R. G. LANDA
Doctor of Historical Sciences
The Balkans are a part of the world where East and West, Asia and Europe not just converge, but mutually penetrate each other, forming extremely peculiar, complex, sometimes confusing combinations with not always clearly fixed boundaries and characteristics.
Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are and Christian republics, except for the latter.
But in their culture, architecture, language, and art features, you can feel the influence of the East, which remained after several centuries of being part of or in the sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire. Somewhere it lasted up to 400 years, as in Montenegro and Bosnia, somewhere, as in Croatia (and even then in the south), less than 300 years.
THE INTERWEAVING OF HISTORY AND MODERNITY
Today, if you come to the most famous city of the Dalmatian coast of Croatia - Dubrovnik (which, by the way, was never Ottoman, but only paid tribute to the Sultan), you can see the remains of a mosque on Pratsata Street, and during the annual celebration of St. Vlach's Day, considered the patron saint of the city since the X century, in multicolored folk costumes participants of the festival can be distinguished by red fezs, wide trousers, ornamental embroidery and colorful sashes clearly oriental style. And all this is not lost on the background of countless monuments and traces of the stay in Dubrovnik of Venetians and Austrians, who long competed with the Ottomans in the struggle for the Dalmatian coast.
This is quite natural. According to University of Zagreb Professor Nenad Moakanin, Dubrovnik was "a de facto independent Croatian maritime mini-power, which owed its commercial and cultural prosperity to its position as a privileged Ottoman vassal, especially in the sixteenth century, i.e., during its 'golden age'. This is an important statement, especially since Moakanin himself admits that the ethno-confessional and socio-cultural processes that began at the time he ment ... Read more