Korcula - the Town and the Island
Island of Korcula is the largest of the green islands of the
Adriatic. From time immemorial it has been forested, which was why
it was given the name Black Korcula during the colonisation of the
ancient Greeks. The forests have for centuries been carefully protected
as the timber was necessary for the valuable shipbuilding industry.
Maritime contact with other parts of the Mediterranean existed two
to three centuries before the time of Christ. Artisans of the ancient
world used the famed stone from the small island of Vrnik. This
stone was used to build many lovely Dalmatian cities as well as
some of the most famous buildings such as the Basilica of St.Sofie
in Carigrad, the parliament in Vienna and the townhall in Stockholm.
And of course the town of Korcula was built from this same stone.
The ancient heart of the city lies on a peninsula. The reason for
this position was so that from the city towers the population could
more effectively monitor the navigation of galleys and sailing boats
from the eastern coast of the Adriatic.
The fortifications and narrow
streets prove irresistible to todays visitor just as it impressed
medieval writers and travel writers. One of the most famous travel
writers, Marco Polo, began his lifes journey in this town.
The house in which he was born has been restored and preserved, and it was
also in this town that he lost his freedom. In the battle near Korcula
he ws captured and taken to Genoa and then sentenced to prison.
It was in prison that he wrote his book Milion about his travels
to China which caused a sensation in western civilised society as
they were brought into shock contact with the Far East. The villagers
on the island are renowned olive growers, fishermen, and wine producers.
In some localities such produce is known to have been served during
the time of the ancient Greeks. Vineyards of Blato, Lumbarda, Carsko
poje and Smokvisko poje have been familiar to the wine drinking
world for many, many years, and the names of some wines, for example
Posip, Grk and Rukatac with their excellent quality, have been synonymous
with the identity of this island.
related to Korcula: www.mediterano.hr
island tour > - wine tasting - full day tour
the island of Korcula through a string of ancient settlements, green
vineyards, and olive groves and past virgin beaches. A visit will
be made to the town of Blato, the islands largest settlement, and
Vela Luka, founded even in prehistoric times. Visit to the gallery
"Sege". Our return drive takes us via the small fishing
villages of Grscica, Prizba and Brna. Wine tasting en route to the
city of Korcula.
tasting and entrance fee included
from Island of Korcula
historical centre of the island is built on a small peninsula which
narrows the passage between the island and the mainland to a bare
1270 meters. The obvious possibility of controlling the navigation
of galleys and sailing ships along the eastern coast of the Adriatic
at this location was the reason for the foundation of a small town-fortress,
to render this important service to various masters. It developed
rapidly in its present form from the 13th century. this century
saw the proclamation of the Statute, the coming of the dukes of
the Venetian family Zorzi, and the area of Marco Polo. From that
time on the town walls and towers are ever higher and stronger,
and houses and churches ever loftier and more gracious. The town
is at the peak of its might in the 16th century when it could receive
6000 inhabitants. Building is fairly concentrated; the whole city
enclosed by walls does not surpass by in its surface one modern
football stadium; some experts compare medieval Korcula and its
narrow streets with Manhattan. The town impressed many medieval
writers and travel writers, through its fortifications, many invaders.
defence dictated the enclosing of its citizens in secure city
walls, with the area outside the wals forbidden for any building.
wo monasteries were outside the town. These are the Dominican
monastery of St. Nicolas, 500 metres west of the town, and the
Franciscan monastery situated on the island of Badija. Both were
often the target of attack from brigands and other enemies. The
first workshop outside the town where only built in the 17th century,
and the first dwelling houses outside the city walls where built
in the 18th century. Other parts of the town, Sveti Nikola (west
of the town), and Borak (south and east of the town) were built
in the 19th century. Between 1921 and 1941, the buildings of hotels
and villas in the Luka bay - east of the town - began; as also
in the bay of Strecica, west of the town. Intensive building continues
in the locations around the bay of Luka: Zagradac, Ekonomija,
Sveti Antun, Domince and Soline.
town is entered today most often either across Punat (the Bridge)
and Fosa (the Ditch) through the Tower of the Land Gate dating
from 1391. The present bridge was completed in 1863, replacing
the old wooden draw bridge. At the same time, the present gate
inside the tower was opened, thus marking incorrectly the end
of all wars 130 years ago! The main street in the old extends
from this south tower (Berim) in the northern city walls remind
one irresistibly of fish bones. Such a perfect town plan compliments
the ground on which it stands, affords an ideal way of life and
in particular provides a useful defence of the town from invaders.
