Hvar from the “Vár”

Hvar panorama

Hvar panorama

As amiramelody correctly guessed the other day, the city that I was curious about is indeed located in Croatia. It’s in the Mid-Dalmatian area to be more precise, on the so-called “sunniest island on the Mediterranean sea”, the island of Hvar. And -what do you know- the city is actually named after the island (or vice versa – I’m not exactly sure) so the correct answer to the Guess the Place post was Hvar! (note to self- I need to make more of these guessing posts, I really liked the answers and the suspense)

The funky title is kind of like a joke in my native language (Hungarian), because the city name holds in itself an actual Hungarian word (var-vár- means fortress)… And guess what was the first thing we saw as we were driving towards the city?

hvar fortress

hvar fortress

Yes, that’s right – a fortress! (sorry for the very bad quality, but considering that we were in a moving car with windows that couldn’t be opened, I think it turned out pretty great).  Anyways, it just caught us by (a pleasant) surprise to see some lingual roots so far South. Another really amazing thing was that the fortress walls stretched down to the port, giving it and the whole city very good protection during hard times.

hvar fortress walls

hvar fortress walls

Although it’s official name is Spanjola fortress, it’s not exactly Spanish. Construction of its’ present state started in the early 13th century, when Hvar was under Venetian rule. Legend has it that Spanish military engineers took part in the construction in the late 14th century, thus the name “Spanjola” fortress. It has been built on previous edifices, its foundations lie on the fortification dating from the first half of the first millennium BC, followed by a Byzantine citadel from the Late Antiquity. Throughout history it has gone under a lot of repairs and adaptations until it reached its present form.

map of hvar fortress

map of hvar fortress

getting to the view

getting to the view

coffee shop

coffee shop

sticks and stones

sticks and stones

At first we were hesitant about entering the fortress -after seeing the 25 kuna entrance fee (it’s about 3,5 Euros-not so much, but still), however, once we went in, not a sign of regret was ever shown. The view is absolutely amazing. I don’t even know how to describe it. I’m going to show some photos so you can imagine it, but just so you know, the photos don’t do any justice to the real panorama once you’re there. So here are the photos, imagine Hvar as 10 times as awesome!

hvar view

hvar view

Hvar panorama

Hvar panorama

Yeah, I know..pretty cool, huh? The mixture of the traditional Croatian small town, seasoned with an impressive little port having more than 10 little islands (the Pakleni islands) as a background…you’ve got to hand it to Hvar-it’s beautiful!

hvar church I

hvar church I

Hvar church II.

Hvar church II.

Hvar city

Hvar city

Hvar and the Pakleni islands

Hvar and the Pakleni islands

the port

the port

Pakleni islands at sundown

Pakleni islands at sundown

Pakleni islands map

Pakleni islands map

The fortress houses a museum and a prison too. The museum exhibits relics found near the Pakleni islands, more than 35 meters deep in the Adriatic. There are a lot of vessels, (amphorae) that were used to transport oil, thought to be originated from central Italy from the 2nd century BC. It was really cool to see how well they are preserved after all this time:

hvar amphorae

hvar amphorae

Hvar vessels

Hvar vessels

Hvar relics

Hvar relics

The prison was a little bit frightening for me (actually, climbing down those steep, slippery stairs was), and those inhumanely small chambers gave me the shivers. There were only 4 cells which probably means that the prisoners didn’t have quite the “luxury” of staying in one on their own. There must have been a dozen or more poor souls locked up in there- our imagination ran wild.

Hvar prison cell

Hvar prison cell

Hvar cell

Hvar cell

hvar prison

hvar prison

We were contemplating about taking the stairs that led down to the heart of the city, but quickly realized that we were too lazy to climb back up again to our cars, and the sun was going down too, so we decided we’d hit the road. But our biggest mistake was not waiting for the sunset. I regret that terribly, nevertheless I’ve made a quick shot of the Sun on Fire (again, of bad quality, from the car, shame on me..) but hoping that you will learn from my mistake and once you’re there, you’ll wait for the sunset. Because it’s simply exquisite!

Hvar sunset

Hvar sunset

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