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Trao

TRAO (Serbo-Croatian Trogir; Lat. Tragurium), a seaport of Dalmatia, Austria. Pop. (1900) of town and commune, 17,064. Trau is situated 16 m. W. of Spalato by road, on an islet in the Trau channel, and is connected with the mainland and the adjoining island of Bua by two bridges. The city walls are intact on the north, where a 15th-century fort, the Castel Camerlengo, overlooks the sea. Above the main gateway the lion of St Mark is carved, and the general aspect of Trau is Venetian. Its streets, which are too narrow for wheeled traffic, contain many interesting churches and medieval houses, including the birthplace of the historian Giovanni Lucio (Lucius of Trau), author of Deregno Dalmaliae et Croatiae (Amsterdam, 1666). The loggia, built by the Venetians, is a fine specimen of a 16th-century court of justice; and the cathedral is a basilica of rare beauty, founded in 1200 and completed about 1450. It was thus mainly built during the period of Hungarian supremacy; and, in consequence, its architecture shows clear signs of German influence. Among the treasures preserved in the sacristy are several interesting examples of ancient jewellers' work. Trau has some trade in wine and fruit. It is a steamship station, with an indifferent harbour.

Tragurium was probably colonized about 380 B.C. by Syracusan Greeks from Lissa, and its name is sometimes derived from Troghilon a place near Syracuse. Constantine Porphyrogenitus writing in the 10th century, regards it as a corruption of ayyvpiov, water melon, from a fancied similarity in shape. He states that Trau was one of the few Dalmatian cities which preserved its Roman character. In 998 it submitted to Venice; but in 1105 it acknowledged the supremacy of Hungary, while retaining its municipal freedom, and receiving, in 1108, a charter which is quoted by Lucio. After being plundered by the Saracens in 1123, it was ruled for brief periods by Byzantium, Hungary and Venice. In 1242 the Tatars pursued King Bela IV. of Hungary to Trau, but were unable to storm the island city. After 1420, when the sovereignty of Venice was finally established, Trau played no conspicuous part in Dalmatian history.

See T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero, and Istria (Oxford, 1887); E. A. Freeman, Sketches from the Subject and Neighbour Lands of Venice (London, 1881); and G. Lucio, Memorie istoriche di Tragurio, ora delta Trail (Venice, 1673).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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