Menu of this site

The town of Stari Grad, island of Hvar in Croatia

Published page
Headings[Photos] [Presentation] [Situation] [Visits] [Culture] [Practical Information] [Other topics]

[Previous topics] [Croatia] [Parent topics] [Next topics] [Via Gallica]


General presentationGeneral information
Escutcheon of the town of Stari Grad. Click to enlarge the image.Stari Grad is a harbor small town, of almost 2000 inhabitants, located on the northern coast of the island of Hvar in Croatia.

Stari Grad is also a commune being part of the county of Split-Dalmatia and which understands the localities of Fraud, Rudina, Selca and Vrbanj.

It is one of oldest the town of Croatia, rested by the Greeks into 384 before J. - C.; it constitutes the historical heart of the island of Hvar.

The old city of Stari Grad was registered on the list of the world heritage of UNESCO on July 7th, 2008.

Stari Grad means “old city” in Croatian; of “stari”, old man and “grad”, city.

The city was founded into 384 before J. - C. by Greek colonists coming from the island of Paros; they probably gave to the colony the name of “Pharos” (Φapoσ) per reference in the name of their metropolis.

At the time Roman, the city became known under the name of Faria, which was transformed into Hvar by the Slavic population which took possession of the area later (the letter F which is not part of the old Slavic alphabet).

When the capital of the island of Hvar was moved towards the new town of Hvar, the old capital was indicated like the “old city”: its Latin name of “Civitas Vetus” is attested starting from 1205.

Its names Croatian (Stari Grad) and Italian (Cittavecchia di Lesina) preserved this direction.

In the local dialect, the inhabitants names their city “Stori Grod”.


The port of Stari Grad (author Cord Walter). Click to enlarge the image.Stari Grad is located on the north-western coast of the island of Hvar at the bottom of a long bay, Starigradski Zaliv. This bay is a deep water channel, protected from the winds of north by the hills of the peninsula of Kabal, and, in the south, by the peak of the mountain of Hvar.

Panorama of the town of Stari Grad (author F.G. COM). Click to enlarge the image.The city is at the place where the bay meets the vast plain of Stari Grad being reproduced on the list of the world cultural heritage of UNESCO. This situation for a long time made this area attractive for the human settlements.

Stari Grad is distant of 18 km of the capital of the island, Hvar.


A street of the old town of Stari Grad (Elgaard author). Click to enlarge the image.There remains old Greek city of Pharos only some architectural vestiges which give indications on its origin plan, such certain parts of the Greek walls. Some eleven meters length walls are the remainders of part of the walls north of the city, while the walls located at the east are hardly visible behind the Saint John vault; it is at this place that the main entrance of the ancient city was. The blocks of stone of the ramparts were incorporated in the foundations of the bell-tower of the Saint Stephen church.

Plan of the town of Stari Grad (Ori author). Click to enlarge the image.The city presents today - especially southern part of bay - a maze of lanes to the traditional stone houses of size, with their flowered staircases and their carved balconies, their arched passages and their closed gardens, which make all the charm of Stari Grad. It is this oldest part of Stari Grad which is a site protected from the World heritage of UNESCO.

Dominate bay, the old country houses preserved their external oven.

The Chapel Saint John (Crkva Svetog Ivana)
The chapel Saint John (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.The Saint John chapel is the oldest Christian monument of the island of Hvar. It was built at the 12th century on the foundations of an old ancient basilica of the primitive Christian church of the 5th-Life centuries (one will notice on the ground the mosaics of the 6th century, vestige of the old sanctuary).

Mosaic of the chapel Saint John (Dark author Old). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).

The Saint John chapel is at the end is old city, close to the old door of the ancient city, in a lane which joined the Saint Stephen church. Since the lane, steps go down in the very sober Romance nave, with still awkward architecture.

