Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

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THE HISTORY OF KORCULA.

Because of its cultural heritage and numerous legends told over the generations Korcula is undoubtedly one of the most interesting islands in the Croatian Adriatic. Other towns on the island that are worth mentioning are Lumbarda and Vela Luka. A legend tells that in the 12th century BC the town was founded by the Trojan hero Antenor, while Greco-Roman writers recorded the town as Korkyra Melania. The Latin name Corcyra Nigra (black Korcula) was given to the island because of its dense woods.
Since time immemorial the inhabitants of Korcula have been known as skilled stone masons, shipbuilders and seafarers. The local masters built the Gothic cathedral of St. Mark over as many as 150 years. Today, it proudly stands in the center of the town as its most valuable building. Among other numerous buildings of immeasurable beauty, are Arneri Palace, Renaissance Gabrielis Palace from the 16th century, presently housing the Town Museum, former Bishop's Palace from the 17th century with the rich Abbey Treasury, Town Hall from the 16th century, chapel of Our Lady of Ploce, the Land Gate from the 17th century that leads to Revelin, the grand tower from the 15th century.
From 35 BC the island was part of the Roman Empire; traces of Roman settlements have been discovered in the vicinity of Lumbarda, Vela Luka, Blago and on Pelegrin. On the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the island became part of the Ostrogoth state (AD 493) and then came under the Byzantine rule (AD 555). In the 9th century it was taken by the Nerentani/Narentini, and in AD 1000 by Venice. In 1180 the island came under the Hungarian-Croatian king (in 1214 the statute of the town and the island were passed). From 1221, during two centuries, the island had several rulers - rulers from Zahumlje, Venice (in 1298 the Genoese fleet defeated the Venetian fleet near Korcula), King Lodovic I (1358), Bosnian rulers (1390) and the Dubrovnik Republic (1413-1417).
In the period 1420-1797 the island was under Venice but it retained its autonomy. Due to frequent attacks of the Turkish fleet and pirate ships (all until the beginning of the 18th century) several important points on the island were fortified (especially the town of Korcula). - After the fall of Venice there was another period of various rulers (1797-1805 Austria, 1805-1813 France, 1813-1815 Great Britain, 1815-1918 Austria). Korcula was under the Italian occupation in the period 1918-1921, and after that was annexed to Croatia. The centre of the island, the town of Korcula, with its cultural and historical heritage, its town ramparts (similar to those of Dubrovnik) ranks among the favourite tourist destinations in southern Croatia.

KORCULA, THE BIRTHPLACE OF MARCO POLO.

Marco's father, Nikola, and uncle, Matteo, founded their trading outpost in Korcula, which at that time fell under Venetian Marine control, in Venice, Italy. Korcula was the starting point of their business trade and the birthplace of Marco. Marco's father and uncle penetrated deep into Asia. They erected a tower and founded their own trading outpost in the town of Sudac on the Crimea. They had their main trade centre in Constantinople, to which many Korcula businessmen and shipbuilders were travelling and for some time residing. Matteo and Nikola Polo traded successfully with the Persians. They were aware of little known paths, which led through Syria and Iraq, to the coasts of the Persian Gulf, and they also knew of areas where pearl oysters could be found.

They knew routes that led to fur traders in southern Siberia. They had trade contacts with dignitaries of various Tartar peoples and they reached the court of The Great Kublai Khan (emperor of the entire universe) in China. They started their journey before Marco Polo was born. They left their family and unborn Marco, as they looked towards the Far East.
Marco Polo was 6 years old when his father and uncle set out further eastward on their first trip to China (‘Cathay’ as it was called by them). He was 15 years old when his father and uncle returned to Venice to find that Marco's mother had passed away in their absence. He remained in Venice with his father and uncle for two years.
At the end of year 1271, receiving letters and valuable gifts for the Great Khan from the new Pope Tedaldo (Gregory X), the Polos once more set out from Venice on their journey to the east. They took with them 17-year-old Marco Polo and two friars. The two friars hastily turned back after reaching a war zone, but the Polos carried on. They passed through Armenia, Persia, and Afghanistan, over the Pamirs, and all along the Silk Road to China.
Polo brought the very ideas of paper currency and coal to Europe and he included second-hand reports of areas he had not visited, like Japan and Madagascar – to mention but a few of his accomplishments.
Korcula St Nikola

vieuw over Korcula

vieuw over Korcula

land gate Korcula

Church St Anton Korcula

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