HVAR TOURIST INFORMATION
Hvar (Croatia, Central Dalmatia, Island Hvar) is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia.
The island has gentle winters, hot summers and many hours of sunshine, gentle and soft winters (January Hvar has an average temperature of 8.4° C). It has many advantages, and other things enabling winter tourism in Hvar. Maximum temperatures never go too high, making the agriculture impossible (the highest recorded temperature of 37°C was reached in 1935). The average year air temperature is around 16.5° C, while autumns are warmer than springs, what prolongs the growing period.
GEOLOGY AND FAUNA
Hvar is (68 km long) along with Cres the longest Adriatic island, it is also the fourth largest in area (300 sq. m). Hvar has horizontal road which links the town of Hvaron at the west with Sucurje at the eastern end of the island, and it is 84 km long. The high plateau between St. Nicholas hill (626 m) and Hum (603 m), which goes from Sv. Nedjelja to Jelsa and is partly under pine woods and partly under arable land, has distinctive beauty and a fresh climate. The flat part of the island between Stari Grad, Vrboska and Jelsa is coverd with vineyards which produce up to 50,000 hectoliters of wine per year.
Hvar has mountain chain extended along the middle of the island which divides it into north and south, with magnificent peaks such as: Cernica, Hum, Gvozd and Sveti Nikola (626m). The Samotorac valley around the spring of the Pitavski potok (a stream) and the Vratnik canyon have splendid beauty spots which have become accessible through a tunnel near Zavala.
The outer shapes of Hvar are formed by its geological structure: the island is an anticline bent towards the south, composed of Mesozoic limestone and dolomite, and it is discontinuous in its relief towards Pakleni islands and Šcedro. Geological reconstruction shows that the sea level during the last glacial period (Wurm) was 96.4 m lower than it is nowadays, which means that Hvar was originally a mountain on the mainland (722m). Storms and dry, cold winds blew less from what today is Hvar Channel unto Stan Grad Plain, which is today undergoing a swift process of erosion. On the edge of this plain, are three main island bays and villages. This is the most fertile of all Adriatic plains.
Hvar is little known for its stone than the neighboring islands of Brac and Korcula, or Trogir on the mainland. However, the books of travel writers who saw Hvar as "a town of marble", and accents known names of stonemasons all point to an almost forgotten tradition of the production of stone. There are records showing that white limestone was exported to Berlin for the parliament building, government buildings and other famous places.
Wine, lavender and honey have been the main products in Hvar for long time. Wine from Hvar and other Dalmatian areas were successfully exported to France and then Hungary from 1870 until 1894, when wine illness devastated the majority of Dalmatian vineyards. Then, in the first decades of the 20th century large numbers of people living on islands emigrated to North and South America. People from Hvar became the pioneers of wine growing in California and still make a great deal in the production of wine there. The little island of Šcedro is especially rich in various Mediterranean trees and plants.
In the 1880s the all in all production of rosemary oil on the island amounted to 20,000 kg. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was exported to Trieste and then to perfume factories in England, France, and Germany. The rosemary is collected on sunny days, usually from June to the middle of August, or sometimes even till the end of September.
The waters around Hvar, especially in the area from Pakleni otoci to Lukavac and east towards Šcedro and Peljesac, have been known from ancient times for their rich concentration of oily fish. From examination of natural science and zoology Hvar is one of the best studied islands in the Adriatic. The best researcher was Grgur Bucic (1829-1911) who was in touch with the best European natural scientists of his time. Many examples of marine life were discovered and examined by him.
In 1991 the Island of Hvar signed the Declaration of the Central Dalmatian Islands and now is an Eco-clean Zone.
The name of the island was Greek in origin, from Pharos (a lighthouse), so Romans gave the island name Pharia and Croats in the early Middle Ages changed this to Hvar.
Because Hvar lies in the middle of the main sea routes, history has left many traces, maybe more than on any other Adriatic island. The finding from Grapceva and Markova spilja (caves) have helped the archaeologists to identify Hvar`s culture that comes from around 3500 to 2500 BC. There were examples of painted and encrusted pottery, with their various spiral motives, are among the most decorative artifacts from pre-Illyrian times.
The town of Pharos was founded in the deepest bay on the northern part of the island in 385 BC by the Ionian Greeks and it was usually an agrarian colony.
After Pharos recovered from many attacks (because it was without protection), in the middle of the 2nd century BC, it also had permanent tensions between the native Illyrian population and Greek colonists.
The Romans began a series of attacks against Illyrian tribes such as the Delmati from the middle of the 2nd century BC, because they used the ports of Hvar, as well as those on Pakleni otoci and the wooded Šcedro, for their strategic and logistic purposes. This islet of Šcedro (Roman Taurida) served as a refuge camp for boats.
In Roman times, the whole island was used for farming and holiday houses near the springs of fresh water, with a high concentration of buildings in Hvar, Stari Grad and around Jelsa. The eastern settlement of Sucuraj, was low inhabited part of the island, and it preserved its prehistorical way of life until modern times.