The Church Saint Stephen (Crkva Svetog Stjepana)
The church Saint Stephen de Stari Grad (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The parish church Saint Stephen (Sveti Stjepan) was built between 1604 and 1708 on the site of the cathedral first of the island of Hvar, dating from the 12th century - the seat of the bishopric had not been transferred yet to Hvar.

This church baroque has a bell-tower, separated bell-tower, built on the vestiges of the door of the Greek city of Pharos, with stones recovered on the old ramparts. Inside the church, one can admire the triptych of “the Virgin, holy Jerome and holy Jean-Baptiste” of Francesco da Santacroce.

The church Saint Stephen (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.
The Castle Tvrdalj (Gradina Tvrdalj)
The bust of Petar Hectorovic (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The Tvrdalj castle is actually a large strengthened villa which was the residence of summer of Petar Hektorović, a famous Croatian poet of the Rebirth (Stari Grad, 1487 - Stari Grad, March 13th, 1572) resulting from a noble family of the island, also known under the name of Pietro Ettoreo. Many families patricians had their residence of summer in Stari Grad, and the grandfather of Petar, Hector Hektorović had acquired, at the 15th century, a ground at this place named Tvrdalj; this name supposes the existence of a former fortification.

The construction of the villa occupied the poet a good part of his life during the 16th century, of 1520 to 1569. During the years 1520 and 1530, the building work related mainly to housing for the travellers and the poor. However, in 1539, a Turkish attack on Stari Grad left most of the burnt and ransacked city: Petar Hektorović flees towards Italy; of return in 1541, he undertook to strengthen his house so that it can be used as refuge for the inhabitants.

In 1571, Stari Grad was again attacked and Tvrdalj was set fire to by the Turks. One year later, Petar Hektorovic died and damaged the Tvrdalj palace was divided between his/her parents. The installation of the villa was continued according to the indications left by Petar Hektorović in its will.

Tvrdalj was conceived like a simple residence of summer, without any decorative traditional statue or other decorations in the fashion of noble houses of the time. Its defensive architecture gives him a distinctive appearance however: a high wall surrounds the complex of dwelling, with defensive characteristics like a ravelin and a “altana” (loggia built on the roof) with merlons. The building presents, on the side of the sea, a long frontage closed to protect it from any attack. The main entrance was done by a gate baroque giving on the sea front, where the inscription “Conditori Omnium” (With the creator of all things) accommodated the visitors. On the east coast, a housing for the travellers and the poor was, having his own entry.

The design of Hektorović was a simple plan of residences on one level around a central court. Districts of dwelling, kitchen and the cellar, as well as the districts of the servants, and several wells, are laid out around the interior court.

Frontage of the palace Tvrdalj (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.The Palace Tvrdalj (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.Inscription on the palace Tvrdalj (author F.G. COM). Click to enlarge the image.
The Palace Tvrdalj (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The court understands a sea water swimming pool, surrounded by a chapel and a terrace with arcades. This rectangular swimming pool, fed out of sea water, was used with the breeding as fish (gray mules); tens of goldfishes swim there today. This fish pond evokes also the main work of the poet: “Ribanje I ribarsko prigovaranje” (“Fishing and conversation of fishermen”).

Garden of the palace Tvrdalj (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.Beside the swimming pool a small tower with pigeon is. Hektorović says itself that its construction started with the parabola of fish in the basin, symbolizing Christ, and finished with the doves, which symbolized the Holy Spirit.

Behind the principal building is the “gracious closed garden”, mentioned in the poem “Ribanje”, where Hektorović cultivated medicinal herbs.

In front of the castle a statue in bust of Petar Hektorović is.

Inscription on the latrines of the palace Tvrdalj (author Roberto Fogliardi). Click to enlarge the image.Engraved on the walls of the residence, at various places, one finds Italian or Croatian, Latin inscriptions who summarize the values of the poet and the vanity of the life. These inscriptions date from the building of origin built by Petar Hektorović.

