|1868 - 2008
Located in the center of the Mediterranean, off of its northern more indented and more densely populated coast, the island of Hvar is also situated in the center of practically all of the routes that cross the eastern Adriatic. An outstanding geographical point of central Dalmatia, on the route from Zadar and Sibenik to Korcula and Dubrovnik, Hvar is located in the vicinity of, and within the region gravitating towards, the city of Split. However, Hvar is separated from the Split Channel by the island of Brac.
Its natural landscapes are probably the most magnificent and impressive image of Hvar. The mild Mediterranean Sun shining almost three thousand hours per year, the clear night skies with stars as on one's palm, the azure sea generously revealing the treasuers of the Neptune's underwater gardens, opiate fragrances of rosemary, heather and garden-sage or the song of cicadae at noon, these are the impressions that remain longest in our experience of Hvar.
And in such ambiance, as if painted after the mythic Arcadia, a group of islets off the town of Hvar - the Pakleni Otoci - make place of exceptional value for all those apt to feel and experience the primordial elements of the landscapes of Hvar. In the same way, the hidden bays of the northern and southern coast of the island (Milna, Dubovica, Piscena, Vira, Pribinja and many more, inhabited and uninhabited) make the highlights of its genuine atmosphere and smells. Just 3 miles from the town of Hvar there is ACI MARINA - Palmizana which is very important for nautical tourism and for discovering wild and untouched beauties of islands.
The town of Hvar, known as Madiera of Croatia is the largest settlement on the island of Hvar. The seven century-old walls, with fortifications towering above them, keep watch over Hvar as they slope down toward the town and its Venetian loggia.
The access to Hvar implies the point from which we have reached it. From the sea, we get the sight of a waterfront promenade strip bordered with a row of palm trees and seven centuries old walls, overtopped by the fortresses protecting Hvar, extending down-wards to the town and to the Venetian loggia. Coming from the central part of the island or using the road from the ferry harbour we arrive at the magnificent Piazza, a square generally considered the most beautiful of the kind in Dalmatia, dominated by St. Stephen's Cathedral and bordered by the paleces of Groda and by the cascading stone-boilt houses of Burag. But, no matter from which side this town is approached, Hvar straightway reveals itself as a monument of art.
But it is not only monuments which make Hvar what it is. It is also its harbour spreading towards the sea and the islands called Pakleni Otoci (Resin Islands), its unique healthful climate and its beaches and restaurants, which for almost a century and a half have been shining with the luster of a fashionable tourist resort.
Far from the cosmpolite urban crowd, Hvar has preserved its villages of Brusje, Velo Grablje, Malo Grablje, Zarace and Milna for those fond of the calm left undisturbed from the beginnig of the time.
Greek colonists from the island of Paros already founded a strong urban centre on the location of today's Stari Grad in 384-85 BC. Later battles between the Illyrians and Romans confirmed the importance and value of this territory, and each of these peoples also left distinctive traces of their presence, ranging from evidence of developed Neolithic activity to the monuments of Classical antiquity.
The arrival of the Croats in the early Middle Ages substantially altered the ethnic substratum, but it nevertheless represented an organic continuation of existing cultural achievements. Having accepted Christianity, our ancestors effectively placed themselves into the history and art of the Western European sphere.
Despite all of the social and political changes, the island of Hvar has an uninterrupted continuity of communal self-assertion, artistic activity and a sense of Croatian ethnicity. It could hardly have happened by mere chance that, with the exception of independent Dubrovnik, this island was certainly the greatest centre of early Croatian literature and at the same time a privileged domain of architecture, sculpture, painting and music. During the Gothic, Renaissance, Mennerism and Baroque periods, representative churces and places were erected, valuable pictures and sculptures were obtained, and urban and rural environments of extraordinary form and beauty were created.