Above the entrance of the Land Gate, there are two symbols marking
Korcula history: a bas-relief with the winged lion of St. Marco,
as a symbol of the regin of the Venetian Republic, and the stone
tablet commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the coronation
of the first Croatian king Tomislav. Through the Land Gate, one
enteres the Brothers Radic Square, where the important public
buildings of medieval Korcula are situated: the Town Hall from
1525 - always in constant use - the Chapel of Our Lady of the
Snow from 1531, with a stone tablet commemorating the defence
from the Turkish fleet in 1571, the house of the town surgeon
from 1530, the church of St. Michael from 1412/1651, the house
of the brotherhood of St. Michael with its valuable works of art,
and with documents from the rich history of this brotherhood,
and the slim stone column in honour of the duke Michieli dating
from 1569. The triumphal arch in honour of the victorious proveditor
of Dalmatia, Leonardo Foscolo, is against the interior wall of
the Tower of the Land Gate in 1650. Foscolos statue was later
removed when Venice forbad the erection of monuments to paid civil
servants of the Republic. In the atrium of the Town Hall, there
is a relief by the Korcula sculptor Pallavicini which symbolizes
the fighting with the Venetian lion. Stone plaques are in the
passage towards the Princes Court in honour of important events
during the time of the Croatian National Revival in Dalmatia in
the 19th century. East street, off the square, is the only Korcula
street without steps, so that it is often called the Street of
Thinkers; there we can find the Cetineo house and small church
of St. Catherine from 1422. The only Korcula private street extends
towards the west opposite the church. The town prince used to
enter his court through this or he descended to the sea and his
private pier, where the town gallery was always at his disposal.
main town street - the Street of the Korcula Statute from 1214
- we arrive at the Cathedral Square. The biggest and the most
beautiful building of Korcula - the Cathedral of St. Marco - is
at the top of the town. South of it, there is the Bishops Palace
(1342; 1653/1860) where the Abbatial Treasury of St. Marco is
held today with its rich collection of the Croatian and Italian
Renaissance art works, the collection of manuscripts and books,
and a collection of the ceremonial clothes. North of the Cathedral,
there is the small church of St. Peter - probably the oldest surviving
church in the town from the 11th century in witch the Renaisance
portal of the master Bonino da Milano, and the wooden statues
of the apostles are situated - the work of Venetian sculptors
from the 18th century.
On the western
side of the square, there is Crkva Gospojina (Church of Our Lady)
from 1483, the Renaissance work of local builders, where the tombs
of historical Korcula families are situated as well as the tomb
of the defender from Turkish assault, the priest Rozanovic. There
are also beautifully decorated gravestones, and a big mosaic by
the Dutch artist Louis Schrikkel on the altar, from 1964 - 67.
There is a carved stone column standard bearing in the square
nex to Crkva Gospojina dating from 1515. From the Crkva Gospojina
towards the north, there are the Arneri and Gabriellis palaces.
The Town Museum is situated in the Gabriellis palace, one of the
most beautiful Korcula palaces, built in the Renaissance style
from the 16th century. From the Gabriellis palace towards the
sea, there is Ismaelis palace from the 16th century with its beautiful
courtyard. The neighbouring Arneri palace, which was renovationed
from 1988 - 1996, will be home to the gallery of one of the greatest
Croatian sculptors, Frano Krsinic, born in Lumbarda (1897 - 1982).
