to read, living in an abandoned Dalmatian village is not that bad.
The settlement is called Ljuta, and can be found in mountainous region of Dalmatia called Zagora. Only a couple of decades ago, it was full of life, as families had up to six children each. Yet harsh life and better income opportunities completely desolated this area as people moved to more prominent sites. They all moved, but Vukas family.
“I know that villages are dying, but we really love it here,” Ivan explains, reflecting on the times which passed. “I didn’t work a lot in my profession, but was always fascinated with learning. I encourage my children to learn as well. That’s why they recently finished their high school education in mathematics at Split gymnasium.”
“We make our own food. From meat to dairy products, everything is made by our own hands. I make juices and jams, and our orchard provides us with fruits and nuts,” says Ivan’s wife Blazenka. The family lives a wonderful rural life, and seclusion doesn’t seem to harm their friendly nature and sense of humor. They often name their cattle with names of Croatia’s politicians and celebrities, so their mare is called Severina, while the cow was named after the state’s recently elected female president Kolinda. ”Heavens forbid that somebody takes that as an insult,” Ivan explains the selection of names with a smile. “What is a sardine to the coastline, the cattle is to the village- a feeder of the family.”
The family is never lonely either. If they wish for some company, they can always visit the neighboring SInj, Trilj and Split. In the summer, swimming becomes an option near Omis and the lake of Busko Blato. What can one add? Maybe living in an abandoned Dalmatian village might become the fashion both for Croats and their visitors.