The cathedral of St. Marco was built in 15th century by local craftsmen who were famous for their skills from Venice to Dubrovnik. Cathedral has many amazing works of art and relicts, the most famous one is probably the "Lady Of The Island" icon which had supposedly protected Korcula from Turkish invasion in 1571. It might be the work of Jacopo Tintoretto, just like other four great paintings purchased in Italy in 16th century.
Performances are on Thursday evenings, so don't miss it, make sure you arrange your islanfd hopping around it as it is a definate must see.
From the 12th century and particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, the dance spread to many Mediterranean countries: to Italy, Corsica, Sicily, Malta, France and, through Spanish trade, to Flanders, Germany and even to England.
Today, Korcula is the only island where it is still danced with real swords in its original War-Dance form and where it has enjoyed a proud and almost unbroken tradition for over four centuries, though the text, music and pattern of the dance have been slightly altered and shortened (the contest used to last for two hours!) over the years.
The biggest and the most beautiful building of Korcula - the Cathedral of St. Marco - is on the top of the town. South from it, there is the Bishop's Palace (1342;1653/1860) where the Abbatial Treasury of St. Marco is placed today with a rich collection of Croatian and Italian Renaissance artists, a collection of manuscripts and books and a collection of the ceremonial clothes. North from the Cathedral, there is a small church of St. Peter - probably the oldest preserved church in the town from the 11th century/1388 - in which the Renaissance portal of the master Bonino da Milano and the wooden statues of the apostles are situated - the work of the Venetian sculptors from the 18th century. On the western side of the square, there is Crkva Gospojina (Church of Our Lady) from 1483, the Renaissance work of the local builders, where the tombs of the historical Korcula families are situated as well as the tomb of the defender from Turkish assault, the priest Rozanovic. There are also beautifully decorated gravestones, and a big mosaic of the Dutch artist Louis Schrikkela on the altar, from 1964-67. There is a flag column on the square next to the Crkva Gospojina from 1515
Korcula Town, a marvel of medieval urban planning which has charmed foreign visitors since the first tourists arrived in the 1920s.
Korcula is one of the few islands served by busses (which board a ferry to the island). The bus station is at Prat. Bb (Ticket and info window open M – Sa 6:30 – 9am, 9:30am – 4pm and 4:30 to 7pm. Su 2 – 7pm) Busses run to Dubrovnik (31/2 hr, 1 per day 62kn).
Ferries run to Dubrovnik (31/2 hr, 5 per week, 64kn); Hvar (3hr, 1-2 pd, 62kn). Ferries from other destations connects Vela Luka and Sobra on Miljet.
Accommodation and food:-
Private Rooms are the only budget accommodation available. Although Marko Polo, Biline 5, will arrange one for you, they don’t necessarily offer the best deals, shop around at the tourist office and check out local options. Marko Polo is on the waterfront where the ferry docks. Singles 76 – 160kn; diybkes 100 – 212kn; triple 140 – 272kn). Prices depend on the season. Tourist tax 4.50 – 7kn. Look for sobe (room) signs uphill from the buss station away from Stari Grad.
. It was built in 1813 on the place of the Venetian fortification of the open type from 1616, and the French fortification of the "redoute" type from 1803-1813. The remnants of these defence walls can be seen still, and the church of St. Vlaho was pulled down during the building of the English tower. From this hill and the very tower, which today serves as the telecommunication station, a wonderful view extends to the Korcula archipelago and the island of Mljet on the east, to the interiour of the island on the south, to the Peljesac Channel and the island of Hvar on the west, and to the old town and the mountain St. Elias on the north.
Within the old town city walls, you will notice that some buildings have the amblem "Bratovscina ..." - "Fraternity of ...". The Fraternity of St. Rok was established in 16th century, and like most others had important role in religious and social life of the city.
Even today religious processions in Korcula are led by members of these fraternities.
