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Korčula: Marco Polo’s homeland!


Korčula – Marco Polo’s home town!

Marco Polo – one of the world’s greatest travel writers – was born in the town of Korčula, on the island of Korčula, in 1254. He died in Venice in 1324. Polo travelled the renowned Silk Road and worked as Kublai-Khan’s diplomat. He discovered the highly developed Chinese civilization and introduced it to Europe. He brought over paper money, spaghetti, silk and spices. Even Christopher Columbus, before he discovered America, used Polo’s travel book to create notes for his travels. The World owes a lot to this notorious traveller. The story of his life interests many so they come to visit his home in Korčula where they can learn many interesting details on his life.

Ulysses meets Circe on the island of Korčula!

After a very unpleasant experience with the Lestrygonians (the territory of today’s Omiš), Ulysses and his survived sailors fled southeast in panic. They passed between the mainland and the island of Brač, then worked their way through the mainland and the island of Hvar, after which they passed the west side of Pelješac peninsula and finally reached Korčula. It was probably the east cape of Korčula, around Lumbarda, where Ulysses landed and met the beautiful sorceress Circe who turned most of his crew into pigs, but not him. He received help from God Hermes who gave him a herb moly to counter effect Circe’s potion. Circe’s was impressed with Ulysses ingenuity, fell in love with him, and the couple in love stayed on Korčula for a year. Circe then helped Ulysses and his men sail away.

The description of the herb moly matches the endemic herb from the island of Korčula called žilj (sea daffodil,  Pancratium maritimum), which grows on sandy beaches.

Trojan hero, Antenor – the founder of the town of Korčula!

According to a legend from Greek mythology, the town of Korčula was founded by a Trojan warrior Antenor in the 12th century BC. During the Trojan War, when the Greeks cunningly entered Troy by using the Trojan horse, the Greek king Menelaus decided to spare Antenor, his wife Teana and their four sons who could then all leave and take their possessions with them. They went to the Adriatic and built their home in today’s Korčula.

To document this, at the entrance to the Old Town, there is a 16th century stone plaque with a Latin writing: “After Troy was burnt, these walls were founded by Antenor.“

 A knightly sword dance Moreška – takes you on a travel through time

Moreška is a traditional knightly sword dance. It is the best known part of the tourist offer and a must see during your stay in Korčula. The tourists can enjoy and experience Moreška in the original setting of the towers and town walls of Korčula. It used to be danced all over the Mediterranean, but now, for more than 400 years, it is preserved only in Korčula on the island of Korčula. This romantic dance battle was created on the Mediterranean in the 12th century, and it arrived to Korčula from Spain in the 16th century. Originally it represented the victory of Christians over Moors, and nowadays it is a symbol of victory of Good over Evil.

Come to Korčula, experience Moreška and follow the dancers as they take you on a travel through time.

Town of Korčula – the most beautiful medieval town in Croatia!

The town of Korčula grew on a peninsula on the south-eastern part of the island of Korčula. It is considered to be the most beautiful medieval Croatian town and one of the best preserved towns on the Mediterranean. Medieval town walls and towers surround the town and give it a special charm. The streets are laid in the form of a fish bone to diminish the force of cold winter winds. Korčula is also a town of great seamen, shipbuilders, stone-cutters and artists, and the town takes a special pride in being the home town of the world famous traveller Marco Polo.

About the island of Korčula:

The island of Korčula is a south Dalmatian island with numerous bays and coves. Its northern coast is low and easily accessible, with several protected ports. The south side is steeper and a bit less accessible. Bigger places on the island are the town of Korčula, Vela Luka, Smokvica, Blato, Lumbarda. The origin of the name of the island has two sources:

1. it used to be Homer’s Circe’s home, which later gave Korčula its name,

2. the Greek colonists gave the island the name Korkyra Melania, meaning “black wooded island“, due to its rich vegetation.

The island of Korčula is a tourist destination which today represents a unique combination of beautiful nature, millennia-old culture and modern tourism.

 What to visit?

–          Marco Polo’s birthplace in the town of Korčula

–          Medieval town walls and towers in the town of Korčula

–          Renaissance palaces and the cathedral in Korčula

–          Experience the knightly sword dance Moreška

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