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The island of Vis

22 November 2011 No Comment

Not many islands have in their history experienced so many different rulers as did the island of Vis. In ancient times it was ruled by the Greeks, the Romans and the Byzantine, later on the Croats, the Venetians, Napoleon, the British, Austrians and after 1918 the Italians and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. From 1945 until the beginning of the 1990`s the island was a military-marine base of the former socialist Yugoslavia and foreigners were forbidden access.

The ancient Issa (Vis) was inhabited in 397 BC by the Greeks from Sirakuza on Sicily who founded a settlement at the location of today`s town of Vis. It served as a starting point for further colonization of the Adriatic. In the 12th century Vis was also visited by the pope. It was the pope Alexander III, who took shelter on the island Palagruža because of a storm and was taken in by the fishermen from Komiža in Vis, in 1177.

Around the town of Vis there are many British forts, and alongside the church of St. Juraj there is a British cemetery for the sailors who lost their lives in the battle of 1811 and WWII. Above the town is a monument dedicated to RAF pilots.

In 1866, there was a sea battle between Austria and Italy near Vis and this is the first time in history that two battle ships collided.

One of the many sites linked to battles and wars on Vis is Tito`s cave.

Towns and villages on the island of Vis


Vis is a town with a long and rich history that developed from two villages, Kuta and Luka. The town offers numerous interesting sites, among which is the archeological collection of objects discovered in the area of the ancient town of Issa, the pre historic findings on the island and the hydro archeological findings from the shipwreck in the bay north of the town. Another unique feature are the amphoras and the ethnographic collection which clearly portrays the lives of ancient inhabitants of Vis. Lovers of history will enjoy touring the archeological site Martvilo, the only ancient Greek cemetery in Croatia and the Roman baths from the 1st and 2nd centuries. The remains of an ancient theatre are visible in the gardens of the monastery on the peninsula Prirov, while in the underwaters of the peninsula there are the remains of old buildings and an ancient port.


Komiža is a synonym for fishing in Dalmatia. Its widely respected fishermen have proved their skills around the world especially in the Pacific, where they formed fishing centres from Chile to the USA, as immigrants. The fishing museum in Komiža is proof to this tradition.

The most recognizable building in the village is the square castle, built in 1585, during the Venetian rule. Located on a high ground above the village is the Benedictan monastery and church, better known as Muster. It is a rare example of a fortified church.

Interesting facts

Modra špilja (The Blue Cave)
On the east side of the island Biševo, located 5 km from Komiža, is Modra špilja, one of the most beautiful natural beauties of the Adriatic. To enable the entrance to the cave by boat, in 1884 two more entrances were formed. Adding to the magic of the cave is the second entrance, which is located below the sea surface and through which the sunlight reflects, breaks and bounces off the white bottom of the cave.

For many, the most beautiful part of the island of Vis are its hard to reach beaches and bays. The most famous one is Stiniva. Srebrna is a naturally pebbled and partly rocky beach near the village and bay of Rukavac. The town of Komiža has two beaches. Stončica, a bay near the town of Vis is also famous for its beautiful sandy beach.

The island’s Mediterranean cuisine does not leave anyone indifferent. Especially the original dishes such as for instance the fish cakes, lentil and barley with calamari, lobster cooked in many ways, grilled sardines and `hib` – a sweet desert made from dry figs with some herbal snapps and aromatic herbs. And, after a good meal there has to come good wine. Vis offers Vugava, a wine from the indigenous white sort of grape, of the same name.

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