Returning to the Peristyle and heading west along the ancient decumanus, now Kregirnirova – a shop-lined alley which, despite its narrowness, is the old town's main thoroughfare – takes you out through the Iron Gate (Željezna vrata) into Narodni trg ("People's Square", usually known as "Pjaca", the local version of the Italian word piazza). This replaced the Peristyle as the city's main square in the fourteenth century, and is overlooked to the east by a Romanesque clock tower with the remains of a medieval sundial, behind which looms a taller, older belfry.The north side of the square is dominated by the fifteenth-century Town Hall (Gradska vijecnica), with a ground-floor loggia of three large pointed arches supported by stumpy pillars – it's now home to an ethnographic museum, currently closed for refurbishment.
West of the square lie the bustling narrow streets and passages of the medieval town. To the south, Maruličeva leads down towards Mihovilova "siring, a small square whose cafe-bars get packed on warm summer evenings, and the adjoining Trg brace Radiča, more popularly known as Voćni trg (Fruit Square) because of the market that used to be held here.There's a large statue of Marko Marulić, supplied by the industrious Meštrović, in the middle, and an octagonal tower that once formed part of the fifteenth-century Venetian castle, or kaštel – most of which has now either disappeared or been incorporated into residential buildings. A passageway to the left of the tower brings you back out onto the Riva.
Amble west along the Riva to reach the foot of Marmontova – the pedes-trianized thoroughfare which marks the western boundary of the medieval town. Near the southern end of Marmontova is Trg republike, an elongated square set back from the water and surrounded on three sides by the grandiose neo-Renaissance city council buildings known as the Prokurative - it's put to good use as a venue for outdoor concerts in summer. From here, Marmontova heads north, passing the animated fish market on Kraj svete Marije - the scene of shopping frenzy most mornings, especially Fridays - and a few remaining bastions of the star-shaped seventeenth-century fortifications which once surrounded the town, before arriving at Trg Gaje Bulata. This broad open space is overlooked by the Croatian National Theatre (Hrvatsko narodno kazalifte, or HNK), a plain brown construction much rebuilt after a fire in 1971 and unadorned save for a group of statues on the third floor representing the arts.
On the northern side of the square, the church of the Franciscan monastery (Franjevački samostan) is worth a peek for the large fresco behind the high altar, a flamboyantly expressionistic work by contemporary religious artist Ivan Dulčić. A central figure of Jesus hovers above the Adriatic coastline, offering salvation to the matchstick forms below, most of which are dressed in colourful Dalmatian costumes. On his left are Cyril and Methodius, inventors of Glagolitic, the script used by the medieval Croatian church, while floating in the sky are a bull, lion and eagle - symbolizing SS Luke, Mark and John the Evangelist respectively.
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