Hvar: The most beautiful and the nicest smelling island in the world!
The sunniest island in Europe!
Traveler Magazine has put the island of Hvar on the list of the ten most beautiful islands in the world. This kind of unique harmony of magnificent nature, architecture and rich history is rather hard to find in the rest of the world. Hvar is a unique island which has everything a person might need for an unforgettable holiday, whether you decide to spend it in one of its two biggest towns, Hvar or Stari Grad, or in some other smaller place. Everyone can find something to their liking: Hvar is a mix of antique and modern; it is a place that is bringing together dream beaches, secluded quiet bays and noisy night life!
The immense fields of lavender, later used in production of first class lavender oil, said to be of the highest quality in the world, are the trademark of this island. Lavender flowers in summer, just as tourists start to arrive, and the beauty of these violet fields submerged in the greenery of the Mediterranean vegetation and the blue of the sea is a truly magical sight. Lavender souvenirs are the most common gifts people take back home and they can be purchased on many locations around the island which makes it the nicest smelling island in the world!
The sunniest island in Europe!
Hvar is well known for its very mild Mediterranean climate. The average of 2718 hours of sun in a year makes Hvar the sunniest island in Europe!
The oldest depiction of a vessel in the world!
The cave “Grapčeva špilja” is the best known and the most important historical site on the island of Hvar. It is the cradle of Hvar culture and civilization. According to the archaeological classifications the cave was a ritual site. It shows traces of civilization from Neolithic era. Especially interesting is a depiction of a vessel which many archaeologists consider to be the oldest depiction of a vessel in the world!
Cyclops also lived on Hvar???
Some renowned experts in the field of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey believe that there is no place on the Mediterranean that would better fit the description of Homeric Cyclops’ island and Goat island than the south coast of Hvar and the islet Šćedro just in front of it. Šćedro fits the description of the Goat Island perfectly: safe coves, through history the island has barely been populated at all, the only permanent inhabitants, until recently, were goats. The south side of Hvar, just across from Šćedro, is the richest in caves on the Mediterranean, and that exactly fits what Ulysses saw from Goat Island. The size and shape of Grapčeva špilja on Hvar perfectly fit the description of the cave of Cyclops Polyphemus, the Cyclops which Ulysses blinded. This most probably makes Hvar the island of Cyclops.
Hvar theatre – the oldest public theatre in Europe!
Hvar theatre was opened in 1612 and it was public from its very beginning, which, at the time, was almost inconceivable. In the chronology of the oldest European theatres it is the third, after “Teatro Olimpico” in Vicenza (15859 and Teatro All’antica in Sabbioneta (1588). Theatre scene in Hvar was the most intense during the 19th century, during carnival season, when they used to show 30 shows in a row on a single stage.
Hvar procession “Za križen”
The procession “Za križen” (Following the Cross), which takes place in Hvar, is on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is a unique ceremony of piousness and cultural identity of the inhabitants living in the central island area, with a 5-centuries-old tradition. In the night between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday the procession connects six places on the island. The procession starts, at the same time, from six churches, each party lead by a cross-bearer, bearing an 18kg cross as a sign of a vow. To be in the role of a cross-bearer is an exceptional honor and the list is filled for more than 20 years in advance! The cross-bearer is followed by villagers and pilgrims. They stop in churches along the way, to finally return to their own parish church just before dawn. What is interesting is that the procession lasts for over 8 hours in which they pass 25 kilometers and it has emphasized passion content. Lately, besides pilgrims, the procession has been attracting numerous tourists who come to Hvar only to participate in the procession.
The Benedictine nunnery in Hvar Town is nowadays especially known throughout the world for the agave lace, made only in this nunnery since the 19th century. Preparing thread is hard work; the threads are collected from fresh agave leaves and prepared in a special way. Each of the motifs is knitted on a prepared surface without a previously designed pattern. This makes each produced lace a one of a kind art work. Agave lace is not to be washed and it is usually kept under glass in order to save it from being ruined.
Stari Grad Plain – unique on the Mediterranean!
