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Top 10 places to visit on Hvar Island

 

Petar Hektorović Castle, Stari Grad Town

Petar Hektorović’s Tvrdalj with a fish-pond and a dove-cot over it, is the most famous building in Stari Grad. This renaissance poet built it throughout his entire life and it had the same importance for him as his literary work. There he realized the idea of microcosms – a small, enclosed world where all divine creatures – fish, birds, herbs and people (himself, his friends, a holy woman, paupers and travelers) had a space to live. The Tvrdalj is also a stone book – Hektorović carved more than twenty stone inscriptions in both Latin and Italian (one, which is in Italian – is his own life motto: “Fede e realtà o quanto è bella!” - Oh how lovely faith and reality are) as well as inscriptions in the Croatian language.

 

Fortress – Fortica Španjola, Hvar town

If you walk from the square to the north, passing the main city gate or Porta di datallo (Gate of Dates) ascending the stairs through the old part of the city in which there are palaces built in the 15th and 16th centuries, through small bends that give out the aromas of Mediterranean plants, you will reach Hvar’s fort Fortica or how the locals call it Španjola.

It was built at the beginning of the 16th century (during the Venetian rule) and was reconstructed in 1579. Today the fort holds a collection of amphora and other exhibits from antiquity and the Middle Ages. Besides experiencing its exquisite architecture, you will experience an unforgettable panoramic view of the city of Hvar, its surroundings and the Pakleni islands.

 

The fortress church of St. Mary of Mercy,  Vrboska Town

The most imposing architectural site in the place, unique in the Adriatic region, is the church of St. Mary of Mercy. The fortress church was widened and fortified in 1575 following the Turkish attack under the guidance of the Turkish duke Uluč-Alija in 1571, who looted and burnt Vrboska as well as most of the island. Fort Kaštilac is from the same time period and it served as a guarding post. 

The fortress church was fortified at the expense of local people for their defence against the Turks. It is the most beautiful one in Croatia and among the most beautiful ones in Europe from that time period. The church housed some impressive Renaissance art, which has been temporarily placed in the parish church of St. Lovre.

 

Hvar’s theatre (and Arsenal), Hvar Town

Hvar's theatre is one of the first municipal theatres in Europe. It was founded in 1612. Erected on the ancient Arsenal (a space used for repairing of galleons, and a storage of various seafaring tools). The theatre’s exterior is mostly preserved in its original form. The interior architectonics is from the 19th century.

 

Stari Grad Plain – UNESCO HERITAGE, Stari Grad Town

The large plain occupies the island' s central area. Its name kept changing with the successive arrival of new masters. First known by the Greeks as Chora Pharu, it became Ager Pharensis in Roman times, to be replaced by the medieval name of Campus Sancti Stephani (the Plain of St.Stephen). It is now known as Stari Grad Plain. It has sustained the life on the island for thousands of years. The Plain is in fact a cultured landscape, formed by thousands of years of human labor. Its ancient man-made features originate from 24 centuries ago when Greek colonist divided the Plain into rectangular plots of 1x5 stadia, (ca. 180x900m), each fenced in with drywall. The Plain was crisscrossed with major roads cutting through it in regular longitudinal and transveal directions. Today we can identify the point in the Plain, located at a road intersection, from which the Greek surveyor began his measuring.

 

Hvar Benedictine convent, Hvar town

Benedictine Convent dares from 1664. That year two nuns of the order came to Hvar from the island of Pag with a task to begin the convent practice in this area. Since 1534 the Commune of Hvar, encouraged by some of its resident donators has pleaded for the establishment of a convent in this region. Along with spiritual character being its major task carried out for many centuries of its existence in this area, the convent has become world known due to agava lace. As tradition has it the skill of lace making has been passing on from generation to generation within the convent for 100-130 years. Agava Lace is inlisted on UNESCO representative list of intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

 

"Following the Cross" Procession during Holy Week, Jelsa Town

The first record of the Procession was made by Bishop Milania during his visitation back in 1658. According to his notes, the tradition of the Procession began even earlier, starting in the early morning hours of Good Friday or just after midnight. Today the Procession starts at 10 PM on Maundy Thursday, lasts 8 hours, covers a distance of 22 km and includes six parishes: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj and Vrboska.

The cross bearer is the head of the Procession. He is either barefoot or in socks and carries the Cross that is covered with a black veil. The cross bearer has his own helpers, followers and singers who sing "Lamentations of the Virgin Mary" and people carrying large candles and banners that lead the Procession. Everyone is dressed in white Brotherhood tunics. Many worshippers from all over the Island, as well as guests visiting the Island take part in the Procession, carrying candles and rosaries. Some of the local people along with numerous guests wait for the Procession to arrive from neighboring villages so that they may join in and sing and pray on the way to the church.

Following the Cross" Procession is on the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

 

Fisherman's museum, Vrboska Town

Founded in 1972 with the aim of preserving Vrboska's rich fishing tradition, the Fisherman's Museum has an interesting collection of traditional fishing nets, tools and equipment, as well as tools from the old fish processing factory. There is also a fascinating insight into the harsh conditions of life in a reconstructed fisherman's hous.

 

Škor Square, Stari Grad town

Of the numerous small squares in Stari Grad, the most picturesque is Škor. Almost like a theater coulisse (which it is during the summer cultural events), this square was formed later, during the 17th /18th centuries from a stretch of shallow water, where there was once a shipyard, which was covered and the square took its name from this (škor from škver, in the Dalmatian dialect, means shipyard). Working-class houses with picturesque luminari (roof windows) as well as sulari and skalinade (stone terraces with staircase) which are typical in Dalmatia close the curved space where the mythical Dalmatia lives.

 

St. Ivan’s Square, Jelsa Town

St. Ivan’s (St. John's) Square is one of the most beautiful squares from the Renaissance-Baroque era, with a small octagonal church dating back to the end of the XVII ct. The church is built in three different styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

The Square and the surrounding streets took shape from the XV ct. to the XVII ct. and, from the architectural point of view, along with the civil houses built between the XVI and the XX ct. with Renaissance lamps and balconies, they are the most preserved part of Jelsa.

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