In the late August & early September 2016 I spent few days in Korčula - it is a famous Croatian city on the island of the same name - Korčula.
The Croatian name of the island comes from the Greek name Corcyra cause it is believed that the Greeks were the first people who left the written artifacts & evidence of their presence on the island.
The remains of the first settlers were found in the caves on the island & are older than the Greek ones. In one of those caves called "Vela Spila", which has amazing acoustics, my friend & I played some music - you can take a look of that performance here:
After Greeks came the Illyrians & few centuries later the Romans conquered the territory. According to the history the Croats came around the 7th century. After that there was a very turbulent time for the Korčula's people cause the control over the island was changing all the time between many different nations: Croats, Byzantines, Venetians, Hungarians, Austrians, French, English, Germans & Italians... There were some Genovesi, Serbian & Turkish attempts to capture the island but weren't successful. After the WWII, it came back to Croats under the united kingdom of the Southern Slavs which was called Yugoslavia later on.
Today Korčula is mostly touristic city with a well developed hospitality industry ranging from hotels & hostels to many different forms of private accommodation. I can't tell you more about the payed accommodation cause for the 2 nights I slept at my friends place & for the rest 3-4 nights I slept in the park just little bit above the city. It was still summer & I like sleeping freely under the stars & for free, like it suppose to be - naturally! Even thou there are laws which that you must not sleep like this if it can be called - camping! But I didn't set up a tent nor any other kind of improvised home. I just tied up a hammock between 2 trees & slept there so deep but again I was somehow alert to any sound or movement happening around me. I really like to practice this level of freedom!
Except various accommodation offered, there are a lot of bars & restaurants ranging from the local oriented traditional cuisine to some exotic cuisines like Mexican, Spanish, Chinese to Arab. In many of these places you can try the exquisite domestic vine & olive oil but also many different fresh fish & meat based dishes along with the cheese produced on the island! There are still many fishermen operating daily & the most famous vine on the island is called Grk (which in Croatian means "Greek") & it is said that this sort of grapevine was brought by the Greeks more than 2500 years ago & is still cultivated on the island!
Personally, I don't eat fish nor meat so I can't say how tasty it is nor I can or would propose anyone to eat it neither I can tell where would be the best place to it! Sorry for that but it's my duty to save & protect the poor creatures as well as your souls & mine! Due to that, I can't say the prices of the dishes either! But if you really want to the domestic dishes, I would propose that you find a domestic taverns. I remember that there was one in the old town called Konoba "Aterina", situated just on the city walls on the right when you climb the Western city gates:
But I also went to the tourist office to ask them to propose me some of the best local taverns & they did! They explained me where they are & what they offer & gave me the brochures about the islands gastronomy. I was thinking that in the tourist office the workers must be from around & know all these little secrets & I was right!
The core of the city is an old town constructed out of small stone houses connected together with narrow streets passages in between - similar as every other Mediterranean town - which style makes them all very cute, warm & picturesque. In the center of the city there's a church with a tower on which you can climb up to witness the incredible sight in every direction:
Towards the North - Pelješac peninsula
Towards the South-East - roof tops & port of Korčula with some smaller island in the distance
Me & the million dollar smile
In the city's narrow alleys you can find many different stores offering all sorts of stuff you might need while you stay there & for the locals who live there all year long. There's also a big supermarket built a bit outside of the city - maybe 1 km far out.
The stone details on some of the houses are really extraordinary! For example the stone head on this house is pretty fascinating for me! I believe it served as a part of the gutter through which the rain came down from the roof & looked like the head is spitting water through its mouth... But unfortunately it's not in use anymore. The stone carriers aside the head were probably carrying the balcony which now looks like fallen apart.
On the square just outside the Southern city gates, there's an every day fair going on where people on the stands are selling all sorts of stuff too! In the morning, you can buy domestic food there too & the fish market is next to it.
