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Island Korčula

Airport and transport – ferry (from Vela Luka) to Split (around 90 km); ferry (from town Korčula) to peninsula Pelješac (around 2 km), Drvenik (around 25 km), Dubrovnik (around 130 km) and Bari (Italy); airports in Split and Dubrovnik.

History – inhabited from upper Paleolithic (archaeological findings from Vela Spila (Big Cave)); according to a legend, the island was founded by Trojan hero Antenor in the 12th century BC (also famed as the founder of the city of Padua (Italy)); the second known inhabitants were Illyrians (it is believed that they arrived approximately in 1000 BC); in the 6th century BC, Greek colonists from Corcyra (Corfu) formed a small colony on the island (living, for centuries, parallel and separate from Illyrians, who were pirates); in 4th-3rd century BC, Greeks from the island of Issa (now Vis) established a settlement (area of Lumbarda) and made lapidary document “Psephisma” (the oldest document about the division of land parcels and organization of community in Croatia); the Romans came (for the first time) to the island in 229 BC; town Korčula is alleged birthplace of Marco Polo (13th century; the first world traveler and writer); the Statute of Korčula (Town Statute from 1214) is the second oldest example of legislation among Slavs, it also prohibited (making the town of Korčula the first place in the world to outlaw the practice).slavery

Interesting to see: in town Korčula: church of St. Peter (11th century); Two towers: Prince’s Small Palace (12th-15th centuries) and Prince’s Big Palace (15th century); alleged family house of the traveler Marko Polo (13th century); the Tower of Sea Door (13th-15th century); Cathedral of St Mark (built from 1301 to 1806); Bishop’s Palace (14th century); Franciscan monastery (15th century; with a beautiful Venetian Gothic cloister); church of St. Barbara (15th century; which is an Orthodox church from 1928); Prison Tower (15th century); church of St. Anthony and a hermit’s dwelling (15th century); the oldest town cistern of drinkable water “Trepoca” (15th century); towers Barbarigo and Kerjan (15th century); church of Our Lady (15th century); square next to the church of Our Lady (16th century); grand 15th and 16th century palaces of the local merchant nobles; palace Ismaelis (16th century; with beautiful courtyard); Loggia (16th century; for centuries the only building outside the town walls; serve as a police and customs control station and after the travelers waiting room); Arsenal (16th century); two obelisks (16th-17th century); church of St. Justin (19th century); “Forteca” (the English tower Fort Wellington; 19th century; built on the place of the Venetian fortification from 17th century);

In place Blato – church of All Saints (14th century; reconstructed in its present form in 17th century);

In town Vela Luka: Romanic church of St. Kuzma i Damjana (around 12th century); church of St. Ivan (15th century); church of St. John on Gradini (15th century; on ruins of Ilirian fortress); church of St. Jure (15th century); church of St. Vicenzo (16th century); church of St. Peter (17th century); church of St. Joseph (19th century); church Lady of Health in Badu (19th century); Forteca (an Austro-Hungarian fortress; 19th century); church of St. Rok (20th century); church Lady of Mercy (20th century).

Info – one of the most forested Adriatic islands (61% of its surface is covered with woods and macchia thickets); climatic and geographic conditions have enabled the growing of high-quality vines (tradition from 3rd century BC; the Greek writer Athenaios wrote, twenty two centuries ago, about the high quality wine produced on the Dalmatian island of Vis, Hvar and Korcula); highest peak Klupca, 568 m; inhabitants 16 182; coastline 190.73 km; island has a very old Stonemasonry history (peak during the rule of the Venetian Republic (1420-1797)) and strong art tradition.

Happenings: numerous cultural events (the famous knightly pageants); a staged reconstruction of the historic battle involving Marko Polo (in front of the walls of Korčula); Klapa’s songs (cappella style of singing).

Where to go out: numerous quality restaurants and bars (giving concerts of popular domestic and foreign singers and bands), disco.

Inevitable to see: the Moreska dance (unbroken tradition from 16th century; this is not authentic local folklore, but was introduced from other Mediterranean countries and symbolizes a battle between Christians and Moslems; it is one of the oldest traditional European dances (records exist from 1156) still performed and Korcula is the only island where it is still danced with real swords); Kumpanija (old knightly ritual dance with long swords); Mostra (old battle dance with swords accompanied by misnice and a drum); in town Korčula: The Town Museum (in palace Gabrielis from 16 century); Gallery (in palace Arneri).

Inevitable to taste: olive oil (long tradition); wine (a specific quality and aroma; tradition from 3rd century BC; from Lumbarda: Grk, Plavac Mali and Prošek (desert wine); from the central region of the island: Pošip and Rukatac); lamb, kid and mutton; prosciutto; local cheese; sweets like: prikle (doughnuts with raisins and almonds fried in oil); cukarini, klasuni (cakes filled with almonds), krokant (ground almonds in browned sugar), hrostule (doughnuts fried in hot oil), kotonjata (quince jelly), etc.

Good to know: there is a legend (recorded almost two thousand years ago) that the town of Korcula was founded in 12th century BC by Antenor (a Trojan warrior who is also famed as the founder of the city of Padua (Italy)) who fled to Korcula after the fall of Troy (the 16th century stone plaque (at the Western entrance to the town) mentions Antenor as the founder of Korcula; this legend is also described by the writer Dihtys (in his work about the Trojan Wars) which he based on the Greek original from the 1st century, which says that Trojan fugitives founded the town, led by Antenor); the stone town of Korcula was also incorporated into old Greek mythology (according to Apolonio from Rhodos), Poseidon ordered Ezop’s daughter Kerkyra, to settle here, and when the Argonauts were passing by Korcula and saw dense wood cover, they called the island Melaina Korkyra (Black Corfu); Korculans are proud of the real possibility that Marko Polo was born a Korculan (the first world traveler and writer; one old Venetian manuscript also points out that, together with Antenor, a certain Lucius Polus, arrived on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, as an ancestor of the family Polo); this verse was written in the 17th century “You are the adornment of the world, enchanting Korcula…”; the city of Korčula is notable for its Town Statute dating back to 1214 which prohibited slavery (making Korčula the first place in the world to outlaw the practice).

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