Korčula (Croatian: [kɔ̂ːrtʃula] ( listen);
Italian: Curzola, Greek: Κόρκυρα Μέλαινα, Kórkyra
Mélaina, Latin: Corcyra Nigra, Korkyra Melaina, Old-Slavic Krkar) is
a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. It has an area of 279 km2
(108 sq mi); 46.8 km (29.1 mi) long and on average
7.8 km (4.8 mi) wide — and lies just off the
Dalmatian coast. Its 15,522 inhabitants (2011) make it the second most
populous Adriatic island after Krk and the most populous Croatian
island not connected to the mainland by a bridge. The population are
almost entirely ethnic
Croats (95.74%). The island is twinned with
Rothesay in Scotland.
2.1 Ancient history
2.2 Middle Ages
2.3 Venetian and Austrian rule
2.4 20th century
3.1.1 Korkyra Baroque Festival
4 Notable residents
6 See also
8 External links
The island of
Korčula belongs to the central Dalmatian archipelago,
separated from the
Pelješac peninsula by a narrow Strait of
Pelješac, between 900 and 3,000 metres (3,000 and 9,800 feet) wide.
It stretches in the east-west direction, in length of 47 kilometres
(29 miles); on average, it is 8 km (5.0 miles) wide. With an area
of 279 square kilometres (108 sq mi), it is the sixth
largest Adriatic island. The highest peaks are Klupca, 568 metres
(1,864 ft) and Kom, 510 metres (1,670 ft) high.
Main settlements on the island are towns of Korčula,
Vela Luka and
Blato. Villages along the coast are Brna, Lumbarda, Račišće, and
Prižba; Žrnovo, Pupnat,
Čara are located inland. The
island is divided into municipalities of Korčula, Smokvica, Blato and
Lumbarda. The climate is Mediterranean; an average air temperature in
January is 9.8 °C (49.6 °F) and in July 26.9 °C
(80.4 °F); the average annual rainfall is 1,100 mm
(43.3 in). The island is largely covered with Mediterranean flora
including extensive pine forests.
The main road runs along the spine of the island connecting all
Lumbarda on the eastern to
Vela Luka on the western
end, with the exception of Račišće, which is served by a separate
road running along the northern coast. Ferries
connect the city of
Orebić on the
and Drvenik on the mainland (near Makarska). Another line connects
Vela Luka with Split and the island of Lastovo. Fast passenger
catamarans connect those two ports with Split and the islands of Hvar
and Lastovo. The main Adriatic ferry line connects
Zadar and Rijeka. During the summer there are direct
ferries to Italian Adriatic ports.
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According to legend, the island was founded by Trojan hero Antenor in
the 12th century BC who is also famed as the founder of the city of
The island was first settled by
There is archaeological evidence at the sites of
Vela Spila (Big
Cave) and at Jakas Cave near the village of Zrnovo. The findings at
Vela Spila are on display at the Center for Culture in Vela Luka. The
fate of these peoples is not known but the sites do provide a window
into their way of life.
The second wave of human settlement was by Illyrians. It is
believed that the
Illyrians arrived in
Balkans approximately 1000
BC. They were semi-nomadic tribal people living from agriculture.
There are numerous old stone buildings and fortresses (gradine) left
behind by the Illyrians.
Melaina Korkyra (Greek: Μέλαινα Κόρκυρα, "Black
Corcyra") was the ancient Cnidian Greek colony founded on Korčula.
Greek colonists from Corcyra (Corfu) formed a colony on the island in
the 6th century B.C. The Greeks named it "Black Corfu" after their
homeland and the dense pine-woods on the island. Greek artifacts,
including carved marble tombstones can be found at the local Korčula
A stone inscription found in
Lumbarda Psephisma) and which
is the oldest written stone monument in Croatia, 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,
Korčula became part of the ancient
Roman province of
In the 6th century it came under Byzantine rule. The Great Migrations
of the 6th and 7th centuries brought Croatian invasions into this
region. Along the Dalmatian coast the Croatian peoples poured out of
the interior and seized control of the area where the
enters the Adriatic, as well as the island of
which protects the river mouth. The Christianisation of the Croats
began in the 9th century, but the early Croatian rural inhabitants of
the island may well have fully accepted Christianity only later; in
the early Middle Ages the Croatian population of the island was
grouped with the pagan
Narentines or Neretvians, who quickly learned
maritime skills in this new environment and became known as
Initially, Venetian merchants were willing to pay an annual tribute to
keep their shipping safe from the infamous Neretvian pirates of the
Dalmatian coast. After the 9th century, the island was briefly under
nominal Byzantine suzerainty. In 998 the Principality of Pagania came
under Venetian control. Doge
Pietro II Orseolo launched a naval
expedition along the coast and assumed the title Duke of Dalmatia.
