The island of Brač in Croatia

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General presentationGeneral information
Chart of the island of Brač. Click to enlarge the image.The south-eastern coast of the island of Brač. Click to enlarge the image.The island of Brač (Otok Brač) is an island of Croatia which is part of the archipelago of the Dalmatian islands which is located in the Adriatic Sea.

With a surface of almost 400 km², Brač is the largest island of Dalmatia and the third larger island of Croatia after the islands of Krk and Cres in Istrie.

The island of Brač has a population resident of almost 14,000 inhabitants, divided in 23 cities and villages, energy of the main city, the Supetar capital, with more than 3,500 inhabitants, at the village of Novo Selo, where saw only a dozen people. The population is primarily on the coasts north and west (Supetar, Pučišća, Sutivan, Sumartin, Postira and Milna), because the south is rather mountainous - except for the town of Bol - and the inhabitants live there mainly of agriculture.

EtymologyEtymology
The toponym of Brač (to pronounce “bratche”) comes from the name illyrien of the island, “brentos”, which means “stag”, because of the abundance of the stag Elaphe on this island. The old Greeks named besides it “Elaphusa” of the name of the stag in Greek, elaphos. The Roman historian Polybe named it Bretia, and Pline the Old one, Brattia.

In Italian, Brač names Brazza. To note that the French explorer Pierre Savorgnan held his title, of Italian count of Brazza, the island of Brač; it transmitted itself this name to Congo-Brazzaville: thus, by a curious filiation, this island of the Adriatic gave its name to this country of central Africa.

SituationSituation

The channel of Brač. Click to enlarge the image.The channel of Hvar between Brač and Hvar. Click to enlarge the image.
The island of Brač is located off the coasts of Dalmatia power station, near the port city of Split.

The island of Brač seen since Gornja Brela. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).It is separated from the continent through Brač, broad 11 km, and island of Hvar through Hvar.

In the west, the strait of the Door of Split (Vrata Splitska) separates it from the island of Šolta.

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History and traditionsHistory, literature, arts, traditions, legends, religions, myths, symbols…

HistoryHistory
Chart Ottoman by Piri Reis (1465-1555). Click to enlarge the image.The island of Brač was inhabited as of prehistory: during the “Bronze Age” then the “age of iron”, tribes illyriennes live in the interior parts of the island. Ruins of the fortifications which they set up to protect from the Greek invasions are visible in many places of the island, as in Škrip or Bol. The island of Brač thus did not know Greek colonization, contrary to many coastal islands of the Adriatic. However the Greeks traded with the tribes illyriennes of the island, as the archaeological discoveries made in bay testify some to Vičja close to Ložišća.

The Romans succeeded Illyriens in the domination of the island of Brač; they created the first stone quarries. But Brač - that the Romans named Brattia - was also famous for its excellent goat’s cheese, its wine and its olive oil, as indicates it the Pline historian the Old one.

Croatian tribes settled on the island as from the 9th century; at the 11th century, Brač passed under the domination of the Croatian kingdom of Petar Krešimir IV.

The Republic of Venice seized Brač in 1420 and will preserve it until the fall of the Republic in 1797. For this period, the population was decimated by epidemics of plague, and, contrary, was reinforced by driven out Christians of the continent by the invaders Turkish. During the 18th century, the economy of the island developed thanks to the production of wine and olive oil, with the cattle breeding, fishing, and the exploitation of the stone of Brač.

Ruins of a village on the coast of Brac. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).In 1814, after turbulences of the Napoleonean wars, the island passed under the domination of the empire Austro-Hungarian; it will remain there until 1918. The island is prosperous, but, at the beginning of the 20th century, the disease devastates the vineyard and forces most of the population to emigrate towards the Latin America - in particular Argentina and Chile -, New Zealand and Australia.

At the 20th century, the island of Brač follows the destiny of Croatia within the Yugoslav Kingdom, then of the socialist republic of Yugoslavia, and, finally, of independent Croatia starting from 1991.

GeographyGeography
Chart of the island of Brač. Click to enlarge the image.Cultures on the southern coast. Click to enlarge the image.The island of Brač is long 36 km and broad 13.6 km, with a surface of approximately 396 km²; the length on its east coasts of 118 km. Its top highest, Vidova Gora, culminates to 778 m; this mountain is located on the southern part of the island, which is the most steep part (between Bol and Farska). Since the southern part, the central plate drops slowly to the northern coast, less low. This plate is traversed ravines, but without any waterway; the only permanent sources of water sprinkle the valley above Bol. The most fertile grounds of the island are mainly in the west, between Ložišća and Nerežišća, and in the east, between Selca, Novo Selo and Sumartin.
VegetationVegetation
The vegetation of the island of Brač is of Mediterranean type with a prevalence of a maquis and holm oaks (Quercus ilex); pines of Alep (Pinus halepensis) autochtones push up to 300 m of altitude; black pines (Pinus Nigra subsp. dalmatica) reaches 400 Mr. Seul a quarter of the island east covered by the forest.
EconomyEconomy
Pierre de Brač
The island of Brač is famous since Antiquity for its white calcareous stone which is present everywhere on the island: because of the erosion of the grounds during centuries the cover of the ground became very thin and lets appear the karstic basement. This omnipresent stone is a calamity for the farmers and the shepherds, who did not cease separating the stones from the ground in order to make cultivable the thin pieces where to plant the vine and the olive-tree, or to make feed the sheep. The not cut stones became terraces, low walls along the pastoral ways, and even of the monticules which put rhythm into the landscape and delight the tourist today.

