Korcula Island is situated in the South Croatia in
central Dalmatian archipelago.
The island is not very large covering only 279
km2 (107.7 sq mi). Largest settlement on the island is
town that is allegedly a birth place for famous Italian traveler and
explorer Marco Polo. The legend states that the Korcula Island was first settled by
Trojan refuges under leadership of Antenor in the 12th century BC. He is
also responsible for founding of Padua in Italy. So the guy was pretty
busy settling so many lands. Either that or Romans who took possession of
the island after Illyrian Wars of 220- 219 BC really wanted to justify their
conquest. Romans believed their ancestors are Trojans. In truth however the
island was first inhabited by Mesolithic and Neolithic people that crossed a
narrow Peljesac strait that separates
Korcula Island from Peljesac
Peninsula. Artifacts of their existence here were found in Vela Spila (Big
Cave) in the Western part of the Island near Vela Luka and Jakas Cave near
village of Zrnovo, just outside of Korčula town. Illyrians overtook the
settlements in 1000BC and ruled these lands until mentioned Romans did not
arrive here. This was followed by the Avar and Slavic tribes during early
Medieval period. In the 12th century the island was incorporated into a
Venetian Republic thanks to military campaigns of Pepone Zorzi. This gave a
reason for Korcula resident to claim their island as a birth place for Marco
July and August
Groups (min.10 persons) 12,00 kn
Adults 20,00 kn
Children up to age of 10 (accompanied by adult) Free
Tower or House of Marco Polo – believed to be
house in which Marco Polo, the famous world traveller and writer was
born. Residents of the Korcula Island believe that famous explorer
and traveler Marco Polo was born in this city in 1254. In fact there
is even house where he allegedly lived. According to local legends
he used to climb a tower of his house to view the ships that came
and left the city harbor.
Ancient history According to legend, the
Korcula Island was first settled by Trojan hero Antenor in the 12th
Korcula Island was first settled by Mesolithic
and Neolithic peoples. 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.
wave of human settlement on Korcula Island 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 town museum.
A stone inscription
found in Lumbarda (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.
Korcula 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.
Middle Ages 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 Neretva River enters the
Adriatic, as well as the island of Korčula (Corcyra), 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 pirates.
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. Afterwards Korčula came under the control of the Great
Principality of Zahumlje.
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 Korcula Island,
particularly with regard to internal affairs, given its powerful
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 galleys
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 Principality of Zahumlje and the Republics of
Ragusa and Venice. Captains were created for each of the island's
five settlements for organized defence. Korčula had fewer than 2,500
inhabitants at that time.
In 1221, 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.
is more definite is that the Republic of Genoa defeated Venice in
the documented Battle of Curzola off the coast of Korčula in 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 in 1284 and Pope Honorius IV in 1286 to the
Archbishop of Ragusa, the Archbishop installed a certain Petar as
Bishop of 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 Archbishop of 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 purchased Ston with Pelješac from
the Serbian Empire, the suzerainty of Ston's Roman Catholic Church
with the peninsula was given to the Bishopric of Korčula.
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 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 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 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 1797 Korčula succeeded 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 Habsburg Monarchy,
Korčula passed on to the Habsburg Monarchy.
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. From 1867, Korčula was in the Cisleithanian part of
20th century 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 return for 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
After the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia in April
1941, Italy annexed 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 formed, and Korčula became a part of the People's Republic of
Croatia, one of the six Yugoslav Republics. The state changed the
name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1953, and so did
the Republic into Socialist Republic of Croatia. After the collapse
of that state in 1991 became part of independent Republic Croatia
During the CivilWar, Korcula was largely spared war crises with
minor clashes between Croatian and Serbian troops.