Old Town Korcula occupies a peninsula on the eastern end of Korcula Island in southern Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. Often described as “Little Dubrovnik”, the town is very attractive when approached by sea (see photographs above, and below).
The town was founded by the Trojan (Greek) hero, Antenor, reportedly in the 8th Century B.C. After being part of the Roman Empire, the Venetians ruled Korcula (Island) from 1420 for nearly 400 years. The island was part of the Austra-Hungarian Empire from 1815 to 1918. The independent Kingdom of Korcula lasted from 1921 to 1941. Then as part of the post-World War II realignment of Eastern Europe, Korcula was part of SFR (Socialist Federal Republic) of Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1991, when it again gained independence (as part of Croatia).
Korcula Island is the third most inhabited island of Croatia with a population of 16,000, although only 400 live in Old Town Korcula.
The Old Town of Korcula is a masterwork of urban planning where streets were laid out in a herringbone pattern to tame strong winds from the sea while still allowing air to circulate freely. The streets to the west of the center street , Sy Roka, are straight, whereas the streets on the eastern half of Old Town are curved.
Built over the course of 500 years, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Mark (Katedrala Sv. Marka) dominates Old Town. The architecture is ample proof of the artistry of Korcula’s famous stonemasons. Note the lions of St. Mark that flank the entry portal (along with St. Mark’s statue).
The local legend is that the explorer Marco Polo was born in Korcula, after his family had left Venice and sailed south on the Adriatic Sea to the island. His home (and a Marco Polo Museum) in Old Town Korcula are major attractions. The Polo family still lives in the old house and a new baby boy was born into the family in June 2015 and was given the name “Marco Polo”.
Our dinner was in the apartment, prepared from fresh, local ingredients we sourced along the Adriatic Coast.