The unique nautical position

Hvar’s history lasts already for the millennia. Its wealth and contents are a result of numerous circumstances and advantages of Hvar. Nautical position of the Port of Hvar is certainly important. From the very beginnings of seafaring on sails, the island of Hvar was situated in the centre of sea routes in Adriatic. The port of Hvar, being protected by small islands and of naturally excellent shape, made a safe haven for boats, hiding from perilous winds.

As a frame for the first acquaintance with history, we extract the most important dates from the rich historical adventure of Hvar.

1st millennium BC

In the area of today’s city of Hvar the earliest known settlement is found. It was established by Illyrians, and it spreads out on slopes of hill at the northern side of town square (which was then a small lagoon that came all the way to the today’s cathedral). There is a strong hold on the top of the hill.

4th century BC

Greeks from the island of Pharos established PHAROS in Stari Grad.

4th – 3rd century BC

Some historians presume that at this time there where Hvar is today, was a Greek polis Heraclea.

2nd – 5th century

There is a smaller roman settlement and harbour around the small lagoon, which was later covered and became a town square.

6th – 7th century

Hvar (Lisina) is an important naval station within Byzantine Dalmatian. The town itself is situated in the area of today’s square, and on the south side of the square is a fort.

8th – 13th century

Hvar (Lesna) is almost deserted. There was a Benedictine monastery of St. Mary’s at the end of the lagoon, where today stands the cathedral.

11th century

Hvar is a part of Croatian state.


Under the influence of powerful Venice, island’s centre is moved from Stari Grad to Hvar. Hvar becomes a centre of dioceses (which consists of Hvar, Brač, and Vis) and it is a centre of communal government.


Hvar once more occupied by Venice and remains a part of it until 1797. Within Venetian state city of Hvar is the main military and naval station on the Adriatic and an important transit centre. It is the time when cultural development is based on agriculture, fishing, sailing and trade. In this period Hvar built its recognisable urban character, and brought the highest spiritual values (numerous poets, playwrights, historians and theologists). The first citizen’s theatre, founded in 1612, is certainly the most important part of the heritage.

1510, 6th of February

A miracle in Hvar! A small wooden cross bled.

1510 – 1514

Permanent military conflicts between nobles and citizens, which end with Venice’s intervention.


Island of Hvar was attacked by the Turks.


An explosion of gun-powder in town fortress caused great destruction in the city of Hvar.

1813 – 1918

Hvar is a part of Austria. This is a period of exceptional economic and cultural life of Hvar, which will revive by the end of 19th century with development of cultivation of vine.


A group of reputed Hvar’s residents, led by the bishop Juraj Dubković, founded a professional tourist association by the name of “The Hygienic Association Hvar”, which had as it goals promoting and development of tourist services in the city. This association was a predecessor of the Tourist board of City of Hvar.


Medical hotel of Empress Elisabeth, founded on the grounds of Doge’s palace. Today it is the hotel Palace.

1921 – 1941

Hvar is a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It is a period of poverty and migration to overseas countries. A slow development of tourism gives new economic perspectives in Hvar. Finances for development of tourist services and offer, and great promotion of Hvar are secured. The city bath and swimming area is built, then mentioned as the most beautiful in the Adriatic.

1945 – 1990

Hvar transforms from a small provincial town into the mundane, tourist summer resort, which results in massive, summer, recreational tourism.


Hvar is part of its homeland again, in free and independent Republic of Croatia. During Homeland War Hvar gave accommodation to the refugees.


Hvar, the cradle of Croatian tourism, celebrated 150th anniversary of tourism. Hvar geographic position, its favourable climate, clear sea and rich culture heritage favoured the development of the organized tourism in the distant 1868, when the Health Society was founded. It was opening the gate to make it the most important branch of the town economy and bringing Hvar to the fame of a world wide known tourist destination visited by most demanding and famous visitors from all over the world.

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