2016 is the year of celebration for Stari Grad!
Next year will see a special celebration for the town of Stari Grad, which was once the capital of the island of Hvar.
Known initially as Faros, after the colonisation of Ancient Greeks from the Island of Paros, the town - which literally translates as "Old Town" - celebrates a special birthday in 2016 - 2,400 years.
Claimed by some as the oldest town in all Croatia (although the inhabitants of neighbouring Vis may contest that), Stari Grad remains much of its ancient charm, and it remains one of Croatia's most historic and architecturally important towns. The Greek influence was followed by the Roman, and several others, while the spectacular fortress home of Petar Hektorovic is an important monument to an important time in Croatian history.
The pedestrianised streets of the old town have a charm of their own, but it is a neighbouring field which has the traditionalists more excited, for in 2008, the 80 hectares of the Ager, or Hora, or Stari Grad Plain became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of only seven in all Croatia. The agricultural colony started by the Ancient Greeks all those years ago continues today, largely uninterrupted, with the most important products being the decendents of the vines and olive trees transported from Greece all those years ago.
With Hvar tourism focused on beaches and nightlife these days, perhaps next year's special and ancient birthday will give people to remember the rich heritage and tradition of this magical island. Confirmed celebrations of the special event will surely be forthcoming, with the actual birthday in the calendar marked for September 9, but for now a large banner of welcome at the nearby ferry terminal serves as a reminder of what should be a special year.
Stari Grad is one of the most underrated places on Hvar, a mixture of hertitage, culture, fine gastronomy and laganini lifestyle. If you have not discovered it yet, perhaps next year is the year...
Learn more about Stari Grad - http://villashvar.com/en/the-island/town-of-stari-grad
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Rafael Janic Photography