The village of Povlja, island of Brač in Croatia

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PresentationPresentation

General presentationGeneral information
Povlja is a village and a port, approximately 400 inhabitants, located at the bottom of the Eastern split of a vast bay located at the North-East of the island of Brač in Croatia.

Administratively, Povlja is part of the commune of Selca, in the county of Split-Dalmatia.

EtymologyEtymology
The Povlja toponym, sometimes spelled Povja, comes from the Latin name Paulianus: at the time Roman, the port of Povlja named “Portus paulianus”; this name was submitted to a Slavonic influence later in “Paulia Luka” or “Pavlja Luka”, which became Povlja.

The Venetian ones named Povlja, Pòvia in Italian.

SituationSituation

Povlja is located on the north-eastern coast of the island of Brač, vis-a-vis will riviera of Makarska.

Povlja is to 5 km with the north-north-west of the port of Sumartin where the ferry of Makarska coming from the continent accosts.

The port. Click to enlarge the image.

VisitsVisits

Vestiges of the Early Christian Basilica (Starokršćanska bazilika)
Plan of the Saint John basilica. Click to enlarge the image.The current church Saint John de Povlja is with the site of the one of the largest early Christian basilicas of the island of Brač, dating from 5th and Life centuries.

One reconstituted today the plan of this ancient building, with a hall (1), a gate (2), a sacristy (5, 6.8), baptismal font (10) in an ancient baptistry (9) entire cover of frescos and with a chapter house (13).

The gate of the basilica and its apse with a window with three arcades are certain remainders best preserved this period.

The dimension of the basilica suggests that it was an important religious center, not only for Povlja and the island of Brač, but possibly for the continent also. The basilica had the imposing ones and rare covered octagonal baptismal font of a cupola, which is - with those of Poreč in Istrie - one of the two only preserved examples of baptistry covered with the 6th century in the Eastern Adriatic. The baptistry was built-in the parish church Saint John the Baptist, and he is venerated like the place of rest of a saint, holy Jean de Povlja.

This octagonal baptistry with cupola - only preserved in Croatia - fact integral part of the current parish church; the church also understands partially preserved frescos of the same time.

Ruins of the Benedictine abbey Saint John
Ruins of the abbey. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).In the cemetery one can see the vestiges of a monastery Benedictine: between the end of the 9th century and the beginning of Xe century the Benedictines built, on the foundations of the early Christian basilica, a monastery which will become famous. The monastery Saint John de Povlja is regarded as largest and oldest of Croatia.

Ruins of the abbey. Click to enlarge the image.The monks Benedictines transformed the baptistry of the old sanctuary into chapel of the monastery; on the ruins of the apse, they built their modest districts of dwelling.

In 1145, the monastery was devastated by pirates of Omiš or Neretva; it was restored in 1184 by the Ratko Brother. It is on this date that was engraved on the lintel of the entry of the monastery one of the first text in Cyrillic Croatian writing; this document is known like the “lintel of Povlja”. In 1184, the monks also registered on a parchment the incomes of the goods and a list of the grounds belonging to the monastery. This parchment is known like the charter of Povlja; it is written in the same writing.

At the 16th century, the Benedictines withdrew themselves from Povlja, when the Turks started to venture on the coasts of the island of Brač; a fortification with turns of defense was built between 1551 and 1559, which is still visible today.

The vestiges of the church bénédictine, which was partially preserved to the roof, understand the lintel and the apsidal part with a triforium.

Ruins of the abbey. Click to enlarge the image.Ruins of the abbey. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Ruins of the Saint John abbey. Click to enlarge the image.
The Lintel of Povlja (Povaljski prag)
The lintel of Povlja was above the southern door of the Saint John monastery. It was engraved by a famous stonecutter called Radonja, when the church was rebuilt in 1184. The inscription of the lintel immortalizes the contribution of this mason through his work carried out on the church, as well as the part played by a prince named Brečko which had donated grounds at ends of construction of the church.

The lintel of Povlja. Click to enlarge the image.What makes the value of this lintel it is that it - with the Charter of Povlja - one of the first documents is written in Croatian language in Western characters Cyrillic, also named “bosančica”.

The lintel suffered humiliation later to be used during many years like seat, then it was subtilized by a neighbor who incorporated it in the door of his storeroom. Extremely fortunately, the lintel was noticed by an archeologist who carried it with the archaeological museum of Split.

The original of the lintel of Povlja is preserved still today at the Museum of the Croatian archaeological monuments in Split.  A copy is exposed to the ethnographic Museum of Brač with Škrip.

The Charter of Povlja (Povaljska listina)
The Charter of Povlja is a scroll of parchment on which the monks of the monastery Saint John de Povlja recorded the grounds had by the monastery at the date of 1184; these grounds represented a sixth of the most fertile grounds of the oriental party of the island of Brač.

All the assets of the monastery were confirmed by a council held in the year 1250 at the episcopal palace of Bol; a copy of the Charter was made on this date.

Fragment of the charter of Povlja. Click to enlarge the image.The Charter is a long text of 53 lines, written in Western Cyrillic characters (“bosančica”). This text mentions 250 old Croatian names people or places.

It is one of the oldest known documents written in this language, and it is thus one of the most important historical documents for Croatian linguistics.

The charter is now preserved in the presbytery of the parish of the city close to Pučišća on the island of Brač.

The Church Saint John the Baptist (Crkva Svetog Ivana Krstitelja)
The parish church of Povlja is beside the vast ruins of the large basilica of 5th and Life centuries and the vestiges of the monastery Benedictine.

The current parish church was set up with 16th and 17th centuries by the enlarging of the early Christian baptistry become church of the monastery. To 18th and 19th centuries, the side aisles and the vaults were added. The bell-tower was set up of 1858 to 1872.

The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image.The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image.The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Inside the church statues are of wood which go back to 1848: on the left, the statue of saint Jerome; on the line, the statue of saint Jean-Baptiste. The statue of Our-Lady-of-Rosary realized by a local artist of Bol, Kuljis, goes back to 1856.

The church Saint John the Baptist. Click to enlarge the image.

The Port of Povlja (Luka Povlje)
The bay of Povlja was always a very sure port for the many fishing boats and, nowadays, it is very attractive for the pleasure boats.
The village of Povlja (author Ante Perkovic). Click to enlarge the image.The port. Click to enlarge the image.The port. Click to enlarge the image.
Beaches
The many splits of the surroundings of Povlja (Travna, Smokvica, Ticja Luka, Tatinja, etc) have beautiful beaches.
Quarries
A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).A stone quarry of Brač with Povlja. Click to enlarge the image.

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

HistoryHistory
The long one and rich history of Povlja goes up until the Roman Empire.
EconomyEconomy
The principal economic activities of Povlja are agriculture, the culture of the vine and the olive-tree, fishing, the exploitation of the stone quarries and tourism.

InformationPractical information

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