The city of Hvar is a unique fusion of luxurious Mediterranean nature, rich cultural and historical heritage, and mundane, tourist present.
It is situated in picturesque nature, facing the southern, side of the world that has given it all Mediterranean attraction and cheerfulness; facing sea, that gave it splendid and repeatable history, Hvar is an inexhaustible treasury of the scenery, atmosphere and adventure.
Its name derives from the Greek name for island and town, that stood where today Stari Grad (Hvar became an island’s centre in 13th century) stands - PHAROS.
Hvar gained glory and power during middle ages being an important port within the Venetian, naval empire. Today, it is centre of island’s tourism and one of the favourite destinations in Dalmatian riviera - a town of smiling and courteous people, who are almost only dedicated to tourism.
(SOURCE: tz Hvar)
Hvar’s location at the center of the Adriatic sailing routes has long made this island an important base for commanding trade up and down the Adriatic, across to Italy and throughout the wider Mediterranean. It has been inhabited since pre-historic times firstly by a Neolithic people whose distinctive pottery gave rise to the term Hvar Culture, and later by the Illyrians. The ancient Greeks founded the colony of Pharos in 384 BC on the site of today’s Stari Grad, making it one of the oldest towns in Europe. They were also responsible for setting out the agricultural field divisions of the Stari Grad Plain, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Medieval times, Hvar (city) rose to importance within the Venetian Empire as a major naval base. Prosperity brought culture and the arts, with one of the first public theatres in Europe, nobles’ palaces and many fine communal buildings. The 16th century was an unsettled time, with the Hvar Rebellion, coastal raids by pirates and the Ottoman army from the mainland, resulting in some unusual fortified buildings on the northern shore to protect the local population. After a brief time under Napoleonic rule, the island became part of the Austrian Empire, a more peaceful and prosperous time. On the coast, harbours were expanded, quays built, fishing and boat building businesses grew. At the same time, the island’s wine exports increased, along with lavender and rosemary production for the French perfume industry. Unfortunately, this prosperity did not continue into the 20th century as wooden sailing boats became old technology, and the phylloxera blight hit wine production. Many islanders left to make a new life elsewhere.