3 PERFECTLY VALID REASONS FOR VISITING HVAR CITY IN AUTUMN
Hello darlings! Today I'm taking you to Hvar city. This beautiful historical city shares its name with the island it is located on. Hvar city is a very popular tourist spot for a number of valid reasons. It certainly has quite a few noteworthy historical sights. The most famous landmarks include: the oldest European theatre for commoners, the 16th century city cathedral and the 16th century fortress. If you want to avoid the crowds, autumn is the perfect time to visit this time. So, let's have a look around!
THE OLDEST EUROPEAN THEATRE FOR COMMONERS (17th CENTURY)
Dating to seventeen century, this historical theatre still preserves much of its charm. It is fully preserved and still operates as a theatre. Four centuries of continual use is certainly a very impressive feat for any theatre. What is so interesting about this historical theatre is that it was the only theatre open to commoners (meaning people who are not of noble descent) of its time. It is the third oldest theatre in Europe, but the first one for commoners. At the time, most theatres of this type were privately owned and opened only to nobles. However, in Hvar it was decided that the theatre will be open for all. One of the reasons (and quite possibly the reason) might be the feuds between the nobles and the common folk that were taking place at the time. Hvar saw several rises against the nobles in its time. These feuds happened in the other parts of Croatia, but unlike the nobles living ashore who could really on their European pals to come and help them chop the common folk to pieces, island nobility didn't have that option. That is why they decided it is a good idea to try to get along with the commoners instead of (you know) killing them all in the battlefield and suffering casualties in the process. Island nobility learned to live with the common folk. Hvar's theatre was so liberal that it allowed visiting fisherman to keep its nests inside and spend the night in case of storms and so on. If history taught me anything, it is that Dalmatians are a pragmatic sort of people. Another thing worth noting is that this theatre is located right next to the sea port and that (for me at least) makes it an extra special and magical place. A square of St. Stephen hides a few more gems, so let's continue our tour and have a look at the best known one: the city cathedral of saint Stephen.
THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT STEPHEN (16th CENTURY)
In immediate vicinity of the theatre you can find the historical city cathedral of Saint Stephen. Dating back to the 16th century, this late Renaissance/early baroque church is a beauty. The bell tower dating to 17th century is also quite stunning. The cathedral of saint Stephen was build to replace a church destroyed by the Turks. Its shrine consists of pieces taken from 14th century Gothic church. This church was also build on a site of another earlier church (built in the 6th century). So, a lot of christian history at this spot right there. This cathedral is another wonderful example of 16th century Dalmatian architecture. If you want to see more of Dalmatian architecture, you can visit my old posts (here, here, here , here, here, here and here).
THE FORTRESS FORTICA (16th CENTURY)
Not far from the St. Stephen square, you will find a historical fortress Fortica. The foundations for this fortress go back to Illyrian times. However, the construction of the fortress as we know it today started in the 13th century. This fortress was not build just for show. It saved the lives of the city inhabitants when the Turks sacked the city in the 16th century. The multi layer fortification system is quite a sight! Inside the fortress you will find a rare collection of ancient amphora. You will need to climb for a bit in order to get to the top of the fortress, but when you do get there you'll be rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view of Hvar city. That's what I heard, anyway. I have yet to climb to the top myself. I know it might look like I'm travelling around and not doing anything, but that isn't the case. I work full time and the reason why I went to Hvar city to get some paperwork done. I did enjoy my stay. I'm not a classical tourist, I never travel anywhere just for the sake of travel, but I like researching and exploring every place I find myself in. I'm also very much a proponent of 'be a tourist in your own city' movement. Every opportunity to learn something new is a good one!
Thank you for reading & visiting!