Performed only by males from Korčula town families, the mock battle dance with each soldier holding two swords is traditionally performed on July 29 (St. Theodore's Day) and weekly during the summer.Documentation shows that the Moreška sword dance has been performed in Korčula since at least the 17th century, but the dance may be older, since double swords were known sword technique in the 16th century.
Dramatic dialogue sets the context for the Red and Black armies to battle for return of Bula, who was abducted by the Moro (Arab) King. Clashing and sparking swords in seven battles end with the bula being freed from her chains and returned to her beloved Osman (Turkish) King.
Historically, the accompaniment for Moreška was based on the musical fashion of its time, since the city of Korčula was in accord with European cultural trends. Today a brass band plays a 20th century arrangement composed by Krsto Odak.
Six villages across the island continue to perform a sword dance with a type of sword that is dated in style to the 16th-17th centuries. The men are organized into a village military unit with a captain and flag-bearer, and each soldier holds a single long sword. Dialogue precedes the performances, where the captain asks permission from the head of the village to perform their "ples od boja" (war dance). The captain leads his soldiers into synchronized and highly coordinated formations where each soldier holds the tip of his neighbour's sword to form a single linked group. When the linked figures are complete the soldiers are led into a fencing practice that also tests the soldier's ability to clash swords with a partner, while performing leaps and skipps.
The linked and unlinked sword techniques of the dance are accompanied by the rhythm of a bagpipe and drum.
See calendar for events when the villages (Žrnovo, Pupnat, Čara, Smokvica, Blato and Vela Luka) enact their moštra or kumpanija /kumpanjija performances on saint's days or during the summer months.
In Žrnovo place next to St. Rocco's church in Postrana the single-sword dances Moštra is performend only on August 15 on feast day of Assumption of Mary, a day before St. Rocco-patron saint of Postrana. The captain leads his soldiers (moštrants) into synchronized and highly coordinated formations where each soldier holds the tip of his neighbour's sword to form a single linked group. The linked and unlinked sword techniques of the dance are accompanied to the rhythm of a bagpipe and drum.
St. Mark's Cathedral is the most attractive Gothic and Renaissance building
in the old town of Korčula. It was built by local stonemasons in the 14th,
15th and 16th c. with the support of Italian masters.
The most famous local stonemason was Marko Andrijić whose masterpieces are the upper part of the campanile and the ciborium above the high altar in the central nave, dedicated to St. Mark, the patron saint of Korčula.
The Gothic and Romanesque main portal was built by the Italian master, Bonino da Milano. The southern lateral nave is dedicated to St. James, while the northern one is to St. John, with the adjacent St. Rocco chapel. The altars are adorned with paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto and some other Italian masters.
Notable Croatian sculptors: Frano Čučić, Ivan Meštrović, Ivan Kerdić, Frano Kršinić, Alojzije Lozica and Izvor Oreb.
Next to the Cathedral of St. Mark, there is the former
bishop's court where the Abbey Treasury is held, put together by the
abbot Ivo Matijaca and the Croatian painter Ljubo Babić in 1954.The earlier
bishop's court from the 14th and 15th centuries was reconstructed between
1860 and 1874.
In this famous museum of the sacral arts there are many invaluable works of art from Venetian and Croatian artists. The most significant work there is the polyptich "Our Lady With Child and Saints" from 1431 by the Dalmatian painter Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin. Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin (? -1450) is the most significant name in Dalmatian Gothic art, and he resided in Korčula from 1431 until 1435 creating pictures for the Korčula churches and teaching drawing and painting.
In the wall cabinets, there are numerous documents and books which speak about the distant past of Korčula and Croatia. The "Korčula Codex" from 1214. is among them.
The marvellous Gothic two-part window "bifora" is turned towards the interior of this hall in order that the visitor may enjoy the style and the technique.
Coins minted for Korkyra Melaina from the 4th century B.C. are in the numismatic collection cabinet and attract special attention.
Abbey Treasury location
The Town museum is located in the Gabrielis Palace, which is an outstanding
example of 15th and 16th c. residential architecture in the centre of
the old town.
The exhibits evoke the cultural and commercial milestones of Korčula from prehistory to the present. The collections explain traditional crafts; in particular, stonemasonry and shipbuilding which were of essential importance to Korčula. Among the most valuable exhibits are the bronze pendant of Tiziano Aspetti and an 1819 piano played by Beethoven's close friend, Edith Streicher.
Household objects help to explain everyday life. The old kitchen in the attic makes for a memorable experience. Korčula's developing urban identity is exemplified by a number of exhibits: a facsimile of a page from the Statute of the City and the Island of Korčula from 1214, artistic imagery of the city, the city standard, stamps, stone inscriptions, documents and coats of arms.
The Church and Brotherhood of All Saints preserves the oldest town traditions. The Church was built at the beginning of the 15th century in place of an older church (10th c/13th c.), which was the first cathedral of the bishop (1300); the oldest Korčula confraternity - All Saints or the Confraternity of Good Death - was founded there in 1301.
Icons from the Greek island of Crete are exhibited in the Icon Collection.