Besides the artistically valuable courtyard of the Arneri palace,
the windows and the wall of the same palace in the south street
are decorated with glorious details of building and sculpture.
The Arneri family is one of the oldest in Korcula. It has been
producing famous Korculans for centuries, and the Arneris were
especially involved in the political struggles of the 19th century
as leaders of the Croatian parties in Dalmatia.
from the Cathedral Square to the north tower, Zakrjan. In the
first street on the right, there is the family house of the traveller
Marco Polo. ogether with several inscriptions and exhibits which
remind us of the great traveller and explorer of all times, Marco
Polo, was born here in Korcula in 1254. e died in Venice in 1324.
Marco Polo was captured in the great naval battle between Genova
and Venice near Korcula in 1298, and he wrote his book about his
journey to China in a Genoese prison. The family house of the
polos in Venice vanished and was replaced by a theatre, whereas
Korcula has preserved his family house in memory of the great
Marco. The Depolo family is still today one of the most significant
Korcula families. Further along the street towards Zakrjan, on
the left side, there is the house of the brotherhood of St. Rocco,
founded in 1575. Numerous valuable art objects, statues and paintings
can be found in the house.
Left from the Zakrjan tower, in the street above Hotel Korcula,
there is the family house of the poet Kanavelic (at present a
restaurant) with the small church of the Annunciation. Further
on , there is the house of another patrician family Spanic with
an attractive courtyard, and the church of St. Barbara dating
from 1407, which has been an Orthoodox church since 1928.
Continuing further towards the south by the road above the city
wall and the public water cistern Trepoca, we arrive at the Square
of Arms, where arms were distributed to the citizens in case of
enemy attack. Previously one arrived at the theatre from this
square, but the building was destroyed in one of the bombardments
during the Second orld War.
at the south side of the square - "Ulica od fonda" (Street
of Granary) - leads past the former town granary towards the square
in front of the Town Hall, and further on towards the eastern
city wall and the church of All Saints - the original Korcula
cathedral - and the house of the oldest brotherhood.
A walk around
the town begins with Punat - the bridge - over which one enters
the town. West from the Land Gate, there is a well preserved part
of the south town wall, together with the present-day summer stage.
Prison Tower dating from 1445 was built into the wall of the Mediteranska
plovidba headquarters (Shiping Line). Two more towers stand further
on from the shipping Offices: the taller and slimmer of them is
the Princes Small Palace from 1130/1449, and the lower and wider
one is the Princes Large Palace from 1438. There are two stone
tablets with dates in memory of the Second World War on it. From
these towers northwards the reconstructed town wall extends housing
deep arcades behind which various port offices (port captain,
customs, administration of the port, etc.) are situated. Further
on, there is a part of the wall containing the oldest town cistern
of drinking water Trepoca (Tre pozi) from 1437. The tower of the
sea gate from 1265/1448 lost its functionwhen the town "surrendered"
to tourism owning to the decision of the Town Council in 1907,
when part of the old wall was remowed and a new splendid neoclassical
staircase was built. On the tower there is a coat of arms and
an inspiration in honour of the trojan hero Antenor who, according
to the ancient legend, founded orcula. There are today two obelisks
(from 1589 and 1680) in honour to the town princes Alviseo Polani
and Pellegrin Pasqualigo. Looking north from the entrance staircase,
there is Lodja, the town loggia from 1548. It was for centuries
the only building outside the town walls, and it had various assignments
- from police and customs control office to travellers waiting
hotel Korcula was built as a cafe in 1871, at the same time as
the city walls and towers were pulled down. The reason was as
follows. The war Ministry of ienna informed the town authorities
in 1863 that it was returning the upkeep of the towers and city
walls to the town as they were no longer deemednecessary, and
that it would not pay the expenses of maintenance any more. The
Town Council responded by pulling down the greater part of the
city walls except of the south part, and by pulling down three
of the towers. In 1912, the then "Hotel de la ville"
became the first modern Korculas hotel when the floor rooms were
built. Todays police station is adjoining on the hotel Korcula.
