Stari Grad Plain, also known as Ager; UNESCO World Heritage Site

This unique plain remains almost untouched as it was 384 BC when the area was colonized by the Ancient Greeks. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, as well as small stone shelters bearing testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division, which has remained intact over 24 centuries.

The Plain is actually a cultural landscape shaped by millennia. Its basic architecture was determined 24 centuries ago by the Greek colonists, who divided it into rectangular plots of 1 x 5 stadia (around 180 x 190 m) bounded by dry stone wall, with major paths intersecting it horizontally and vertically at regular intervals. The plot division system of the Stari Grad Plain represents one of the masterpieces of Greek culture in the Mediterranean.

The procession „Following the Cross“; UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

This unique tradition holds a deep spiritual connection with the island’s population, dating back to the 16th century. It takes place through the night on Maundy Thursday, passing through Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska. Each of the six groups starts at their church and follows the course in a clockwise direction, meaning that the groups never meet. The group is led by one cross-bearer, while other members are dressed in white tunics.

For many people of faith, particularly the cross bearer who has been waiting for this honor for years, it’s a true trial to lead and follow the procession on the eve of the greatest Christian holiday, on a journey over 20 km long. During the entire length of the procession, aside from the prayers, impressive archaic chants can be heard performed by the famous cantors. The central religious song is an interpretation of the medieval Passion text Our Lady’s Cry in the form of a dialogue.

The most impressive part of the procession takes place at dawn in front of the church itself, when the cross bearer runs the last 50 meters of the course and, in climax, ends his long Way of the Cross on his knees.

Hvar lace; UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Lace that is tied from agave plant leaf threads is a special traditional skill practiced and made only by nuns in the Benedictine monastery in the town of Hvar, more than 130 years ago.

This is extremely demanding work, as is the task of creating fine but strong thread from the agave leaves, which is particularly arduous. Larger lace pieces take five to six months to complete, and every one is unique, as they are not made to set patterns, which is one of the reasons why Hvar lace is so highly prized.

Klapa singing; UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

This multipart singing (traditionally a capella polyphonic singing) is an expression of the cultural identity of Dalmatia as a whole, therefore including the island of Hvar. The leader of each singing group is the first tenor, followed by several tenors, baritones and basses. During performances, the singers stand in a tight semicircle.

Klapa songs can easily be recognized by their inner musical structure, melody, harmony and lyrical content. The most common forms of klapa songs polyphony are three-part and four-part singing. The lyrics are mostly about love and they range from poetic, cheerful, optimistic and humorous to exaggerated sentimentalism.

The Mediterranean diet; UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

The tradition of a healthy lifestyle and gastronomy on island Hvar dates back centuries. This is possible due to the fresh fish, seafood, homegrown fruit and vegetables as well as wine made from sun-kissed grapes, which all play a very large role in the Dalmatian diet generation.

The Mediterranean diet consists of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and customs related to sowing, harvesting, fishing, cattle breeding, preserving, processing, cooking, and especially sharing and consuming food. Since this diet relies on a particular way of life which in harmony with nature and the use of its resources, it is the foundation of the Mediterranean identity, and the combination of many cultures and influences which have been continuously passed on for generations.

The Mediterranean diet alters its basic ingredients according to seasonal rhythms but has been relying on the same fundamental foods (fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, figs, olive oil, fresh spices, etc.) over a long period in history.

Alongside the connection between nature and nutrition, it’s important to emphasize the diet’s social component.  The Mediterranean diet accentuates the importance of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, but also a lifestyle guided by respect for diversity. It plays an important part in cultural spaces, during festivals and celebrations, by gathering people of all ages and social classes.

Find out more: Mediterranean diet unesco

Dry stone walling, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

The art of dry-stone walling is skillful construction in stone that is commonly used to separate land plots. Stone walling means the assembly of stones on top of each other without the use of any connection material, except sometimes soil. Locals call it “suhozid”. Dry stone walling is really a cultural phenomenon, the mark on a place created by human toil, which also imbues a value in ecological, material and landscape terms.

Ownership of land plots was delineated with dry stone walls, often raised with the stones which had been removed by hand to free up little patches of soil for cultivation; dry stone walls created pens for livestock, provided terracing to prevent soil erosion, and lined the island’s paths. It has been said that the farming areas of our islands, coastal areas and hinterland are not just empty spaces: the landscape is marked by stone walls which, together with the villages, create a unique space for work and pleasure. The landscape with stone walling is part of our cultural identity, and a factor confirming that we belong in the Mediterranean cultural circle.