Croatian cultural figures such as Hanibal Lucic, Petar Hektorovic, Vinko Pribojevic, Miksa Pelegrinovic, Martin Benetovic and Marin Gazarovic lived and worked on Hvar in the 16th and 17th centuries. There were many who tried their hand at various creative disiplines. The summer residence of Lucic and Hektorovic in Hvar and Stari Grad today bear witness to a lively interconnection of art and everyday life, necessity and freedom, and the elite and the common people.
Hvar displays with pride the oldest municipal theatre in Europe. Hvar has been built throught time by notable domestic and foreign architects. Hvar has been celebrated in verses. Hvar has been painted by painters. But Hvar itself is the best narrator of its own story. It is enough to come and see for oneself. That way we shall touch a piece of the legend. Hvar - reflects the glossuy spirit of an exquisit resort area for almost a century and a half.
Hvar represents itself as a monument of art. Culture and art are essential attributes of Hvar. Different monuments (architecture, sculpture, paintings) in Hvar show the cultural importance of Hvar through the centuries.The Renaissance Hvar was one of the centres of Croatian literature and culture. Hvar was the birth place of Petar Hektorovic (1487-1572), Hanibal Lucic (1485-1553), and many other writers whose works have become integral parts of the Croatian and European literary heritage.
Hvar has the oldest municipal theatre in Europe opened in 1612.
Cultural and artistic events within the Hvar Summer Festival are take place throughout the summer, from late June to late September. These events include classical (vocal and instrumental) music concerts performed by Croatian and foreign artists, and performances by amateur groups from Hvar. Performances are given nearly every day in a number of picturesque settings.
The Hvar branch of the Croatian Institute has regularly organised cultural and artistic events, classical music concerts, exibitions (Hvar Visual Arts Moment) and lectures by well-kmown Croatian artists and scientists. These events usually take place in the last week of July.
The town of Hvar has many galleries (Arsenal, Lođa, Zvijezda Mora, Anuncijata, Skorpion, the Croatian Institute) in which are held the exibitions and museums in which are held numerous art collections. Everything that shows the importance of Hvar as a cultural and historical town.
The agrarian heart of the island, mainly a wine growing district, was for a long time a guarantee of economic prosperity, but it also gave rise to an impressive cultural superstructure, from the Greek land parcelling (the first "centuriation" of public land in history) and the megalithic walls of Pharos, to the outstanding fortifications and the rich "villae rusticae" with their decorative mosaics.
There are also Christian churces with marble furniture and weaved ornaments, the authentic urban centres such as Vrboska and Jelsa (with "embryonic" churces/fortresses) or the picturesque peripheral settlements which form a chain from Rudina and Selca to Dol , Vrbanj , Svirce , Vrisnik and Pitve .
The eastern part of the island, the area of Plame ( Poljica , Zastrazisce , Gdinj , Bogomolje and Sucuraj ), joined the cultural exchange and permanent colonization somewhat later, but since the earliest days it has ensured contact with the nearby mainland, thus reducing the isolation of the island.
On the other hand, the southwestern side of the island, bordered by the romantic string of the Pakleni otoci (Resin Islands) and crowned by the sun-bathed slopes and thoroughly protected harbor of the town of Hvar , emphasizes a Mediterranean, maritime orientation, and has, since Venetian times, been in close contact with the main cultural flows.
With its balance between rich natural gifts and adequate human attendance, the island of Hvar represents an ideal place of serene living and repose.
According the magazine "Traveller", MAY 1997 (10 th Anniversary Issue) in the article "The ultimate island finder", Ron Hall, The Island of Hvar is chosen as one of Ten Best Islands in the world.
As the article says:..."He`s been there, done that. After a decade of searching, our most dedicated island finder, Ron Hall, surveys them all and chooses his favourites. Each is a classic of its kind...".
1. ANGUILLA (Caribbean)
2. BALI ( Indonesia)
3. BORA BORA (French Polynesia)
4. CAPRI (Italy)
5. HVAR (Croatia)
6. KAUAI (Hawaii)
7. MYKONOS (Greece)
8. PONZA (Italy)
9. UPOLU (Western Samoa)
10. ZANZIBAR (Tanzania)