The main street in the old town divides the town neatly into the eastern and western halves,
while the small side streets extending horizontally to the city walls fan out like fish bones.
Such a perfect town plan complements the ground on which it stands,
affords an ideal way of life and in particular, provides a useful defence.
Above the entrance of the Land Gate, there are two symbols marking Korčula's history:
a bas-relief with the winged lion of St. Mark, symbolizing the reign of the Venetian Republic
and a stone tablet commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of the first Croatian king, Tomislav.
4th c. B.C. - the second Greek colony with the still extant "Greek tablet". The Psephisma from Lumbarda is stone tablet wich describes the foundation of the Greek settlement. The copy is exhibited on the Korčula Town museum ground-floor. This fragmented inscription describes in old Greek the agreement concluded between the Greek settlers from the island of Issa (Vis) with the local Illyrian leaders. It obliges settlers to absolute loyalty and includes a list of 180 preserved names immigrant families.
This inscription, found in Lumbarda, is the oldest written document in Croatia and is housed in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.
1000 - the Venetian duke Petar II Orseolo conquers Korčula and Venetian rule is established until 1420, interspersed with periods of Croatian, Hungaro-Croatian, Zahumljan and Bosnian administration.
1214 - the issuing of the Statute of the town and island of Korčula - "Statuta et leges civitatis et insulae Curzulae"; a code setting out the life and administration of the town and the island of Korčula and the legal foundation of Korčula's autonomous commune.
The obvious potential for controlling shipping along the eastern coast of the Adriatic at this point was the reason for the foundation of a fortified town.
It developed rapidly from its 13th c. beginnings when its statute was proclaimed and when the ducal Venetian Zorzi family arrived and Marco Polo was travelling. The town's towers and ramparts were built higher and stronger and the houses and churches loftier and more elegant. The town was at the peak of its might in the 16th c. when it could "accommodate 6000 inhabitants".
The street known as 'Ulica javne dobrotvornosti' (Charity Street) leading off the square, is the only Korčula street without steps and is therefore referred to as the Street of Thinkers. The only private street in Korčula extends to the west, opposite the church. The town prince would use it to enter court and he would descend to the sea and his private pier, where the town galley was at his disposal.
"Lođa", the town loggia from 1548 was for centuries the only building outside the town walls and had various uses - from a police and customs control office to a travellers' waiting room and tourist office.
Hotel "Korčula" was first built as a cafe in 1871.
In 1912, the then "Hotel de la ville" became the first modern Korčula hotel when rooms were added.
It has a delightful terrace offering a splendid view up the coast.
"hrustule" and "prikle" ("pršurate")
and the very special rose-petal flavoured "rozata" (cream caramel).
At Easter time, traditional Easter sweet breads "sirnice" are baked all over the island.
In Čara, Smokvica, Blato and Vela Luka is baked traditional bread "lumblija" and in the town of Korčula for Saint Martin "lojenica" - dripping cake.
Rukatac is a dry white wine from Smokvica, which is known in other Dalmatian regions as Maraština.
Grk is dry white wine from Lumbarda; it has a special aroma owing to the sand base of its vineyards; the species is autochtonic.
Plavac is the name of the best red wines from the island of Korčula, and the best known plavac comes from the sunny southern bays of "Defora".
A few kilometres northeast of the Korčula hotels, across the sea lie the Pelješac vineyards with their Plavac Mali grapes from which the best dry red wines of Croatia come: Postup and Dingač.
In St. Mark's Cathedral, besides
other artistic works on the walls, there is a "Pieta" by Ivan Meštrović
and Jesus Christ the Redeemer by Frano Kršinić.
Another work of the great Ivan Meštrović, the statue of St. Blasius ( Sv. Vlaho ), the patron saint of Dubrovnik and four reliefs- of blessed Alojzije Stepinac ( Kerdić), Mother Theresa, Marija Propetog Petković and Ivan Merc ( A. Lozica) are situated next to the entrance to the sacristy which is adorned with a relief of St. Michael, the remarkable work of an unknown master (14/15 c.).
In the Abbey Treasury one of
the most significant works is the polyptich "Our Lady With Child
and Saints" from 1431 by the Dalmatian painter Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin.
Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin (? -1450) is pre-eminent in Dalmatian Gothic art and resided in Korčula from 1431 until 1435, creating paintings for Korčula churches and teaching drawing and painting.
From Korčula centre the road
along the sea leads on to St. Anthony's Hill (Glavica Svetoga Antuna).
On the top of the hill via 101 steps between an avenue of cypresses, there is the church of St. Anthony and a hermit's dwelling in existence since 1420 with reliefs of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Anthony the Hermit.
Bishop Španić commissioned the avenue at the end of the 17th c. and is buried in the church.
There are several works of the great Croatian sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, in Korčula. One of them, the statue of St. Blasius ( Sv. Vlaho ), the patron saint of Dubrovnik is situated next to the entrance to the sacristy in Cathedral of St. Mark.
Visit Abbey Treasury in Korčula Town centre