"A living open air museum" Top 5 Page for this destination Korcula by JLBG

Korcula Travel Guide: 163 reviews and 452 photos

Korčula is a long and narrow island of southern Dalmatia. It is almost 50 km long with a mean width of 6 km. It is the sixth largest island in the Adriatic:
Creš: 406 km2
Krk: 405 km2
Brač: 396 km2
Pag: 305 km2.
Hvar: 297 km2
Korcula: 279 km2

At one point, the island is only 1 270 m from the peninsula of Pleješac, i.e. from the continent. Then, no wonder if the island has been inhabited since the Neolithic. The Greeks, since Vith BC, named the island Corcyra Melaina (the Black Corfu). Much later, Korcula became part of the Venetian Republic and was named Curzola, still its name in Italian.

The city of Korčula has 3 000 inhabitants and the municipality, that includes several smaller communities, 6 000 inhabitants. The town was already mentioned in the Xth AD by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, emperor and historian, who described it as a “walled city”. It was certainly established as a town-fortress in order to control the navigation in the strait. Present days Korcula has no standing remains of that Romanesque period. The city was entirely rebuilt in the Xvth while it was Venetian, hence the oldest parts of the ancient city date from that period and are of Venetian style. At its peak, in the XVIth, the old town had 6 000 inhabitants and must have been really crowded! Until the XVIIIth is was forbidden to build houses out of the walls, for security reasons.

The old town of Korčula is often named “an open air museum” and it deserves that name. Historic town of Korčula has been inscribed in 2007 on the tentative list of the Unesco World Heritage. I paste here an extract of the “Justification for Outstanding Universal Value”. For more, visit Korčula which gives a very detailed account of the reasons why the site has been inscribed on the list.

The image of historical Korčula is marked by its symbiosis with the rocky peninsula on which the town grew and achieved an exceptional symbiosis between human work and natural environment, which has been noticed by many ancient and modern travellers. Its most outstanding feature is the homogeneity of its urban structure, built in local stone (quarries in nearby islands) which has conditioned technical and morphological qualities of local architecture. The town of Korčula and the surrounding region was the centre of stone masons for centuries which remained one of the main ecconomic assets of local government. It comes as no surprise that over 85% of preserved buildings dates from before the 17th century, when development came to a halt. In fact, 48% of buildings in the historical core dates from the 15th & 16th centuries. The high degree of preservation contributes to the evaluation of the architectural ensemble - indeed, the entire historical town of Korčula is inscribed into the Register of monuments of the Republic of Croatia. Evaluations confirm that 54% of the buildings is very well preserved, 31% well preserved while 9% falls into the category of poorly preserved buildings, the positive saldo being higher than in other historical urban ensembles along the Croatian coast. Although at the beginning of the 19th century the outer fortifications were cut down or dismantled, most of the prominent towers were kept intact, challenging the cathedral bell tower and contributing to the authentic skyline. Modem interventions in the historical core are rare and amount up to 3%, without imperiling the authenticity of the ensemble.

  • Last visit to Korcula: Jun 2009
  • Intro Updated Nov 15, 2009
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Reviews (33)

Comments (10)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Another interesting page on Croatia!
    I thought the Adam & Eve Statues were rather weird,it would be interesting to find out why they were sculpted like that.
    Love your Restaurant by the water, I always enjoy a meal with great views, especially if the service is slow!

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    Excellent Korcula travel page. Korcula seems to have lots of wonderful and interesting tourist attractions. Cathedrals and churches, Marco Polo's House, Bishop's Palace and Land Gate really attract us a lot. Thanks for the virtual tour. ~ho & pang

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2009 at 5:16 AM

    I love Larrys comment (I would have to agree with his theory!) Interesting tip re Marco Polo connection. Good photos. I will return here to finish my tour.

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    Jean-Louis, Adam and Eve have constipated looks on their faces. Maybe they represent locations for the restrooms. lol

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Dec 4, 2009 at 6:03 AM

    great photos and tips. i really love the croatian islands myself.

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    The same crouching lions accompanied by Adam and Eve guard Split's cathedral and they stand guard at Trogir's. I'm sure they're nothing to do with Venice. I love mysteries ... good stuff here. leyle

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2009 at 4:01 AM

    There are so many mysterious things here! The strange figures of Adam and Eve, and the Venice or non-Venice lions. I once went to this area years ago, but with small children so I didn't pay so much attention to the sculptures and architecture.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    Another wonderful destination that is rich in culture and architecture! Lovely page that compliments all the others. Have a great day!

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2009 at 11:32 PM

    Another very interesting place in Croatia I never heard about. This is really a pearl of Adriatic which I guess isn't overcrowded by tourists. Thank you Jean-Louis! Unfortunately I can't answer your questions, haha!

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    I learned a lot in this beautiful page, Jean-Louis: I knew about the links between Venice and Dalmatia, but not that they were so tight! A pleasure to walk with you in this old city and reading your comments and questions. Interesting Lions!


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