Omis, the town of contrasts, both - natural and historical. It was founded and grown on the steep slopes of Omis Dinara mountain, surrounded by the Cetina River in the north-west, and the sea in the south and south-east. It has grown as suburbia (burgum, suburbiam) of Omis castle (castrum) built high above, on the hill. Due to permanent threats from the land, as well as from the sea, the existing castle “Starigrad” (Fortica), with military crew in it, and supporting tower “Visec” in Cetina River canyon, were not enough for town defence, so, already in Middle Ages, Omis was encircled by walls, fortified with strongholds on the eastern land side, and fortress “Peovica” (Mirabella) on the north-western side. Only when it was surrounded and fortified by walls it became “town”, but not in the true sense of the word, as for that it should have been Bishop residence, and that never happened. Medieval town was named Olmissium, Almyssium, and later, under Venetian’s rule Almissa.
Economic prosperity of Omis was significantly referred to piracy. As excellent seamen, Omis citizens, during 13th - beginning of 15th century, “supervised” navigation on the Adriatic Sea, endangering, generally, Venetian ships and their property in Dalmatia, as well as ships of Naples Kingdom. They were “taking charges” for free navigation. Omis pirates were extremely dangerous, especially under rule of powerful Omis rulers - dukes Kacic. In that time, Omis was known as dangerous nest of the pirates, as they were Saracens on Mediterranean Sea or Tatars on Black Sea. As they were attacking Crusaders too, pope Honorius III undertook crusade against Omis’ pirates in year 1221, which Omis won, while the second war, in year 1228, they lost, what was, at the same time, the end of dukes Kacic. After them Omis was under rule of famous and powerful Subic family, then Horvat brothers, under supreme rule of Bosnian king Tvrtko I, Bosnian ruler Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic, duke Ivanis Nelipic and Stjepan Kosaca. In 1409 Ladislav Napuljski sold Dalmatia to Venice, and Omis finally conquered in 1444. With the fall of Venetian Republic Omis had entered in the structure of Austria, after which, according to peace agreement between French and Austrians signed in Požun in 1805, it was under French rule until 1813, when it entered in the Austria structure once again, but only until the beginning of I World War.Stone parts found in settlement Baucici and preserved in City Museum are evidence of significant role of Omis in Antiquity period. These findings are Roman writings, dating from 33. B.C. and 51. B.C., the marble portrait of Emperor Tiberius, part of antique sacrificial altar dedicated to Augusts, Roman graves, steles, sarcophaguses. The walls that protected the town are ruined in 19th century. The ruins of former walls are visible today. The Eastern tower “Turjun” marked later with family Cicogne coat of arms is well preserved. The western door is ruined in 1862 together with walls. It gives proof that once there was a square encircled with stone houses and wall, and in the square centre there was a pillory. The fortresses Mirabella and Fortica, which are well preserved until now-days, bear witness to the pirate history of the town. It is possible to see the whole town of Omis from Mirabella, and from Fortica you can see islands of Brac, Hvar, Šolta, as well as Middle Poljica and the mouth of Cetina River.There are 8 churches in Omis: church of Sv.Mihovil (St. Michael), Sv.Duh (Holy Ghost), Sv.Rok (St. Rock), Sv.Petar (St. Peter), Sv.Luka (St. Luca church), St.Mary church and Franciscan Monastery with church of Gospe od Karmela (Our Lady of Carmel), church of Sv.Stjepana (St. Stephan’s) and remains of Sv.Ivan church (St. John’s) in Borak. The church of Sv.Mihovil (St. Michael), as parish and the main church replaced the medieval church which was too small for citizens of Omis, so they had decided, in year 1604, to renew the old one and to built the new, aisled, more spacious church with presbytery. The church was built in 17th century, but the exact date of its construction is impossible to determine. It was partly ruined in earthquake happened to Dubrovnik in 1667, but it is reconstructed already in 18th century. The construction of belfry, which is raising above the rock behind the main parish church, had started in 1720, and was completed in 1724.Parish church of Sv.Mihovil (St.Michael) is the most important architectural heritage from that period. It is a combination of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, while portal, as one of the most interesting art achievements in Dalmatia in that time is an expression of folk mannerism.Among the plenty of artistically shaped and valuable objects, the most valuable and the most famous are four altar pale: Descent of the Holy Ghost, Sv. Stjepan Prvomucenik (St. Stephan), Our Lady of Ružarje and Our Lady with Child, Sv. Juraj (St.George) and Sv. Jelena (St. Helena). of them were made and brought to Omis during the construction and decoration of the church. They were made by Venetian artist Palmo junior’s group. The Crucifix on the altar of St. Cross, made by sculptor Juraj Petrovic, as well as altars of Our Lady and Sv.Mihovil (St. Michael), made by sculptor Ivan Rendic should be added too. Church of St. Peter was first mentioned in year 1074. It was built in pre-Romanesque style and made of stone. The important place in history also takes Poljica Principality, which bordered on Omis by Cetina River, and was spreading over 250 km2 and covering 12 villages (katuni). Considering its natural determination by mountain Mosor, it was divided into: Upper, Middle and Lower Poljica. It was the symbol of folk, peasant democracy. It was legalized by Statute of Poljica, dated in 15th century, as one of the first Croatian historical documents written in “bosancica” (archaic Bosnian script).
In 15th century they accepted Venetian’s supreme rule, but at the same time, kept their autonomy. They paid taxes to Venice, and often had fights with Turks to whom they got to pay taxes occasionally. There is a famous legend about Poljica’s heroine Mila Gojsalic, who, with help of Poljica people, managed to defeat Turks. She was perpetuated by many Croatian artists, among them is famous Ivan Meštrovic, whose sculpture decorates the position in Poljica with unforgettable view over town of Omis.