Southern city gates
Stone Wall With Towers
One of the very best preserved stone walls with towers in Croatia are these in Korčula. I'm not familiar with how long is the stone wall nor exactly how many towers are still standing (I am totally sure of 4!) but just take a look on the first photo of this article & the following images & you will be able to make your own conclusions:
This is the central city beach. Behind it is a big square & a crossroad where the traffic is allowed but under the strict rules cause it's also a walking zone
From the Northern point of the city, all along the Eastern coastline, there's the longest stone wall preserved on top of which are the most restaurants situated
Under this Eastern wall, people go Sun bathing on the rocks & swimming in the crystal clear sea
There's also the romantic ambiance present & nothing would go without the pine trees meeting the sea
The Eastern stone wall finishes with the South-Eastern tower where you can still sea the remaining few canons which were monitoring & defending the port & the city in the past
All around the old town & under the city walls there are small sandy beaches & pretty cultivated rocks where you can lie down, relax & enjoy the paradise & jump into the crystal clear sea whenever you feel like. I went for a swim on many of these sights but still I like to go swimming naked & there's no chance of being naked so close to the city so regularly I went to Lumbarda which is another settlement just maybe 5 km from Korčula which is more wilder & there are bigger pine forests growing very near the sea with naturally flat rocks to lie down & there you can be naked all day long!
A look towards the old town from the small beach in the newer part of the city
The most beautiful beach in the city is this one, situated on the most Northern point where the Eastern stone wall begins (check the 1st photo of this article)
Connections With The Mainland
Korčula is really well connected with mainland! There are 2 direct ferries coming from the land: 1 is going from Split to Vela luka & the other from Orebić to Korčula every day. I think there's another speedboat coming from Dubrovnik too. Probably there are other boats coming to & going from the island... There are also numerous other small private sailing boats & yachts visiting the island too along with the traditional, domestic wooden boats with & without sails & a lot of bigger & smaller fishermen boats working around. The waters around the island are surely very busy!
Usually I'm not so interested in the sacrificial architecture & monuments but this monastery attracted me with its look & with exactly 13 angel statues - 10 on the terrace & 3 on the roof. (I've heard some rumors that there were 13 apostles & not 12!)
I am pretty interested in the religious numerology so I noticed the possible importance of the numbers displayed in the form of the angel statues in the Christian philosophy:
10 God's commands
3 member family: Virgin Mary, Joseph & Jesus
3 entities: Holy Father, Son & The Holy Spirit
Moreška is a specific traditional sword dance which is today performed only in Korčula & in non of the other parts of Croatia. It is a symbol of the Christian - Muslim wars from the Middle Ages. It is definitely worth to watch! More about it read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More%C5%A1ka
Marco was one of the most famous explorers of all time. He's is famous for his long travels to Chine & there's his house in Korčula's old town very well preserved & turned into a museum. Some even say that he was born in Korčula. It's not important at all but if you like these kind of details of history, here's another reason to visit Korčula!
The Music Of Korčula
In some of the local bars you can listen to the various live music during the summer time which I believe is much lesser in the winter time when probably many of the restaurants & bars are closed as well as the hotels & other accommodation. Musician come from various parts of Croatia but also the overseas. The traditional music of the island is mostly choir multi men voice music with its roots from the far past where there were no radios or TVs on the island so the people were often meeting in konoba (=tavern) & singing there in companies with the rivers of the good old domestic vine pouring down their throats to keep them moist enough so they could sing till late at night. These man choir companies in Croatian are called klape & the type of the music is called klapsko pjevanje.
I also played some music in the city during my stay there. Almost every evening I was coming down with my djembe to the square just a bit under the Southern city gates where this fountain is built:
Every evening I had this nice ladies dancing in front of me while I was playing "djembe"
The reactions of the domestics & the tourist were pretty friendly & lots of them were really enjoying the music I performed. Many came to sit down on the wall around the fountain & listened to the whole concerts. Some of the workers from the nearby stores were leaving their jobs only for the few moments to come to throw few coins in my hat & of course, the smallest & youngest people - children - had the most surprising reactions to my vibes, as always.
Me departing from Korčula on a ferry to Orebić
One of the sea passages between some smaller island near Korčula
If you every plan to visit Croatia, then Korčula is definitely one of the places worth of visiting! I would surely go there again to enjoy all the beauties it's offering!
Bye, bye Korčula!