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Stanko Piplović

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str. 175-204

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Meje is the name of a residential area in Split, situtated by the sea, at the foot of the Marjan hill, on the west side of the Split peninsula. The very first thought of Meje is the thought of picturesque small coves facing south, shielded against cold winds. In the early 20th century, this area was uninhabited: there were not any roads, but only fields in sight. The very first building appeared in 1914. That was the building of Split pension built in Dujmovica cove by Frane Šiler.
In the years following the First World War, the city went through a rapid expansion process due to the ever-increasing number of inhabitants. Since Meje had been for a long time known for its beatiful scenery, a very idea of living there became tempting. The traffic infrastructure soon improved in its close proximity: a road to Meje, that is at present known as Branimirova obala, was constructed by the west side of the city harbour. Several roads were also built in the forest on the Marjan hill.
In order to initiate the development of residential areas, the citizens of Split established a large number of citizens’ associations. So, in 1930, an association known as Meje Association was established, with Ivan Meštrović at the head. The most significant members of the
association were the Head of Steering Committee, Mandica Arambašin, Vice-President, Juraj Gattin, Secretary, Branko Radica, and architects Nikola Armanda and Ljubiša Mihajlović. Meje Association remained very active until the outbreak of the Second World War. Financially aided by institutions, such as the Littoral Banovina Authority, District Authority, Local District Authority and individual and legal persons, the Association initiated a large
number of construction works. Many land owners were more than ready to donate their land, since their assets started gaining value. Among prominent citizens who made their donations were Mayor Ivo Tartaglia, the Vice-Roy of Littoral Banovina, Josip Jablanović and the
Association President, Jakša Račić. Many engineers actively participated in the work of the Association.
Meje was devised to become an attractive residential area with recognisable characteristics: urban villas, hotels, recreational and sports grounds, and, rich vegetation. Therefore all the efforts were directed towards afforestation, beach nourishment and the construction of roads, that would lead all the way through the Meje area to the beaches, the Marjan Cape and the forest. Plots of land were bought for the purposes of the playground and art atelier constructions. Before the work on the development of the area could even start, it was necessary to ensure electricity, gas and water supply of the area. In 1931, the Master Development Plan for Meje Residential Area was developed by architects Milivoj Radovanović and Nikola Armanda.
In later years, the buildings of many siginificant institutions were built in Meje: Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (1933), the Meštrović Gallery (1939) and the Kaštelet (1941). At the junction of the west coast of the city harbour and Meje, there are the Jadranska Straža Maritime Museum, built in 1932, the Banovina Palace, built in 1940 and many marine sports facilities in Zvončac cove and Baluni Marina.
In those early years of the development of Meje, several attempts at building industrial facilities in the area were noticed, as follows: a clay quarry in Kašuni cove in 1923, a shipbuilding facility in Zvončac cove in 1936. Fortunately those plans were not realised, which saved
the entire area from degradation. In the period of twenty years, Meje entirely changed its appearance: a desolate area of fields was trasformed into an attractive residential and recreational area of the city. The intensive development of Meje continued after the Second World War.

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