Obviously of stone in the atrium a hole presents which was used to empty the chamberpots; engraved in the stone above the door of these latrines, one reads this sentence “If you nosti, cur superbis” (If you know yourself, why you are to trust?).

On a plate in the wall under the arcade close to the swimming pool, an Italian inscription: “Fede E realta O quanto E bleated” (Like the faith and the truth are beautiful!).

The swimming pool of the Palace Tvrdalj (author Roberto Fogliardi). Click to enlarge the image.Above the entry of the swimming pool: “Petrus Hectoreus, Marini filius, landlord sumptu and industria, AD suum and amicor usum construxit” (Petar Hektorović, son of Sailor, built it with its own expenses and by its own efforts, for its own use and that of his/her friends).

On the northern side of the basin: “Memorae novissima” (you Recall what will occur later).

On the east coast of the basin: “Nihil occultum” (Nothing is hidden).

Above the inscription the print of dishes and jugs is which were formerly embedded in the wall.

On the southern part of the basin: “Respice quod salvant nec apertures nec gloria mundi not decoration aut aetas bit quia cuncta rapit” (Remembers that neither the wealths, neither glory, neither the beauty, nor the age can save you death, which takes everyone).

On the west coast of the basin: “Connventibus virtute and genio F.” (Built by uprightness and the skill to work together).

The low-relief above the inscription presents symbols: two compasses, a wheel, and faces of a man and a woman radiating of light.

On the wall close to the ethnographic collection: “If screw AD vitam ingredi serva elected” (If you want to enter the life, observes the commands).

On the wall on the west coast, outside: “H’m fugiunt fluxu not redeunte dies” (Alas the days ebb like the waves but do not return).

Addresses: Trg Tvrdalj.

Telephone: 00,385 (0) 21 76 57 63

Schedules: from May to June, 10:30 at 12:30; from July to September: 10:00 at 13:00, and 18:00 at 21:00

Tariff of entry: 10 kunas.

The Palace Biankini (Palaca Biankini)
The Biankini palace is a building néo-rebirth built at the 19th century by a family of captains of navy, Biankini.

This residence, with a court and a garden, shelters today the Museum of Stari Grad which presents: an archaeological collection of the plain of Stari Grad, a multi-media exposure devoted to a Greek ship cast in front of the island of Hvar and a room of captain of the 19th century. The first stage presents an exposure of Croatian painters originating in the city, of which the painter of the 19th century Juraj Plančić.

The Biankini palace is located near the Tvrdalj castle; the visits are twinned, with the same schedules.

The Chapel Saint Roch (Crkva Svetog Roka)
The chapel Saint Roch (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The chapel Saint- Roch is a church of the 16th century built by Petar Hektorović, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, holy Roch.
The Dominican Monastery (Dominikanski samostan)
The Dominican monastery was founded in 1482, and its construction was spread out over 15th and 16th centuries. It was damaged by the Turks and was strengthened in 1571 at the next century.

The monastery has an old library, archives and a small archaeological collection made up of Greek and Roman vestiges of old Pharos.


Schedules: from May to June: 10:30 at 12:30; from July to September: 10:00 at 13:00 and 18:00 at 21:00

Tariff of entry: 10 kunas.

The Church Saint Peter (Crkva Svetog Petra)
The church Saint Peter (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.The church Saint Peter (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.The church Saint Peter is the church of the monastery of the Dominicans.

Inside, one notices the table “the burial of Christ” allotted to Tintoret and ordered by Petar Hektorović (the poet would be represented there under the features of the old man); also, two paintings of Gianbattista Crespi. On the high altar a crucifix of the 17th century is.

Petar Hektorović is buried in front of the furnace bridge.

The Chapel Saint Nicholas (Crkva Svetog Nikole)Ruins of the Chapel Saint Lucy (Crkva Svete Lucije)The Chapel Saint Jerome (Crkva Svetog Jerolima)
Near the church Saint Peter is the Saint Nicholas chapel built at the 14th century.