Already in the 18th century it had been the first export office
and customs store. A special attraction of the hotel Korcula is
its terrace from which one can enjoy the sunset, especially in
early summer when the sun swts in the middle of the channel in
area of the town is protected by the Bokar Tower (Barbarigo) built
in 1485, and the Zakrjan Tower (Kerjan), 1481, is facing north.
Between the Zakrjan Tower and Rampada or Rampart (the modern name
for the remnants of the All Saints Tower of 1493), there were
another two towers pulled down in the 19th century: the Tower
called Parilo and the Tower of the New Gate. The walls and the
foundations of an older tower - The Small Tower of All Saints,
pulled down in 1879 - are visible today on the same Rampada.
towards the Land Gate, there is the Arsenal of 1572, built at
the time when the importance of Korcula for the Venetian Republic
was growing. Venice had the winter anchoring of its war fleet
in Korcula in the 18th century. The area between the Arsenal and
the Tower of the Land Gate was protected by the Revelin Tower
from 1485. Nowadays it forms part of a private house. Leaving
the medieval town we descend across Punat (Bridge) towards "Plokata
of 19th April 1921". Here, we can find, on this modern main
square, a fountain commemorating the date of June 13th 1986 when
water from the aqueduct coming from the river Neretva began to
flow, thus liberating the Korculans from the centuries-long nightmare
of the lack of drinking water. A few steps from the memorial fountain,
we find ourselves in front of the church St. Justina. There was
formerly a church there to the memory of St. Sergius and St. Bakh,
but this was destroyed or damaged several times during attacks
on the town. The present church of St. Justina was built between
1860 and 1897. The paintings from another previous church, St.
Blaise (Blasius), are housed there. The statue of the Resurrection
of Crist on the dome of the church is the work of the sculptor
west, where the old "skver" (small shipyard) Sessa used
to be, there is today a monument to the Korculans fallen in the
Second World War. The whole complex is the work of Bernardo Bernardi,
a Croatian architect from Korcula who also planned hotel Marko
Polo, and hotel Liburna. Four reliefs depicting the traditional
crafts and professions of the Korcula people are the work of another
respected Korcula artist, the sculptor Vinko Fabris.
Walking along by the sea we come to the Cap of St. Nicolas and
the beautiful private villa of the Croatien painter Maksimilijan
Vanka (1889-1963) within its walled garden at the ancient site
of the windmill (Cap of the Scaffoldings). Here also is the Dominican
monastery of St. Nicolas together with its church which was built
in 1505, and enlarged with an eastern aisle in 1665. The altar
of the western aisle is adorned with a valuable copy of Titians
painting "The Tourturing of Saint Peter". The original
was damaged at some time but the copy remained, painted in the
masters school. The monastery also possesses, besides this painting
and a painting by the artist Poncun of "The Miracle of St.
Dominic in Surian", numerous other works of art, and a rich
library. The building of the monastery is partly fortified; it
experienced several enemy attacks during its long history. There
is a very picturesque "mandrac" - a small harbour for
the monastery boats - on the shore below the monastery.
along the street of Bernardo Bernardi, above the town to the top
of the hill where the "Forteca" - the English tower,
Fort Wellington - is situated. It was built in 1813 on the site
of the Venetian fortification of open type built in 1616, and
the French fortification of the redoubt type there from 1803-1813.
The remnants of these defence walls can still be seen, and the
church of St. Blaise (Blasius) was pulled down during the building of the English tower.
From this hill and this very tower, which today serves as a telecommunication
station, a wonderful view extends as far as the Korcula archipelago
and the island of Mljet to the east, to the interior of the island
to the south, to the Peljesac Channel and the island of Hvar to
the west, and to the old town and the mountain St. Elias to the
away from the town towards the hotels, one passes by the semi-circular
"piazzeta", a solarium which was erected by order of
the British commander of the town, Col. Peter Lowen. The inscription
on the columns of the "piazzeta" mentions his name.
