Island Korcula

Korcula is an island in the Adriatic Sea, in the Dubrovnik-Neretva county of Croatia. It belongs to the group of middle Dalmatian islands. The island has an area of 279 km2, it is 46.8 km long and on average 7.8 km wide. It is the sixth largest island in the Adriatic. Korcula has around 20 000 inhabitants which makes it the second most populous Adriatic island after Krk.

Korcula is divided from the peninsula Peljesac by a narrow channel called Peljesac channel. Through history the channel had big importance as south entrance to the channel system of our coast. Korcula is connected with the mainland by ferry line between Domince (Korcula) and Orebic(Peljesac). The distance between these two ports is around 1,2 km.

Island Korcula

On the island are towns of Korcula, Vela Luka and Blato, coastal villages of Lumbarda and Racisce, and in the interior villages Zrnovo, Pupnat, Smokvica and Cara. The main road of the island connects all settlements from Lumbarda on the eastern to Vela Luka on the western end, with the exception of Racisce. Racisce is connected with Korcula by a separate road running along the northern coast. Vela Luka is situated in the biggest bay on the island. Between Raznjic (near Lumbarda) and town Korcula is the most indented part of the coast surrounded by small, mostly uninhabitated islands: Badija, Vrnik, Planjak, Gubavac, Sutvara, Stupe, Majsan, Gojak, Sestrice, Bisace and others. I strongly recommend you to visit some of those islets during your stay in Korcula.

Korcula archipelago

Town Korcula

View on Korcula The town of Korcula is the tourist, economic and cultural center of the island of the same name. It is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the Mediterranean. The town is full of beautiful narrow streets, fortresses and castles, churches and town squares. For a long time in history Korcula was under Venetian Republic. Venetian dodges fortified the town in order to ensure passage through Peljesac channel for its war and trade ships.

Korcula was built on a hill and fortified with stone walls. The entrance to the old city center is through the gate in Revelin Tower built in 1863. Streets of the town are distributed in the form of the fish-bone. The main street as the back-bone goes from the main Revelin Tower till the Zakrjan Tower on the north. Narrow side streets meet the main street under the angle of 90 degrees and in that way make fish bone. On the main city tower, Revelin, are two symbols of the Korcula history: the stone slab with a winged lion, the symbol of Venetian rule and the slab memorizing the coronation of the first Croatian King Tomislav int he 10th century.

The main Korcula's street leads towards cathedral Of St Mark from the 15th century. It has characteristics of the Appulian medieval art and Venetian-Dalmatian Gothic style. This stone beauty was built with the stone from the islands Vrnika and Kamenjak. Contructors were mostly local masters. The high altar is adorned with the altar painting by Jacopo Tintoretti. It represents three saints: St. Mark - protector of Korcula, St. Jerome - protector of Dalmatia and St. Bartholomew - protector of shipbuilders. The crypt of the altar keeps the sarcophagus with the bones of the other protector of Korcula - St. Theodore. In the 16th century the chappel of St. Rocco was added next to the cathedral and so it assumed its presenr appearance. Next to the cathedral was bishop's court - today mostly transformed the Abbatial Treasury. It was founded in 1954 by Ivo Matijaca and contains exceptional collection of works of art. In the neghbourhood is also the Town musem situated in beautiful palace Gabriellis from the 16th century. On the north side of the cathedral is church of St. Peter, from the 14th century, the oldest church in the town. In front of the cathedral is recenty reconstructed palace of Korcula nobel family Arneri.

In the old part of town Korcula is the house of Marco Polo. Next to the Zakrjan Tower is courtyard of Kanavelic family. There is the birth house of the great Korcula poet Petar Kanavelic. Primary school in Korcula town has his name. In the same street is Sea Gate Tower. On the tower is inscription to the glory of the Troyan hero Antenor who, according to the legend, founded Korcula. Near the west port of the town is a Loggia from 1548, an open area on stone columns. Today, there is the Tourist Board of Korcula. In the neighbourhood are big and small Prince's towers. On the east side of the town are Rampada with guns and Arsenal from 1572. Between Arsenal and the Town gates is tower Revelin.

The main square of the new part of the city is Plokata. There is a memorial font as a reminder of the arrival of water to the town of Korcula from the Neretva river, on 13. 06. 1986. Nearby is the St. Justina square with church that carries the same name. On the dome of the church is the statue of the resurrected Christ, the work of the sculptor Radica.

Street of St. Nicholas leads to the Dominican Convent (1905. g.). Further on are the church of St. Nicholas, promontory of St. Nicholas and Maksimilijan Vanka Gallery.

On of the symbols of Korcula is Moreska. It is a romantic war dance with swords that spread originally from the Mediterranean countries in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is supposed that Moreska first came to Korcula from Spain in the 16th century across the South Italy and Dubrovnik. Later, through centuries, Moreska disappeared from the Mediterranean while it is still deeply rooted in Korcula, where its today's pattern of an attractive war dance with real swords is unique in the whole world. Moro, the Black King's son takes by force and imprisons the White King's fiancee ( Bula ). There is a fight between the two armies. The fight consists of 7 parts or strokes ("kolap"). In the end the White army wins and Bula and White King are again together.


The first inhabitants of the island were Mesolithic and Neolithic people. The archaeological evidence of this were found at the sites of Vela Spila or Big Cave near Vela Luka and at Jakas Cave near the village of Zrnovo. The finds of Vela Spila can be seen in the Center for Culture in Vela Luka.

The next inhabitants of the island were Illyrians who arrived approximately 1000 B.C. They were semi-nomadic tribal people living from agriculture. They left behind numerous old stone buildings and fortresses.

The ancient Greeks came to Korcula in the 6th century B.C. and founded a colony Korkyra Melaina (Black Korcula). The Greeks named it after their homeland and the dense pine-woods on the island. Greek artifacts can be found at the Korcula town museum. A stone inscription found in Lumbarda - Psephisma - is the oldest written stone monument in Croatia. It records that Greek settlers from Issa (Vis) founded another colony on the island in the 3rd century BC. The two communities lived peacefully until the Illyrian Wars (220 BC to 219 BC) with the Romans.

The island became part of the Roman province of Illyricum after the Illyrian Wars. Roman migration followed and Roman citizens arrived on the island. Roman villas appeared through the territory of Korčula and there is evidence of an organised agricultural exploitation of the land. There are archaeological remains of Roman Junianum on the island and old church foundations. In 10 AD Illyricum was split into two provinces, Pannonia and Dalmatia. Korčula became part of the ancient Roman province of Dalmatia.

In the 7th century Croatians came to Korcula. The Christianization of the Croats began in the 9th century, but the early Croatian rural inhabitants of the island may well have fully accepted Christianity later.

The Statute of Korčula dates from 1214. That is the second oldest legal document among Slavs. It guaranteed the autonomy of the island. At that time Korcula had less than 2500 inhabitants.

During its exciting history Korcula was under government of Republic of Genoa, Republic of Venice, Hungary, France in the period of Napoleon, Austrian Empire, Austro-Hungary. There are many monuments showing influences from this the cultures in Korcula.

Marco Polo was born in Korcula in 1254. He was a famous merchant that was travelling all the way to China. In the 1298 Genoa defeated Venice in front of Korcula. The battle is known as the Battle of Korcula. Marco Polo, was taken prisoner by the victors taken to Genoa prison. There he was writing of his amazing travels.