Korčula came under the control of the Great Principality
In the 12th century
Korčula was conquered by a Venetian nobleman,
Pepone Zorzi, and incorporated briefly into the Venetian Republic.
Around this time, the local
Korčula rulers began to exercise
diplomacy and legislate a town charter to secure the independence of
the island, particularly with regard to internal affairs, given its
powerful neighbors.
South coast of Korčula
The brothers of Stephen Nemanja, Miroslav and Stracimir, launched an
attack on the island on 10 August 1184, raiding its fertile western
part. The island's inhabitants called for help from the Republic of
Ragusa (Dubrovnik), which in turn captured all of Stracimir's
The Statute of
Korčula was first drafted in 1214. It
guaranteed the autonomy of the island, apart from her outside rulers:
the Grand Principality of Raška, the semi-independent Great
Zahumlje and the Republics of Ragusa and Venice.
Captains were created for each of the island's five settlements for
Korčula had fewer than 2,500 inhabitants at that
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III gave the island to the Princes of Krka (the
Šubićs). During the 13th century the hereditary Counts of Korčula
were loosely governed in turn by the Hungarian crown and by the
Republic of Genoa, and also enjoyed a brief period of independence;
but, in 1255, Marsilio Zorzi conquered the island's city and razed or
damaged some of its churches in the process, forcing the Counts to
return to Venetian supreme rule.
What is more definite is that the
Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa defeated Venice in
Battle of Curzola
Battle of Curzola  off the coast of
1298 and a galley commander, Marco Polo, was taken prisoner by the
victors to eventually spend his time in a Genoese prison writing of
his travels. However, some Italian scholars believe that he may have
been captured in a minor clash near Ayas.
After the writings of
Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV in 1284 and
Pope Honorius IV
Pope Honorius IV in
1286 to the
Archbishop of Ragusa, the
Archbishop installed a certain
Ston and Korčula – stacnensis ac
Crozolensis. In 1291, Ivan Kručić was in Korčula's city as the
Bishop of Korčula. Kručić contested his overlord, the
Hvar, and wanted to unite
Ston with his church domain. In 1300, Pope
Boniface VIII finally founded the
Korčula Bishopric under the
Archbishopric of Ragusa. In 1333, as the
Republic of Ragusa
Republic of Ragusa purchased
Pelješac from the Serbian Empire, the suzerainty of Ston's
Catholic Church with the peninsula was given to the Bishopric of
A panoramic view of the easternmost parts of Korčula, with Lumbarda,
Orebić (Pelješac) from left to right
Curzola, as the Venetians called it, surrendered to the Kingdom of
Hungary in 1358 according to the Treaty of Zadar, but it surrendered
to the Bosnian King Stefan Tvrtko I in the Summer of 1390. However the
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary restored rule of the island, and in December 1396
Croatian-Hungarian King Sigismund gave it to
Đurađ II Stracimirović
of the Balšić dynasty of Zeta, who kept it up to his death in 1403,
when it was returned under the Hungarian crown. In 1409 it again
became a part of the Venetian Republic, purchased by the neighbouring
Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice in 1413–1417, it still declared itself subjected
to Venice in 1420. In 1571 it defended itself so gallantly against the
Ottoman attackers at the Battle of Lepanto that it obtained the
designation Fidelissima from the Pope.
Venetian and Austrian rule
Austrian KK stamp cancelled in Italian CURZOLA ca 1863
Korčula had for years supplied the timber for the wooden walls of
Venice, and had been a favourite station of her fleets. From 1776 to
Hvar as the main Venetian fortified arsenal in
this region. According to the Treaty of Campoformio in 1797 in which
the Venetian Republic was divided between the French Republic and the
Korčula passed on to the Habsburg
The French Empire invaded the island in 1806, joining it to the
Illyrian Provinces. The Montenegrin Forces of Prince-Episcope Peter I
Njegos conquered the island with Russian naval assistance  in 1807
during his attempt to construct another Serbian Empire. The defeat of
Austria however at the battle of Wagram in 1809 had put most of the
Adriatic under French control. On February 4, 1813 however, British
troops and naval forces under Thomas Fremantle captured the island
from the French. This short period of British rule left an important
mark on the island; the new stone West quay was built, as well as a
semi-circular paved terrace with stone benches on the newly built road
towards Lumbarda, and a circular Martello tower, "forteca" on the hill
of St. Blaise above the town. According to the terms of the
Congress of Vienna, the British left the island to the Austrian Empire
in 1815 on July 19 in terms of the Congress of Vienna. Korčula
accordingly became a part of the Austrian crown land of Dalmatia.
Korčula was in the Cisleithanian part of Austro-Hungary.
During the First World War, the island (among other territorial gains)
was promised to the Kingdom of
Italy in the 1915 Treaty of London in
Italy joining the war on the side of Great Britain and
France. However, after the war,
Korčula became a part (with the rest
of Dalmatia) of the State of Slovenes,
Croats and Serbs in 1918. It
was ruled by
Italy from 1918 to 1921, after which it was incorporated
into the Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes, known from 1929 on as
the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1939, it became a part of the autonomous
Croatian Banate.