The way leads further on towards the town park "Hober"
where there is the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes from 1908, and
the monument to the soldiers from the Korcula commune fallen in
the First World War. The "Hober" park is listed in the
state register of protected wooded parks. Between the "Hober"
park and the sea there are several beautiful villas erected between
1930 and 1940, built by famous Croatian architects. Some of them
have lost much of their artistic impact due to recent alternations.
At the top of the hill there is a big public cistern for collecting
drinkable rain water, built in 1950. Called "Naplov",
It has a huge flat surface as a catchment area. This cistern is
no longer in use at the present time.
The way leads
us further towards "Glavica Svetog Antuna" (St. Antons
Head). This part of the town is named by it: "Sveti Antun".
On the top of "Glavica", up to which 102 steps lead
betwwen an avenue of cypresses, there is the church of St. Anthony
and a hermits dwelling in existence from 1420. Bishop Spanic had
the avenue and staircase emplaced at the end of the 17th century,
and he was buried in the church in 1707.
of St. Luke was built at the end of the last century when they
ceased to bury the dead at the cemeteries on "Plokata"
and in front of the St. Justina church. It is a valuable witness
to the history of Korcula families.
of St. Marco is a Gothic-Renaissance building which was built from
the end of the 15th century, mostly by Korcula masters and from
the Korcula stone of the islands of Vrnik and Kamenjak. Theree apses
witness to the existence of an older church. Its first builder was
the Korculan Hranic Dragosevic, then follow Ratko Ivancic, Dubrovnik
builders, then Jacopo Correr from Tirani in Apulia, but the cathedral
was finally completed by a genial artist, the best known of Korculas
medieval builders, Marko Andrijic (died in 1507). The builder Marko
Milic Pavlovic added the chapel of St. Rocco next to the northern
aisle in 1525. The cathedral thus received its present form. The
portal with the figures of lions and of St. Marco was built by the
master Bonino da Milano in 1412. He was the creator of the door
on the south aisle with the figure of St. Jacob. Marko Andrijic
created the glorious rosette, the wreath and the top of the bell-tower.
An unknown local master built the door of the chapel of St. Rocco.
The main altar was adorned with the altar painting by the great
Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto in 1550 (Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto,
1518-1594), which depicts the three patron saints of Korcula and
Dalmatia: saint Marko the Evangelist - the patron saint of Korcula,
and at each side, saint Jerolisimus - the patron saint of Dalmatia
and saint Bartholomew - the patron saint of ship-builders. Below
the altar table, there is a sarcophagus with the relics of the towns
other patron sain, saint Theodore
sightseeing - museum tour - half day tour
Korcula is considered
to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, and history and tradition are
apparent when you walk along the paved streets and squares of this
lovely town. The city tour includes a visit to cultural and historical
monuments, such as the Treasury of the Abbey, the City Museum, the
Museum of Icons, as well as other places of interest. During this
tour there will be a short break in the city wine celler for freshment.
fees and freshment included
from Island of Korcula
(islands) is the general name for 19 islets which lie near the eastern
end of the island of Korcula. Visitors go easily and often on excursions
to Skoji; some of them are inhabited and on some they can find cultural
remains. All of them offer superb possibilities for bathing. Small
boats (barke) depart from the pier near the small "Planjak"
restaurant and bar (also the name of one of the islets), and from
the hotel piers.
Badija (1sq km, 74 m high) is the nearest island, where the sports
- recreation centre is situated in the buildings of the old Franciscan
monastery was begun in 1392 on the site of an earlier one, and it
was enlarged in this century. Next to the beautiful church and the
chapel of Saint Cross with its Baroque altar by Giorgio Masario
(18th century) are the Gothic cloisters with arcades from 1475.
There is a small dwelling house next to the monastery, and a shelter
for monastery boats in its cellar. The monastery was closed in 1950,
and the rich library and vauable works of art were transferred to
the churches and monasteries of Korcula, Orebic and Dubrovnik. The
traditional procession of the Assisi pardon "Perdun" which
was a special characteristic of Badija, was reinstated in 1991.