Stari Grad Plain is the most fruitful and the biggest plain on the island of Hvar and all the Croatian islands. It is 6 km long and 2 km wide. It is special for its division into lots dates from the Greek colonization of Hvar. It is divided into 73 rectangular lots of equal size. Thanks to dry-walls, which mark the margins of lots, they kept their form up to this day. The Stari Grad plain is an example of the best preserved authentic ancient Greek land division on the whole Mediterranean. In 2008, UNESCO put Stari Grad Plain on the list of World Heritage Sites, where the vineyards and olive groves remained unchanged, as a unique testimony of geometrical system of land division once used in ancient times.
Ivan Vučetić – a man from Hvar who is the reason why many criminals have restless nights
Ivan Vučetić, the founder of dactiloscopy – a well-known criminalistics technique that studies finger prints, was born in Hvar on 20 July, 1858. There he lived and worked until 1884 when he emigrated to Argentina, where he later became famous after evolving and using dactiloscopy, which is solving numerous criminal cases even today. He died in Argentina, 25 January, 1925.
The Tudors Legend:
According to the legend, an English war vessel shipwrecked in front of Milna and a member of English Royal Family Tudor managed to save himself and swam to the shore. He fell in love with Hvar and never went back to England. That is how the last name Tudor came to Hvar.
What to visit?
Stari Grad is one of the oldest towns in Croatia. Stari Grad and Aristotel are coevals, both of them born in 384 BC. That year the Greeks sailed to today’s Hvar from their island Paros in Aegean Sea. In today’s Stari Grad bay they set a town Faros, today Stari Grad. It was built in the spot where deep sea bay turns into a fruitful plain, where they planted vines and olives. Surrounded by pine woods, Stari Grad seems refreshing and relaxing even in summer time, which makes it an ideal place for long walks.
It is faithful to the traditional style of Mediterranean architecture, stone houses in a spirit of past times, where people still live the same way as they have been living for centuries. A sight you must see is the fort/summer residence of a famous Croatian Renaissance writer Petar Hektorović (16th century), the author of the first Croatian travelogue Fishing and Fisherman's talk. He spent all his life building this summer palace and it was as important to him as his literary work. It is a realization of an idea of micro cosmos – a small, closed world, where many God’s creatures, of both fauna and flora, find space in which they can create a harmonious life, together with people. He wholeheartedly welcomed travelers and the poor there. The summer palace is also a real stone book, as carved in its walls are numerous writings in different languages. One which stand out is: “Keep in mind that neither wealth, nor riches, neither beauty nor age will save you, as Death grabs everything! “
Hvar Town is an ancient city with rich history which many people call a town from a fairy tale. It grabs your attention with its specific architecture and gorgeous nature. It is a unique fusion of Mediterranean nature, rich cultural-historical heritage and mundane tourist life style. It is situated on the south, sunny, side of the homonymous island of Hvar. In the past it has been an important harbor, while today it is the tourist center of the island and one of the top destinations in Europe and world. Each year it attracts more and more tourists, many of them famous worldwide – movie and fashion stars, people from show business, great athletes… becoming a jet-set venue. It is a town to everyone’s liking. There you can enjoy an inspiring walk, go for a swim, go sightseeing, but also be part of a crazy party or rich night life.
Of its numerous sights, we suggest visiting:
Hvar Fortress (16th century), which used to be an army barracks and a look-out, and today there is a collection of amphorae and other ancient and Middle Ages exhibit items. It gives you a breath taking panoramic view of Hvar Town and the Paklinski Islands.
St. Stevens cathedral (16th and 17th century)
Arsenal – built in the 13th century; in 1612, on the first floor of the Arsenal, the first public theatre in Europe was built.
Franciscan nunnery (15th century) inside which there is a museum with one of the world’s most famous depictions of Last Supper (Author: Matteo Pontoni)
Town Loggia with a clock (15th century), remains of the Governor’s palace
Hektorović’s summer palace (15th century) one of the most beautiful late-Gothic churches
The Paklinski islands
The Paklinski islands are a group of about twenty picturesque islets and rocks in front of Hvar Town. They are greatly famous for their beauty: wooded islets, beautiful hidden coves, crystal clear sea.