Korčula galleys took part in the war between Venice and the Turks for the island of Crete (Candia wars). The war ended with the defeat of Venice and the general evacuation of the Venetian garrison, administration and priests from the island. These valuable icons were brought to Korčula by the returning galleys.
Opposite the church entrance, there is the entrance to the house of the Confraternity of All Saints. The reliefs above the entrance door depict the brothers of this confraternity from 1301. The photos are a reminder of the annual gatherings and processions of the brothers.
St. Anthony's hill is half an hour's walk from the centre of Korčula, towards Lumbarda. As well as of religious interest, it is also a protected area of natural beauty. There are 102 steps to the top, bordered by a cypress alley planted in 1708. The summit is crowned by a small 14th c. church dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot.
During Bishop Španić's time, at the end of the 17th c., the church was renovated and was dedicated to St. Anthony of Padova. On the wall of the small neighbouring house, there are reliefs of St. Anthony who is celebrated on 13th June. The hilltop affords a beautiful view of the Korčulan archipelago Hill location
Watch Marko Polo embark on a journey from Korčula, see him in a desert caravan, follow him to the palace of the famous Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan in one of the seven exhibition halls bringing to life his adventures with outstanding set design and realistic figures. FACEBOOK
MAXIMILIAN VANKA (1889-1963) Croatian painter - celebrated as the finest Croatian portraitist in the 1920's and 1930's.
The collection of Maksimilijan Vanka, along with his house and studio in Korčula, were donated to the Academy in 1964 by his widow, Margaret Stettin Vanka. Villa was adapted for the presentation of the Memorial Collection, and its was opened to the public in 1969. Vanka is an important name in modern Croatian painting. He was a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb until his departure to the United States in 1934.
The collection of Maksimilijan Vanka in Korčula presents a cross-section of his work from the 1920s until his death. It consists of dozens of paintings, watercolors, pastels and drawings, showing Vanka's art from the monumentalism of New Reality, through the influence of Van Gogh and expressionism, to later constructivist tendencies. The newly adapted building which houses the collection was opened in 1998.
Maximilian Vanka was born in Croatia in 1889, the illegitimate son of Habsburg nobility, he was raised by a peasant from the Croatian Hinterland, Dora Jugova . At the age of eight he was discovered by his maternal grandfather and sent to live in a castle. Despite the mystery of his parentage, he clearly identified himself as Croatian. The young man chosed his own surname, which in dialect means "the outcast". He was steeped in the history, mythology and customs of his homeland: the Byzantine frescoes in churches, the contemporary painting, the performing arts, and the centuries-old textile designs that were part of everyday life. He studied at the Zagreb Academy of Art, and the Royal Academy of Beaux Arts in Brussels. During World War I, he served with the Belgian Red Cross, because he was a pacifist and would not serve in the regular army.
Maksimilian Vanka gallery location
The family house of the traveller Marko Polo with several inscriptions and exhibits.
It is believed that the greatest traveller and explorer of all time, Marko Polo, was born in Korčula in 1254.
07.09.1298 - the great naval battle between the Genoese and the Venetian fleets takes place in front of the town of Korčula; the Venetian fleet is defeated, and the Genoese have, among their prisoners, the great Marko Polo, who is freed on payment of a large ransom in 1299.
In a Genoese prison, Marko Polo dictated his experiences about his journey to China to Rustichelli. These journeys are described in a book “Il Milione”. Marko Polo died in Venice in 1324.
The family house of the Polos in Venice was replaced by a theatre, whereas Korčula has preserved his family house in memory of the great Marko. Today the Depolo family remains the oldest Korčulan families.
The Revelin Tower from 1485 protects the area between the Arsenal and the Land Gate Tower.
The Arsenal of 1572 was built a the time when the importance of Korčula for the Venetian Republic was growing. Venice anchored of its war fleet over the winter in Korčula in the 18th century.
Above the entrance to the Land Gate, there are two symbols marking Korčula's history: a bas-relief with the winged lion of St. Mark, a symbol of the reign of the Venetian Republic and a stone tablet commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of the first Croatian king, Tomislav.
Badija is an islet in the eastern part of the Pelješac Channel with a surface of approx. 1 km2. The Ježevica Channel separates it from the island of Korčula. The average yearly temperature is 13°C. Along the coast, there are good anchoring sites for mid-sized vessels, while small boats can be moored west of the monastery.
Almost the entire surface of Badija is covered in macchia thickets and pine woods, with the highest point on the island being only 74m. The monastery and single nave church there today were erected in the late Gothic style, after 1420.
In 2003 the monastery was returned into the ownership of the Franciscans and can today be visited upon request. For more information please visit (www.badija.com).
The Chapel of St. Catherine (Sv. Katarina), dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries and situated on the hill behind the monastery. Badija and all of its surrounding natural beauty can be explored with a leisurely stroll along the gravel pathway, which covers the entire islet.
Korčula has many hidden beaches and bays worth for visiting, including the sandy beach of Vela Pržina in Lumbarda and the pebble beaches of Pupnatska Luka and Bačva near Pupnat, Žitna beach near Čara and Samograd beach near Račišće.