Built in 1505, and extended with the eastern aisle in 1665. The altar of the western aisle is decorated by the valuable copy of Tizian's painting "Torturing of Saint Peter". The original was damaged in the meantime and the copy remained, made in the master's school. The monastery possesses, Beside this painting and the painting by the painter Poncun "Miracle of St. Dominic in Surian", numerous other works of art, and a rich library. The building of the monastery is partly fortified because it experienced several attacks during its history. There is a very picturesque "mandrac" - a small port for the monastery boats - nearby.
You have to go snorkeling while you are here. The water is warm, and beautiful and there are no sharks or sea snakes. There is plenty to look at underwater, such as little electric blue fish, sea cucumbers and octopus (in some parts).
I bought some little kid inner tubes for floatation but the water is so salty that it'll keep you afloat with virtually no effort on your end.
In the center of town you can buy a really good set of mask and snorkel for $10 there's alot to choose from but the vendors are honest and will lead you in the direction of the quality cheap ones.
The human figures that hold the lions are Eve, on the left and Adam on the right. They are naked, which makes sense but on most if not all religious representations of Adam and Eve, their private parts are more or less hidden. Not so here! Not only is it a full frontal representation that does not hide anything of their anatomy but the way they are sitting down on one’s heels and above a hole arises the question: what are they doing besides holding the corbel! The answer seemed pretty obvious to me but I cannot write it here!
They were carved by Master Bonino da Malino, a famous sculptor from Milan, that made also carvings for the cathedral of Šibenik.
Photo 1. Eve.
Photo 2. Adam
I have received from Larry the following comment that I paste here:
travelgourmet Mon Dec 7, 2009 20:14 CET
Jean-Louis, Adam and Eve have constipated looks on their faces. Maybe they represent locations for the restrooms. lol.
Thank you Larry for your commitment to the subject! You might have solved the mystery!
While the Old Town of Korcula is the main focus of most visitors’ interests – and justifiably so, for its medieval walled fortified charm, narrow lanes that self-ventilate because of attention to city planning, a fascinating museum, opulent abbey treasury, and Gothic-Renaissance cathedral -- practical aspects of the "newer" town can assist the traveler.
Seasons: I’ve stayed here in both early September and mid-April. April was by far my favorite, as luckily the weather was perfect and sunny, breezy but not cold, and there were virtually no tourists. September was hot, crowded with tourists, but on the other hand it was also a livelier scene.
Upon arrival, look for this posted map to orient yourself. It’s along the west waterfront just south of the tourist office, which is beside the prominent Hotel Korcula. The tourist office did not have free maps, like most – they enforced buying theirs, which I find defeats the purpose of aiding the traveler.
Southeast of the walled town is a piazza-type area adjacent to the sea, which has a supermarket, several internet cafes nearby (photo #2), a colorful fruit and veggie market (photo #3), Marko Polo Tours, and the grand formal stone staircase which takes one through the walled city’s south gate (Veliki Revelin, photo #4). From here, the charming old town starts, often crowded with tourists (photo #5). Seaside restaurants and cafes encircle the peninsula-like town, adjacent to the ramparts.
Instead of tourist trinkets, I brought back for my friends small locally-made items from the supermarket, things that the average Korculan might use – spices such as paprika, great jams, tinned pates, specialized herb teas, and local brandy.
For those interested in boating, there’s a large marina nearby, where sailors of many nationalities congregate at the Yacht Club, and also dozens of locally built wooden tour boats, made from the island’s indigenous holm-oak. For taxis, rental cars, bicycles, and scooters, contact www.korcula-croatia.com or email@example.com.
Marco Polo was born in 1254. probably in Korcula - his father Nikola (Niccolo) was a successful merchant who together with his brother Mate (Matteo) and son Marko (Marco) reached China overland.
Some historians think Marko was born in Venice, others support the simple logic that he was born in his father's home - the building still stands inside old town of Korcula. Family name Depolo (de Polo - of Polo's) is still alive in this ancient town.