Inside, a furnace bridge baroque out of wood, with figures of saints carved at the 17th century.

The Saint Lucy vault, located a little at the variation east of the city, dates from the 15th century. It was destroyed by the Turks in 1571, and there remains only of the ruins.The chapel Saint Jerome is a medieval chapel located on other side of bay on northern bank. It is flanked of an old people’s home.
The chapel Saint Nicholas (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The chapel Saint Jerome (author Ante Perkovic). Click to enlarge the image.
The Port of Stari Grad (Luka Stari Grad)
The port of Stari Grad (author Samuli Lintula). Click to enlarge the image.The port is located all at the bottom of very deep bay of Stari Grad. On the southern part of bay was discovered, in 1944, the first colony of the “alga assassin”, Caulerpa taxifolia, an alga originating in Australia brought here by ships. For this reason, in this part of bay, damping and fishing are prohibited in order to prevent the propagation of the algae.
The Plain of Stari Grad (Starogradsko polje)
The plain of Stari Grad (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The plain of Stari Grad extends on 6 km length since bay from Stari Grad in the west to bay from Vrboska in the east; the average width of the plain is of approximately 2 km. The plain of Stari Grad is bordered on its southern part by the picturesque villages of Fraud and Vrbanj and, in north, by the peninsula of Kabal.

It is the most fertile plain of the Adriatic islands; it was cultivated since prehistoric times, but they are the former Greeks who marked it of their print: after the foundation of the colony of Pharos at the 4th century before J. - C., the Greeks divided the grounds located close to the city into geometrical pieces, so that the plain is divided into approximately 73 rectangular pieces of approximately 181 m out of 905 m (approximately 16 hectares). Certain pieces themselves are divided into smaller square pieces of 181 m out of 181 Mr.

What is remarkable it is that this system of agricultural organization in regular batches used by the Greeks, will chora it, was preserved until today. The ancient layout was preserved by a rigorous maintenance, during more than 24 centuries, of the dry stone low walls and the ways, with their stone shelters. In the same way, the system of collection of rainwater for the irrigation, using cisterns and small drains, was preserved. The same cultures, mainly the vine and the olive-tree, are still cultivated in the fields.

Ruins of Maslinovik (Chippewa author). Click to enlarge the image.The defensive system of the plain took again the old towers illyriennes and supplemented them by new forts; the vestiges of four of them were identified, of which the Maslinovik tower.

This exceptional unit was registered on July 7th, 2008 on the list of the World heritage of UNESCO, like “practically unchanged” testimony of the ancient Greek system of land splitting up, will chora it. The site is also a nature reserve.

InformationPractical information

Weather and forecasts
The Maritime transport
The ferry of Split (author F.G. COM). Click to enlarge the image.Schedules of the ferries Split-Stari Grad. Click to enlarge the image.Stari Grad is the principal seaport of the island of Hvar, most visitors arriving here by car-ferries coming from Split.

Other topicsOther topics

Filiation of the topics
More detailed topics
Close topics
The town of Hvar, island of Hvar in Croatia
The town of Stari Grad, island of Hvar in Croatia
The town of Jelsa, island of Hvar in Croatia
Broader 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
[Previous topics] [Parent topics] [Next topics] [Home page] [Croatia] [Via Gallica]
Search on the Web
Recommend this page
Recommend this site
AlbanieAllemagneAngleterreArméniePays basqueBiélorussieBulgarieCatalogneCroatieDanemarkEspagneEstonieFinlandeFranceGalicePays de GallesGéorgieGrèceHongrieIrlandeIslandeItalieEmpire romainLettonieLithuanieMacédoineMalteNorvègePays-BasPolognePortugalRoumanieRussieSerbieSlovaquieSlovénieSuèdeTchéquieUkraïne
If you reached this frame directly, click on this link to reveal the menus.