The Island of Hvar and the Town of Hvar
The Island of Hvar
Hvar is the longest and the most beautiful island in the mid-Dalmatian archipelago. This giant botanical garden of Mediterranean plants, sometimes even endemic, is 68 km long and 4 km wide on average. The wildlife on the island is extremely abundant and many wild animals can be seen following herds of goats, sheep, horses, mules and donkeys. Hvar is famous for its varied and abundant marine life, equally rich in species. Hvar is the most insolated island in the Mediterranean, so from the very beginnings of civilisation it has been a shelter and an inspiration to numerous cultures. The testimony to that are Mediterranean Early Neolithic buildings and finds of ceramics, much appreciated at the time, dating from between 6th and 1st millennium BC, the remnants of Hellenistic culture on Hvar, mostly in the polis of Pharos, founded in 385/384 BC by the inhabitants of the Cycladic island of Paros on the spot where Stari Grad is today, the traces of Roman culture, its ports and cities, medieval finds, and the Renaissance and Baroque heritage of the island, which then became a shiny example of spiritual and artistic progress of the time. After several stagnant centuries, the island of Hvar appeared again on the civilisational and cultural map of the Mediterranean in the 19th
The Town of Hvar
Prehistoric mounds and caves around Hvar, remains of an Illyrian fortress built where Fortica is today, and remnants from the Greek and Roman era testify to the demographic and cultural continuity of the settlement which has in time become Hvar. That protected harbour, well-positioned on the crossing of vertical and horizontal Adriatic waterways, and the most important stop on the way to Levant used to be called Lisna but, by a decision made in 1278 in Venice, it became Novi Hvar, the centre of the island commune, the residence of the bishop and the prince and the main winter resort of the Venetian fleet. In accordance with the common law and the customs of Hvar, the prince, the judges, the Great Council of noblemen and the representatives of the commons would always try to cooperate in order to solve the problems of common interest and to deal with possible conflicts of interest. The town was mostly built in the 15th and 16th century style, and its spiritual and cultural renaissance lasted till the 18th century, when it began stagnating. For almost a century and a half, Hvar has been primarily a tourist town, thanks to its extraordinarily mild climate, beautiful nature and cultural heritage.