Ancient Tree in an Ancient Town

img_2719smallx225On a recent European teaching trip we stopped to visit the town of Groznian on the Istria Peninsula in Croatia. Like so many things in this country, both the tree and the town have a long history.

A vendor near the tree identified it as a Mediterranean hackberry or European nettle tree, (Celtis australis). It stood prominently near the edge of the walled city. We were enthralled by its warty bark and hollow center. Indeed, it seemed to be a testament to perseverance, not unlike the town it had been planted in!

The first mention of the town in any written history was 1102. Being from North America where 400 year-year-old buildings are a rarity,
Groznjan awed us with its stone streets, walls, and arches. Today it is being revitalized as a meeting place for young musicians. Perhaps the tree will live to see the city thrive again as a cultural center of this area.

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