Stone mortars of Brač. Click to enlarge the image.This stone of Brač is not, strictly speaking, of the marble - which are a metamorphic rock - but a calcareous, very pure and very white sedimentary rock, of an extreme smoothness, which imitates the marble. This rock is polished naturally until obtaining the soft brilliance which one can admire on the paving stones of Dubrovnik, Split or Hvar. It would have moreover the characteristic to harden, with the wire of time, the air, guaranteeing the perenniality of palace like that of Diocletian.

A career on the southern coast. Click to enlarge the image.Historically, the most important stone quarries of Brač were near the northern coast, for practical reasons of removal of the rough blocks by the ships of transport during last centuries. They are located close to Pučišća, Selca, Postira, Splitska and Donji Humac.

Qualities of this stone caused its use in decorative masonry and the birth of a tradition of stonecutters, maintained until today. The most famous architects and Dalmatian sculptors of the Rebirth like Georges the Dalmatian one (Juraj Dalmatinac), Andre Alesi (Andrija Alešija) and Nicolas the Florentin (Nikola Firentinac) also exerted their creative talents with the stone of Brač.

The former Romans knew already qualities of this stone and used it to build, in all the province of Dalmatia, of the cities, the amphitheaters, the temples, the tombs and the palaces, like the Palace of Diocletian to Split. Later, the stone of Brač was used with construction of the bell-towers of the medieval cathedrals of Šibenik and Trogir. Abroad it was used to build the White House in Washington, the Parliament of Vienna and that of Budapest, and the Canadian memorial with the combatants of the Great War, in Vimy, in Artois.

Agriculture
The agriculture of the island of Brač is mainly based on the vine and the olive-tree, as well as the fig tree, the caroubier, the sour cherry tree (maraska), the almond tree and, at one more recent time, also the citrus fruits.

The most important vineyard is located on the southern slope of the hills above the town of Bol; the vine is cultivated there on small terraces. The famous red wine, rather dark, that it produces, Bolski Plavac, is characterized by its pleasant bitterness and its specific bouquet.

The island of Brač produces approximately half of the production of olive oil of Dalmatia. Everywhere on Brač, one notices, among the orchards of olive-trees, small round stone huts, with the roofs in the shape of dome; they are old shelters of shepherds, called “bunja”.

Cultures on the southern coast. Click to enlarge the image.Cultures on the southern coast. Click to enlarge the image.Cultures on the southern coast. Click to enlarge the image.
The Breeding
The sheep’s milk cheese of Brač is famous for its original taste coming from what the ewes graze of the very aromatic plants.
Fishing
Fishing remains one of the economic main activities of the island of Brač; fish canning facilities are in Postira and Milna.
TraditionsTraditions
The songs of traditional sailors of the Dalmatian littoral are represented on the island of Brač by a certain number of “klapa” (groups of singers, like the bagadoù of Brittany). The most known klapas of Brač are those of Postira, Pučišća, Selca and Bol.

InformationPractical information

General information
Schedules of the ferries. Click to enlarge the image.The channel of Hvar. Click to enlarge the image.
The Maritime transport
The capital of the island of Brač, Supetar, is connected to Split by car-ferries several times per day (one hour of crossing); approximately every hour during the summer months, less frequently during the winter months.

With the other end of the island, on the point is, the port of Sumartin is connected to Makarska during the summer months, also by a transporter; 4 passages per day in June; 5 passages per day in July and in August; 50 min of crossing.

A catamaran, fast ship for passengers only, who connects Split to Jelsa (island of Hvar) made stopover with Bol; 1 crossing per day.

Another catamaran connecting Split to Hvar, on the island of Hvar, fact stopover in Milna; 1 only passage, Tuesday. Only in July and August.

Up to date schedules of these three lines on the site of Jadrolinija: www.jadrolinija.hr.

Road transports
The regional road D113 connects the Supetar capital at the end is island of Brač, the port of Sumartin; the overall length of the road is of 39.4 km. Between Supetar and Sumartin, the road passes by Nerežišća, Pražnica, Gornji Humac and Selca.

The D114 road connects D113 to the port of Milna in the west, since the junction of Nerežišća. The D115 road connects D113 to the town of Bol since the junction of Gornji Humac.

The principal cities of the island (Bol, Selca, Sumartin, Milna) are connected to Supetar by bus several times per day and all the year; up to 8 ways per day in summer.

Autotrans company

Addresses: Porat 12 - Supetar

Telephone: 00,385 (0) 21,631,122

Website: www.autotrans.hr

Air transports
The island of Brač has a small airport located at a few km north of Bol.

From April to October, Croatia Airlines ensures each end of the week a flight between Zagreb and Bol (www.croatiaairlines.com).

Other European companies proposes flights charters in summer.

Airport of Brač

Telephone: 00,385 (0) 21,559,711

Website: www.airport-brac.hr.

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Interactive map of the island of Brać in Croatia
The town of Supetar, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Postira, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Pučišća, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Selca, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Bol, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Nerežišća, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Milna, island of Brač in Croatia
The town of Sutivan, island of Brač in Croatia
Close topics
The county of Split-Dalmatie in Croatia - Booklet Dalmatian Zagora (pdf)
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia - Booklet Dalmatian Zagora (pdf)
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia - Booklet Islands (pdf)
The town of Split in Croatia
The Cetina river in Croatia
The town of Omiš in Croatia
The riviera of Makarska in Croatia
The natural park of Biokovo in Croatia
The island of Brač in Croatia
The island of Hvar in Croatia
Broader topics
Home page
The county of Šibenik-Knin in Croatia
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia
The county of Dubrovnik-Neretva in Croatia
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