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Makarska (Italian: Macarsca; German: Macharscha) is a small town on the Adriatic coastline of Croatia, about 60 km (37.28 mi) southeast of Split and 140 km (86.99 mi) northwest of Dubrovnik. It has a population of 20000 residents . Administratively Makarska has the status of a town and it is part of the Split-Dalmatia county.
It is a tourist centre, located on a horseshoe shaped bay between the Biokovo mountains and the Adriatic Sea. The city is noted for its palm-fringed promenade, where fashionable cafes, bars and boutiques overlook the pretty harbour where many pleasure craft are moored. Adjacent to the beach are several large capacity hotels as well as a camping ground.
The center of Makarska is an old town with narrow stone-paved streets, a main church square where there is a flower and fruit market, and a Franciscan monastery that houses a sea shell collection featuring a giant clam shell.
Makarska is the center of the Makarska Riviera, a popular tourist destination under the Biokovo mountain. It stretches for 60 km (37.28 mi) between the towns of Brela and Gradac. In the summertime tens of thousands of tourists flock to the area from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as other countries.
Near present-day Makarska, there was a settlement as early as the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. It is thought that it was a point used by the Cretans on their way up to the Adriatic (the so-called "amber route"). However it was only one of the ports with links with the wider Mediterranean, as shown by a copper tablet with Cretan and Egyptian systems of measurement. A similar tablet was found in the Egyptian pyramids. In the Illyrian era this region was part of the broader alliance of tribes, led by the Ardaeans, founded in the third century BC in the Centina area (Omiš).
Although the Romans became rulers of the Adriatic by defeating the Ardaeans in 228, it took them two centuries to confirm their rule. The Romans sent their veteran soldiers to settle in Makarska.
After the division of the Empire in 395, this part of the Adriatic became part of the Eastern Roman Empire and many people fled to Muccurum from the new wave of invaders. The city appeares in the Tabula Peutingeriana as the port of Inaronia, but is mentioned as Muccurum, a larger settlement that grew up in the most inaccessible part of Biokovo mountain, probably at the very edge of the Roman civilisation. It appears on the acts of the Salonan Synod of 4 May 533 AD held in Salona (533), when also the town's diocese was created.
In 548, Muccurum was destroyed by the army of the Ostrogoth king Totila. The byzantine Emperor expelled the Eastern Goths (Ostrogoths). In the 7th century the region between the Cetina and Neretva was occupied by the Slavs, who established the Neretva Principality, with Mokro (Makarska) as its administrative centre. The doge of Venice Pietro I Candiano, whose Venetian fleet aimed to punish the piratesque activities of the city's vessels, was defeated here on September 18, 877 and had to pay tribute to the Neretvans for the free passage of its ships on the Adriatic.
The new inhabitants were skilful boatsmen both on the rivers and the sea and they became excellent mariners and fearless pirates. The Croats who moved into this part of the coast were called Arentani by the byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (10th century), and their state was called Pagania or Neretljanska: Moroko (once Muccurum), Verulja (Gornja Brela), Ostrok (Zaostrog), Slavinac (Lapčan near Gradac) and that they held these islands: Meleta (Mljet), Psara (Hvar), Bracis (Brač), Hoara (Sušac), Jis (Vis Island) and Lastovo. During the period of the Neretvan principality a port known as Makar developed on the coast.