History – inhabited since Neolithic; the Hvar Culture lasted from 3500 to 2500 BC; in the area of today’s city of Hvar the earliest known settlement is found at 1st millennium BC; the ancient Greeks founded the colony of Pharos in 4th century BC on the site of today’s Stari Grad, making it one of the oldest towns in Europe; also from the 4th century BC (because it remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Greeks) The Stari Grad Plain is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site; the inscription recording the victory of the inhabitants of Pharos (4th century BC) is one of the oldest known inscriptions in Croatia; in 15th century (within Venetian state) city of Hvar is the main military and naval station on the Adriatic and an important transit centre; tourism started early assumably from Roman times (found villae rusticate, economic buildings and summer cottages), but organized tourism started in 1868 by “Hvar’s Health Society” with the aim of promoting provision for tourists in the town on an organized and professional basis.
Interesting to see: Hvar’s theatre (founded in 1612) is one of the first municipal theatres in Europe (interior from the 19th century); Hvar’s cathedral with Bishop’s palace; Franciscan monastery (Hvar, 15th century); monastery of St. Augustin and the church of St.Jure (Sucuraj, 13th-16th century); Venetian fortress Fortica (Sucuraj, 17th century); church of St. Peter (Vrboska; 14th century); church of St. Lovrinac (Vrboska; 15th century); church of St. Roko (Vrboska; 16th century); church (fortress) of St. Mary of Grace (Vrboska; 16th century; the most beautiful fortress in Croatia, but also one of the most attractive churches in Europe of that time).
Info – considered to be one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world; fresh water springs (without surface water streams); the annul average of sunny hours is 2726; 11 459 residents; highest peak St. Nicholas, 628 m; coastline length of 254.2 km; beaches are rocky, but there are small bays with sandy beaches; olive trees (tradition from BC); winegrowing tradition dates back to the times of Illyrians (found traces from 8th century BC; now among the best island wines of Croatia; wine of exceptional quality comes from area of Ivan Dolac); the island of Hvar has three fish canneries (Sucuraj, Vrboska and Hvar); the bays Perna and Mlaska are unique rarities on the Adriatic Sea (because of the fine sand on bottom of the sea, which cannot be found anywhere around); Sveta Nedilja is a very popular free-climbing destination; in 19th century production of lavender and rosemary went for the French perfume industry; one of the most famous folk products on the island is “Queen’s wash” (pure distillation of rosemary oil; recommended by travel writers from the 19th century for gargling the throat and against scurvy; massive production of rosemary began at 17th century); in 1975 Sucuraj got the status of a cultural monument.
Happenings: Hvar Summer Festival (June – October; performances, exhibits, concerts); open cinema in Venerada; an international tennis tournament for women (held in April in several towns on the Croatian coast under the name “The pearls of Adriatic”); “Following the Cross” (Procession during The Holy Week; the first record of the Procession was in 1658); Zdenko Roić Memorial (an international New Years regatta; held for thirty years).
Where to go out: numerous bars and hotel terraces with music; discos; evenings of klapa songs (a cappella singing); “Nights of the fishermen” (folk feast).
Inevitable to see: Grapceva cave (cradle of Hvar’s culture and civilization; the cave is one of the prehistoric findings dating back to the Neolithic Period, 5000 – 4000 years BC, and one of the oldest discoveries in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean); Perivoj (Jelsa’s Public Garden) one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Dalmatia (created in 1870); special attraction – donkey riding; fishermen’s museum (Vrboska).
Inevitable to taste: olive-oil (tradition from BC); wines (tradition from 8th century BC; now wines are among the best island wines of Croatia; Ivan Dolac, Bogdanuša, Pošip, Faros…); brandy; Hvar’s cakes (pepper cakes from Stari Grad; essential component saffron was a very important product of the island in the 16th century, together with honey and coriander); honey (rosemary, sage, lavender).
Good to know: the Greek writer Athenaios wrote (twenty two centuries ago) about the high quality wine produced on the Dalmatian island of Vis, Hvar and Korcula; benefits of Hvar’s climate (Hvar offers a number of advantages, which almost can not be found anywhere else in the world!); the first written documents about Sucuraj are from the 14th century, while the ancient Sucuraj is mentioned in the famous epic ‘Iliadie’ (written by Homer), in which Sucuraj is named Kila situated on the east of island Leke (island Hvar; according to the Greek mythology this is where Agamemnon, the Achaia king of Mikena “cast a damnation unto his opponents”); Stari Grad (Pharos) is the oldest town in Croatia (In 384 BC Greeks from the island of Paros in Agean Sea have settled the town on the island of Hvar, and named it Pharos); in 1510 (on February 6th) a miracle happened in Hvar, a small wooden cross bled; in the 16th and the 17th centuries Hvar was a prominent centre of the Croatian literature (Petar Hektorovic, Hanibal Lucic); the wine industry was nearly destroyed by phyloxera in the latter half of the 19th century; lavender first reached Hvar in the 1920s; in 2010 magazine “Travel & Leisure” on its web page (travelandleisure.com) issued a list of “The Best 10 Islands in the World” (decided by the tourist votes), and Island Hvar took the 5th place!