(50m high) with the village of the same name, is the site of the
oldest and most famous Korcula quarry. Only a few families today
live in this picturesque village, and they let rooms and apartments
to tourists. One can visit the 29 local quarries. Only private boats
and Barkas sail to the island, and the nearest parkink place for
cars is just 100 metres away on the island of Korcula (at the crossroads
Krmaca). Next to the local school on the coast there is the new
church of Our Lady of Succour from 1856. In front of one of the
quarries on the northern coast, there is the old church of Our Lady
of Succour from 1674.
of Vrnik is the also well known island - quarry Kamenjak (Stone
Island). There are old quarries on the islet of Sutvara, as well
as vineyards, and a wonderful beach on the western coast. Planjak
is a favourite excursion point for Korcula families, and a nudist
bathing beach is arranged on the islet of Stupe. The islet of Majsan
was already inhabited in prehistoric times, and up until the Middle
Ages. An early Christian church there from the 5th century is an
important pointer to the rich history of Korcula. The finds of these
early objects are still visible on the western coast of the islet,
and the remnants of a brake-water can be see under the sea. The
Venetian doge Petar II Orseolo lead his conquest of the south Dalmatian
archipelago and the town of Dubrovnik from Majsan in 1000 year.
Remains proving that there was life here from ancient Greek times
to the early Middle Ages can also be seen on the other islets of
impressive lighthouse on the islet of sestrica Vela was built in
the past century (1871). Its buildings are now deserted owing to
the complete modern automation of the navigation light.
cruise - half day tour
Leaving the town
of Korcula behind, we sail towards the Korcula archipelago consisting
of some twenty islands and islets. Badija with its 15th century
monastery; Vrnik, famous for its two quarries and Majsan with prehistoric
remains, are among the best known islands in the archipelago. Most
of the islands are uninhabited, boasting lush vegetation and a crystal
clear sea. Sail takes you to the town of Lumbarda in a picturesque
cove, where summer residences of former patrician families can be
seen. Time at leisure here for strolling and swimming.
home made drink included
from Island of Korcula
Marina Korcula - It lies on the island of Korcula in a small cove
south of Korcula. It is protected by a breakwater on the northern
Open: All year round.
Berths: The marina has 135 berths and 15 boat places on land.
The berths have water and power supply.
Facilities: Reception, exchange office, restaurant, toilets
and showers, laundry service, grocery shop, repair shop, 10 t crane,
parking lot. The gas station is approximately 0.5 miles east of
the harbour, by the ferry pier. There is also a permanent maritime
border crossing. The marina has also 11 high standard apartments.
The town of Korcula is linked to the Peljesac Peninsula (Orebic)
by a ferry line, from where you can reach the nearest airport -
Dubrovnik (130 km) by road. The island of Korcula also has ferry
lines to Drvenik and Split from Vela Luka (40km). There are also
ferry lines to Rijeka and Dubrovnik (Rijeka - Zadar - Stari Grad
- Korcula - Dubrovnik).
42 57.6 N 17 08.4 E
Tel: 00385 20 711 661
Fax: 00385 20 711 748
VHF Channel: 17
On this page you will find useful information about sailing regulations
on the Adriatic Sea.
list is an uncompleted survey of restaurants, cafes and tavernas
which offer Korcula specialities and drinks:
Hotel Marko Polo
Hotel Bon Repos
can buy the various normal souvenirs that will remind them of the
beautiful days they spent on the island of Korcula and also many
examples made of Korcula stone, wood, leather, as well as dolls
dressed in folklore costumes, and filigree silver. Numerous artists
offer in their workshops or on the squares their paintings and other
works. Most shops are closed between 12:00 and 13:00 hours as Korculans
are used to having an afternoon siesta (pizolet), and are closed
on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and on feast days. Exceptions are
the food and drink shops which stay open all day, and on Sundays
mainly from 07:00 until 10:00.
- Super 98
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