When we think of one of the most beautiful, sun-drenched Adriatic jewels – Hvar Island will often come to mind! Modern summer nomads occupy every nook and cranny revelling in everything that this island offers in abundance: stunning landscapes, gorgeous turquoise waters and perfect, sunny weather. With the insolation of around 2,780 hours annually, Hvar is a perfect choice for a day trip from Split.
Besides its natural beauty, the island is also well-known for its rich cultural heritage. If you are a history buff, there are plenty of things to explore. Hvar Island prides itself not with one, but three UNESCO heritage sites:
UNESCO heritage site Stari grad plain
The history of Stari grad goes back to 384 BC when a safe harbour, fresh drinking water and fertile plain drew the Greeks from the island of Paros to create their new settlement in Stari grad, which they called Pharos. The most unusual testimony to those times can still be seen in Stari grad Plain with the visible marks of parcelization, carried out two and a half thousand years ago! The original agricultural activity of this fertile plain, mainly used for grapes and olives, has been maintained since Greek times to the present and that was more than enough reason to inscribe in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.
Intangible UNESCO heritage site- Benedictine nuns lace making
This most exquisite lace is made by Benedictine nuns who came to Hvar from the island of Rab in 1664. When in Hvar town you should definitely visit their little museum, just next to the monastery and admire the old lace and embroidery collection.
This unique lace is made from the plant agave with a very complicated procedure. The threads are taken from the agave and then dried. Later, with no pattern, nuns make the lace from their imagination so that makes each and every piece unique. Since the threads are so thin it takes a lot of patience and diligence to produce these truly stunning works of handicraft. Should you wish to buy an original souvenir look no further, the lace is truly a unique piece to take back home, but must be kept in a glass frame since it is quite fragile.
The lace has been inscribed in UNESCO intangible heritage list since 2009.
Intangible UNESCO heritage site – Za križen Procession
One of the oldest Passion-tide customs is a procession called Za križen, which has been carried out for four centuries, and was first recorded in 1658.It takes place on the night between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in the parishes of Jelsa, Pitve, Vrbanj, Vrboska, Vrisnik and Svirće. It has a deep votive and liturgical significance for the people of Hvar.
Those chosen to carry 15 kg crucifixes sometimes wait up to 20 years to be given this great honour, as they are chosen by lot. After the Mass, which is held at the same time in all of these mentioned parishes, six simultaneous processions start their 20 km-long route, which will end at dawn. It is an interesting fact that none of these processions will meet during the night.At the very front of the procession is a barefoot cross-bearer followed by an assistant, two candle-bearing escorts and two lead singers. Numerous worshippers and pilgrims follow carrying candles and rosaries. It is a very pious ceremony and an expression of the religious and cultural identity of the people from Hvar.
The central part of the Procession is The Lamentations of the Virgin Mary, an octo-syllabic Passion-related text dating from the 15th century, sang in a dialogue form by chosen singers- kantaduri.At dawn the processions return to the church from which they set out. The cross-bearer usually runs with the cross during his final steps in front of the parish church.
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