In that period of time Hvar was a typical island of wine-growers, fishermen and traders, as iit can be confirmed by the many archaeological foundings. The way of life in Hvar in ancient times can also be seen in the maritime archaeological discoveries like ship wrecks of merchant vessels.
Hvar was under Venice in 1147 and established a diocese under the Arch bishop of Zadar. However, Croatian-Hungarian King Bela III managed to bring Dalmatia and Hvar again under his rule in the year 1180.
The bloody people's uprising of 1510, under the leadership of Matija Ivanic was done against the cruel noblemen and demanded equal rights for all. It lasted for more than five years and in the end was finally crushed by the Venetian army. But the rhythm of everyday life in Hvar from the 15th to the end of the 18th century it was under the strong influence of Turkish mainland.
A meteorological station was made in the tower of the monastery of Veneranda in 1858. This oldest meteorological station in Croatia helped to promote tourism on Hvar. The first road connecting Jelsa with Pitve and Vrisnik was made in 1907, while the road from Jelsa to Hvar was made in 1936 and before this the inhabitants of Jelsa travelled to Hvar by ship from Stari Grad to Split.
The island of Hvar became modern in the second half of the 20th century, with all the positive and negative aspects of the modern age.
The mainland of Hvar and the landscape is especially beautiful in some old villages and small towns such as Gornja Prapratna, Zagradace, Humac, Prilozi, Maslinovik, Jurkov Dolac, Rasnik, Zablace, and Malo Grablje. Some of them were made to be cottages for shepherds on the eastern and south sides of the island. Tourist can enoy folk architecture and admire the old household objects which can still be found in some houses.
Among folk tradition, there are the interesting processions during the Holy Week, especially the procession "za Krizem" (behind the Cross) which takes place at night from Monday to Thursday to Good Friday in the circle of five parishes: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik Svirce, Vrbanj and Vrboska. At first it was a penitent's procession after the miracle in 1510 when tears of blood were shed from the small Cross in Hvar. The processions from all six churches begin exactly at midnight (lasting for eight hours) in the direction of the sun's circle, so that they do not meet each other, because this is a sign of misfortune according to popular belief.
One of the most famous native products on the island of Hvar is "Queen's wash", the pure distillation of rosemary oil which was recommended by travel writers from the 19th century. The more massive production of rosemary began at the end of the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries, very likely from Brusje.
Hvar is not only the "home land of rosemary and queen's wash", but also the island of the plant of lavender. It is an aromatic plant of exceptional quality expanded all over the fields of Hvar. The lavender oil is used for little moths and for the production of perfume and lotion. It blossoms in June, July, and August, and the medical parts of the plant are flowers which should be collected as soon as they blossom.
Hvar is also famous by cakes, especially the pepper cakes from Stari Grad. Very important component was saffron which was a very important product of the island in the 16th century, together with honey - and also coriander.
The early signs of tourism on the Island come from history. During the middle Ages the Island was visited by many adventurers, naturalists, ethnologists and archaeologists who came to study plants, minerals and old monuments. Organized tourism began in 1868 with the fondation of The Hygienic Society of Hvar headed by Bishop Juraj Dubokovic. The first hotel with 13 single rooms and a restaurant was made in Samohod-Dubokovics' house. The first arrival of foreign guests was in the beginning of modern and organized tourism on the Island.
Except from tourism and wine-growing, which are the main parts of the island's economy, people used to grow aromatic plants (lavender, rosemary), olives and figs.
Before the second half of the 19th century Hvar had no normal mainland or sea communications, so people relied on small vessels. Its first regular daily service began in the 20th century.
After the liberation at the end of the Second World War the island began to develope very fast (Sucuraj in the east, Stari Grad in the centre, and the town of Hvar are connected with the mainland by regular ferry-boat services). Apart from the fast motor ships which link Hvar with all major centers along the Adriatic coast the towns of Hvar and Jelsa are connected with Split by local shipping services.
On our pages you can find many beautiful places for Croatia vacation and comfortable private accommodation in Croatia apartments in all parts of croatian coast, like Istria, Kvarner, North Dalmatia, Central Dalmatia or East Dalmatia...
Just one click will take you to unforgettable journey through most beautiful cities, settlements, nature, beaches... and you can choose between many Croatia accommodation.
Croatia is very beautiful country with large amount of choices, so if you are natural or luxury type, or you just like romance or long walks, you can choose Croatia apartments in your destination and get high quality service for anything you need...
You can choose between many different accommodations such as luxurious Croatia hotels, warm Croatia houses, Croatia camps, Croatia apartments, Croatia rooms....
On our pages you can find addresses and phone numbers, or you can e-mail directly Croatia hotels, Croatia apartments (directly to owners, no commission) or Croatia rooms and start packing for the greatest vacation ever... VACATION IN CROATIA...