Posted by: viewfromtheriva | November 15, 2012

Korcula’s carved history

The famous “lion of Venice”, the symbol of the Venetian Empire, large carved lintels like this one would have graced the entrance to important public buildings and city gateways

Almost any Croatian tourist destination is particularly wonderful when the season ends.  I found myself on the island of Korcula  for a short overnight stay and it was blissfully quiet and lovely.  While less well known than its close neighbor Hvar,  Korcula is famous for its Venetian-era architecture as well as being the legendary birthplace of Marco Polo.

Most visitors come by ferry as part of their stay in Dubrovnik, as well as from Split (the catamaran and ferry stop at Hvar first and then it’s just another hour to Korcula town or Vela Luka).

One of the many hundreds of marvelous stone carvings that decorate doorways, staircases and more in the Old Town

Korcula’s history goes way back to the psephism from Lumbarda, a stone plaque written in Greek.  Dating from the 4thC BC,  is the oldest written evidence of humankind in Croatia.  And this summer the island was in the news for another ancient find–an archeological dig near Vela Luka turned up artifacts from the 17thC BC–cementing the island’s claim as the oldest settled area in Croatia and perhaps even in the Mediterranean!

But it’s the golden age of Korcula during the 400 years Venice ruled, from the 10th to the 14thC, that visitors come to enjoy.  Indeed, almost anywhere you look, there are treasures large and small to admire.  So armed with my cellphone I decided just to focus on carvings–enjoy!

A whimsical fountain

Next is a marvelous stone stairway that leads almost directly to the Tourist Office, which itself is from the Venetian era.

And not be outdone, the other side of the same staircase has completely different carving.

Moving from staircases to the street, this one near the cathedral has a stunning array of gargoyles practically springing to life from their second story perches.

It’s always good to remember to look up when you are walking around in an Old Town in Croatia!

The religious art that adorns the main cathedral and smaller, earlier churches here is also impressive.

I’m not sure but this could be St. Jerome?

As I made my way back to Vela Luka to catch the ferry back to Split  (a spectacular l hour bus ride through Korcula’s famous wine country with fabulous views of the sea), I couldn’t resist taking one “scenic shot”, the end of a just perfect day on an island I plan to spend much more time on next year!



  1. Glad you enjoyed your brief Korcula visit – hope we will both be on island at the same time next year!

  2. Really enjoyed this article 🙂 I tweeted it but could not find your twitter account to cc you on. Glad to hear you will be returning to this second place I call my home 🙂

  3. When we arrived at Villa luka everzone knew about the hotel so its easilz accessible from the port and verz well known hotel in korcula island.The location was great ,food was good . The pool was so relaxing.All the reception staff was verz friendly and helpful .

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