Korcula is an old settlement on the island of the same name – island Korcula (Croatia) and is located on the north-east side of the island. It is located in the Peljesac channel and faces straight to the place Orebic on the Peljesac peninsula. This narrow channel in the old times represented a strategic advantage of the town of Korcula, both in the form of shelter from inclement weather and from human activities and various attacks. Korcula got its name in ancient times. It is first mentioned in ancient Greece, several centuries before Christ (Korkyira).
The name was given to her by the Dorans of the Greek city of Knidos. Because the same nami has also Corfu Island in Greece, Strabon in the 1st century BC. adds the adjective melaina (black) to the name Korkyra to make it different from Korkyra in the south. The same Dorans founded the first colony on the island near Vela Luka on the western side of the island in the 6th century BC, second one in Lumbarda and the third one in the present-day town of Korcula.
The Greeks who stayed here knew very well how to use Korcula’s natural geographical location. First of all, good protection against attackers and weather conditions, but also a maritime trade position. It is thanks to this fact that Korcula owes its ancient reputation to top merchants. One of them is the world’s most famous traveler and merchant born right here on Korcula, Marko Polo. We will talk about it later.
At the beginning of the 15th century Korcula was under the rule of the Dubrovnik Republic, and from 1420 to 1797 under Venice. From 1797 to 1805 it was under Austria, to be conquered by Napoleon and the French in 1806, until 1815 when it was again under Austria. It was under Italian occupation from 1918 to 1921 and from 1941 to 1943, and under German occupation from 1943 to 1944. Since 1945 it has been an integral part of the Federal Republic of Croatia in Yugoslavia, and after its dissolution in 1991 it became a part of Croatia.
Marko Polo is a unique character, as a travel writer and world-renowned traveler. There are no unknowns or disputes about his life, character and work, but there are many debates about his origin and place of birth. For example, Croats claim that he was born in Korcula, where his house is still there today, while Italians believe he was born in Venice. In favor of the Croats is the fact that the surname Pol existed much earlier than his Latin derivative Polo, and the names of his father and uncle also. They were called Nikola and Mate, from which later Italian synonyms such as Niccolo and Matteo developed. This is supported by earlier records of the first two names with the surname Pol, not Polo.
In any case, one thing is certain: Marco Polo was born in the Venetian Republic at that time, which included Korcula and Venice. This colorful man was the pioneer of traveling east to China. He met many people and cultures on his journey, but surely the most important of all was the great Mongolian Kublai-kan, who at the time had his capital in present-day Beijing. From China, Mark’s father and uncle returned as Kublai-kan’s deputies to the Pope with a letter in which Kublai-kan begs the Pope to send him educated people and teachers to teach in his empire. When those with the Pope’s answer and two Dominicans made their way to Mongolia again. In 1271, they took with them 17-year-old Marco Polo.
After four years of travel, vol. In 1275, they reached Kublai Khan. Marco Polo became a trustee of Cannes and remained in his service for 17 years. A few years after his service Marco Polo returned to Venice, he participated in a battle where he was captured. This battle took place between Venice and Genoa right next to Korcula. On that occasion, Marco was taken and imprisoned in Genoa. As he had a roommate of Rustichelli in the Genoa prison, he told him all his stories and events from the trip. For this reason, his “roommate” later wrote down all these stories in his book Livre des merveilles du monde in French. Today, this book is known under the Italian title “Il millione”, and is the third most translated and read book in human history after the Bible and the Quran.
Polo served as an inspiration to the many adventurers after him who, due to his stories and his life journey, tried out the same. One of them and certainly the most famous is definitely Christopher Columbus. On January 8, 1324, Marco Polo died and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Venice as he wished.
Moreška is a knightly sword fighting dance created around the 12th century in the Mediterranean. The name “Moreška” was created after the Moors – Morisks, and thus the Spanish adjective morisco and in the Italian moresco. It is believed that the first Moreška was developed in the Spanish Lerida in 1150 as a memorial for the expulsion of the Moors. however, similar sword dances had spread throughout Catholic Europe by the end of the 14th century. The first information about Moreška in our area dates back to 1273 in Trogir. In Croatia, this knightly game has been performed on Korčula every year since the 15th century.
Of the other settlements, the most famous are Vela Luka in the west, Blato in the inner part in the middle of the island, Lumbarda, Smokvica, Čara and others.
Vela Luka is the largest town on the island of Korcula and has a direct ferry line to Split. It has about 5000 inhabitants and is very deep and well protected from wind and waves. The population is mostly engaged in agriculture, winemaking and olive growing and fishing. The village also houses the Greben Shipyard and the Jadranka Fish Factory. Among the sights are the church of St. Joseph and the chapel of St. Vicenzo as well as the cultural and artistic society Hum, which nurtures folklore and traditional dances.
Čara and Smokvica are best known for growing grape vines and producing wines of the same name, which are some of the most respected in the country and beyond.
Lumbarda is located near the town of Korcula and is adapted for boaters since it has a marina for mooring boats.
Among the celebrities along with travel writer Marco Polo, it is worth mentioning musician Oliver Dragovjevic, one of the greatest singer from the former Yugoslavia, Jakov Banicevic who was a diplomat and Vinko Paletin who was a famous Croatian seaman and cartographer.
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