THE WALLS OF STON AND SALT PANS
The town of Ston is situated on the Pelješac peninsula. Apart from being an oyster farm it is also famous for its walls (second largest walls in the world after the Walls of China) and the oldest salt pan in the Mediterranean.
After the Republic of Ragusa took over Pelješac in 1334 they wanted to protect Ston so they built 7000 meters of defensive walls around Ston, which was one of the biggest construction ventures of that era. The wall links Ston to Mali Ston and it has three fortress (Veliki kaštio in Ston, Koruna in Mali Ston and the fortress on Podzvizd hill), forty-one towers, seven bastions and four pre-walls.
The salt pan of Ston is one of the oldest and well-kept salt pans in the Mediterranean. Every summer between July and September salt is collected there. The local population and volunteers from around the world come together to collect a field of salt a day (approx. 30-100 tones) by hand, using old techniques from the times of the Republic of Ragusa.
MARITIME MUSEUM – Orebić
Maritime Museum in Orebić was founded in 1957. It displays various historical artefacts of local history. It is located in the very heart of Orebić, next to the sea.
It has an archaeology department which displays antique, mostly Roman, pagan and Early Christian artefacts from everyday life and some fragments of artwork. One of the displays in the museum are also fragments of pre-Roman church furniture from the age of the baptism of Croats.
There are also fragments of glass jars, wall paintings, bronze artefacts, Byzantine and medieval coins and other small objects of church, household and fishermen’s use found in the ruins on the island of Majsan from pre-history till 11th century. They belonged to a pagan villa, an early medieval monastery and a church.
Museum also contains paintings of old sailing ships, ship tools, weapons, atlases, nautical and school books, health and travel documents, ship’s pharmacy, medals and pictures of sailors.
PAINTER Mato Celestin Medović
Mato Celestin Medović was born on 17 November 1857 in Kuna on Pelješac. In his youth Medović was schooled to become a priest in the Franciscan Seminary in Dubrovnik. He discovered a talent for painting so he was sent to Rome to get some art training. He went on to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he began painting artistic impressions of historical events.
After a while he decided to leave the church, moved to Zagreb and joined a group of artists led by Vlaho Bukovac, a renowned painter from Dubrovnik. Under his influence Medović painted historical depictions on the building of the Croatian Institute of History in Opatička 10 in Zagreb. Together with Bukovac, Medović is one of the earliest modern Croatian painters. During World War II the Germans burnt down his birth town of Kuna and Medović’s house was gone, together with some valuable paintings.
NATIONAL PARK MLJET
National park Mljet is the oldest national park at the sea in Croatia. It has been a national park since November 12, 1960. It covers the entire north-west part of the Island (3 100 ha or a third of the island).
The island’s geological structure consists of limestone and dolomite, forming exaltations and depressions or fields. The island has Mediterranean climate – mild and damp winters, warm and dry summers. The average annual amount of rain is 973 mm and it has 2 500 hours of sun. The main reason for Mljet being proclaimed a national park in 1960 was the attractively indented coastline, rich vegetation and thick forests on this part of island.
It is barely visible from the open sea but a few metres wide defile creates two lakes- Veliko Jezero (the Big Lake) which has a surface area of 145 hectares and is 46 metres and at the deepest point and Malo Jezero (the Small Lake) which is 24 hectares big and 29 metres at its deepest point. Although they contain sea water, they are considered lakes which can be seen from their names. The lakes are the most interesting aspects but there are also many bays, coves and islets (total of 122.7 ha of area) which contribute to the diversity of the National park.
THE TOWN OF KORČULA
The town of Korčula is located on the east coast of the island of Korčula, opposite Pelješac peninsula. The town of Korčula was first mentioned in the 10th century and the Statute of Korčula Town from the 13th century is one of the oldest legal documents in this part of Europe. In different periods Korčula was ruled by Croatian-Hungarian kings, the Austrians, the French, the Russians, the English, but the most important mark was left by the Venetians, whose lions can be seen on every step. In the 16th century Korčula was attacked by a Turkish fleet but the the people of Korčula defended themselves successfully.
The medieval architecture of Korčula is interesting because of its urban planning. Namely, the ground-plan resembles a fish bone, which protects the main street from the winds which blow around Korčula. There are nine churches in the town.
The Cathedral of St. Mark is one of the most important buildings on Korčula and is located on the central square. It was built between the 13th and the 16th century by builders from Korčula and Dubrovnik. Inside the Cathedral there is a big painting by a Venetian painter Tintoretto above the main alter. In the centre of the Old Town, north from the Cathedral, a house is located which belonged to the Polo family and it is believed to be the birthplace of the famous merchant, world traveller and writer Marco Polo.