You can visit the remains of this house (private property) for a small fee and take a look at few pictures and maps.
The city wall was mostly built in the XIVth and partly put down in 1875. It has eight remaining defense towers. Most are standing, one has only the basement left. To make things more complicated, most of them have several names. Depending on what document you read, you might feel they are different while this is the same. Some documents have not been thoroughly checked and mention the same tower several times, under different names. I have tried to make it clear but if I am mistaking, feel free to correct me.
From west, clockwise :
Velika kneževa Kula,
Mala kneževa Kula,
Kula Morska Vrata,
Kula Kanalević or Balbi Tower
Kula Zakerjan or Bokar Tower or Barbarigo tower or St Barbara tower.
Kula Svih Svetih (basement) or Capello tower,
Photo 1. Massive Velika kneževa kula (Large Knight’s Tower) is the most impressive of the towers of Korcula city wall. It stands at the end of Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana. In the back ground Mala kneževa kula (Small Knight’s Tower)
Photo 2. Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana (Franje Tudjman Avenue) with Velika kneževa kula in the background. The photo was taken in front of Hotel Korčula.
Photo 3. A 1990 photo of what is now named Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana, with Kula Kanalević on the left (see following tip), Kula Morska Vrata in the middle (not easy to identify) and on top St Mark Cathedral.
Photo 1. On top of each of the knotted columns, stands a leaning lion, roaring. Each of them has under its paws a lamb that seems to be alive. A human figure holds the corbel with the lion (see next tip). At first, I felt that they were the usual Venice lions. However, Venice lions are winged and moreover, usually feed on books, not on lambs! Hence, I wonder if these are Venice lions!
Photo 2 shows the lion on the right of the entrance.
Photo 3 shows again the lion on the right of the entrance but this front photo shows better the lamb.
Photo 4 is another front photo that shows the lamb on the left.
Photo 5. I have made an enlargement on both lambs. They do not seem to be pleased by their position!
That arises the question: “why Venice lions are winged?” I have searched clues and found an answer that links them somehow and unexpectedly with Korčula! The oldest winged lion has been found in Tarsus, in Cilicia (Turkey) and was dedicated to Sandon, the pagan god that protected the city. It was built at the end of the Ivth AD. Cilicia is along the silk route, that followed the most famous citizen of Korčula, Marco Polo. It is very likely that some Venetian trader on the silk route (why not Marco Polo himself?) brought back to Venice a statue of that very special winged lion which became soon the Venice lion. The first documented (written) mention of the Venice winged lion dates from 1293. That lion is very special not only because it is winged but also because it is partly a lion and partly a griffon. It’s face is more human than the face of an actual lion.
The face from Korčula’s lions sticks to that pattern but they are not winged. Then, what? It is very likely that they are Venice lions (Saint Marc lions!) but nevertheless, I would be happy to know why they are so different from the usual pattern of Venice lions.
On the stone bench around the Town Hall, are carved several copies of the same game. It is made of a square divided into 16 smaller squares. Some of the diagonals have been carved too: those starting from the angles of the larger square and those that connect the middle of each face. I had seen the same in Hvar but I have not found for what game it is used.
Seen from above, the old town of Korčula looks like a sole: the main street that runs from north to south figures the backbone. On both sides, narrow alleys figure the bones These alleys are all very narrow, which in summer prevent the sun from hitting directly and in windy days prevent the wind from blowing too hard. Each of them is different. Here are a selection of some of them.
Photo 1. in this one, a bridge has been built between two houses and it seems to be a dead end with a private terrace.
Photo 2. This one has stairs and another style of bridge between two houses.
Photo 3. This one is neat with flower pots and benches to sit down.
Photo 4. Another one with stairs. It is a bit wider, which allows to set the tables of a restaurant.
Photo 5. In this one, not only is there a restaurant but also a huge rubber plant (ficus elastica), which shows that ne climate is mild enough to allow it outside.