Axis occupation of Yugoslavia
Axis occupation of Yugoslavia in April 1941,
the island. After the Armistice between
Italy and the Allied
powers in September 1943, it was briefly held by the Yugoslav
Partisans who enjoyed considerable support in the region. Korčula
was then occupied by German forces which controlled the island until
their withdrawal in September 1944. With the liberation of
Yugoslavia in 1945, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was
Korčula became a part of the People's Republic of
Croatia, one of the six Yugoslav Republics. The state changed the name
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1953, and so did the
Republic into Socialist Republic of Croatia. After 1991, the island
became a part of the independent Republic of Croatia.
The 17th century saw the rise of
Petar Kanavelić who wrote love
songs, occasional epic poems and dramas. He also translated from
Italian the major poetic works of that time. He is regarded as one of
the greatest Croatian writers of 17th century. In 1673 he became
the representative of the
Korčula community in Venice. There is a
primary school named after him in the town of Korčula.
Moreška is a traditional sword dance from the town of Blato.
It is one of the many proud traditional sword dances that are
performed on the island. It arrived in
Korčula around the 16th
Korčula has a rich musical history of Klape groups.
a form of a cappella style of singing. The tradition goes back
centuries, but the style as we know it today, originated in the 19th
Oliver Dragojević is a famous Croatian pop singer who comes
from the island.
Korčula has a tradition of stonemasonry, which reached its
peak during the rule of the Venetian Republic (1420–1797). The
island also has a very strong art tradition.
Korkyra Baroque Festival
The Korkyra Baroque Festival is a new annual international event,
which will be launched from the 7th to 16 September 2012. The festival
will showcase a selection of the world's leading ensembles and
soloists specialized in Baroque music, including the Academy of
Ancient Music (Great Britain), Le Parlament de Musique (France),
Erik Van Nevel (Belgium), La Venexiana (Italy), Red
Priest (Great Britain), Croatian Baroque Ensemble (Croatia) and
others. Twelve concerts will be held over ten days along with a series
of supporting events focusing on Baroque music. Along with the
festival's high artistic credentials the event will also promote the
richness of Korčula's cultural monuments and the whole town as a
unique architectural treasure.
Arneri family were landowners from 15th century, who built the Palace
Arneri in the town of Korčula
Matko Talovac (about 1400–1445), ban (viceroy) of Slavonia from 1435
to 1445, from the town of Korčula.
Jakov Baničević (1466–1532), Renaissance humanist, friend of
Desiderius Erasmus and secretary to Maximilian I of Habsburg, from
Frano Kršinić (1897–1981), sculptor, from Lumbarda.
Ivan Milat Luketa (1922–2009), painter, from Blato.
Sir Fitzroy Maclean, (1911–1996), soldier, writer and politician,
Marija Petković (1892–1966), founder of the Daughters of
Mercy Catholic order, from Blato.
Petar Šegedin (1909–1998), writer, from Žrnovo.
Zvonimir Šeparović (b. 1928), legal scholar, former diplomat, from
Dinko Tomašić (1902–1975), sociologist, from Smokvica.
Maksimilijan Vanka (1889–1963), Croatian American painter who had a
Bill Rancic (b. 1971), is a Croatian American entrepreneur who was
The Trump Organization
The Trump Organization at the conclusion of the first season
of the reality television show, The Apprentice, and owns a villa on
Željko Franulović (b.1947), tennis player, runner-up at the 1970
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2016)
Jadrolinija ferry approaching
Korčula is linked to the mainland by a regular ferry service that
runs between Dominče, just outside
Korčula Town and Orebić.
There are numerous other local ferry services including one linking
Vela Luka and Lastovo. The main Croatian ferry operator
Jadrolinija runs a service linking
Korčula Town with Rijeka, Split,
Dubrovnik and (from May to September) Bari. An
operator Linijska nacionalna plovidba runs a seasonal service linking
Korčula with Drvenik.
There are also bus services that link the island to major cities on
the mainland, which reach
Korčula using the
Korčula town also has mooring facilities. The western harbour gives
shelter from wind though not against the ‘bora’ and
north-westerlies. Boat owners are advised to shift to the eastern
harbour or to Luka Cove. The port is open to international seaborne
traffic as a permanent Port of entry; it offers all types of repairs
to hulls and engines at the Brodograditelj Shipyard.
Republic of Venice
Tentative list of World Heritage Sites in Croatia
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Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Korčula.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Island of Korčula.
Settlements on the island of Korčula
Cities / towns
Adriatic islands of Croatia
Lists: Complete list
> 100 km2
Smokvica Vela (Kornat)
Inhabited islands of Croatia