Don't Miss Your Cultural Fix
Hvar, the UNESCO Island. That might be a surprising way to hear Hvar described to many, for it is better known to the masses for its sunshine, beaches, nightlife, celebrities and lavender.
And yet long before Beyonce and Tom Cruise visited, long before Prince Harry enhanced the party reputation by going for THAT swim, and long even before the first lavender was planted, the cultural tradition of Hvar was famous far beyond its shores.
This was the island which built the first public theatre in all Europe in 1612, a theatre which still exists today on the main square of Hvar Town, itself the largest in Dalmatia at an impressive 4,700m2. This is where organised tourism in Europe began in 1868, just opposite the theatre, where the current Hotel Palace is located.
But one thing which stands Hvar apart from the rest is its UNESCO heritage. The jewel in the crown is one of only seven World Heritage Sites in the country, the Stari Grad Plain, which was established by the Ancient Greeks in 384 BC, and continues relatively untouched today as it was then. It is one of the most untapped tourism attractions in Croatia, and if you are interested to know more, contact us for some rather unique walking tours.
No island in the world has three UNESCO heritages, but Hvar has four specific to the island, and five if one includes the intangible heritage of klapa singing for the region of southern Dalmatia.
The "Za Križen" Easter Procession in the six towns and villages of Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska is one of the most important occasions in the Hvar calendar, and it is joined on the list by the incredible lace produced from agave by the Benedictine nuns in their convent in Hvar Town, where they have been for more than 350 years. In Mexico, they make tequila from agave, on Hvar, lace...
A fourth intangible heritage was added in 2014, as the islands of Hvar and Brač were included in a list with five other locations in the Mediterranean, as the Mediteranean diet in these locations was added to the list of UNESCO intangible heritages.
The addition of the diet made for an intriguing moment in time. If you have dinner in the Stari Grad Plain as the Easter Procession passes though on Maundy Thursday just before Easter, with a klapa group performing for you, you can experience four UNESCO heritages at the same time.
Now THAT is unique, and just one more reason why Hvar is Croatia's premier island.
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Source - Tourist Board Hvar / Agave Lace Produced by the Benedictine Nuns