Korcula Churches Museums Collections

 
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Korcula-001

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Korcula - Churches, Museums, Collections < back
 
Korcula-002

The Cathedral of St. Marco is a Gothic-Renaissance building which was built from the end of the 15th century, mostly by Korcula masters and from the Korcula stone of the islands of Vrnik and Kamenjak. Theree apses witness to the existence of an older church. Its first builder was the Korculan Hranic Dragosevic, then follow Ratko Ivancic, Dubrovnik builders, then Jacopo Correr from Tirani in Apulia, but the cathedral was finally completed by a genial artist, the best known of Korculas medieval builders, Marko Andrijic (died in 1507). The builder Marko Milic Pavlovic added the chapel of St. Rocco next to the northern aisle in 1525. The cathedral thus received its present form. The portal with the figures of lions and of St. Marco was built by the master Bonino da Milano in 1412. He was the creator of the door on the south aisle with the figure of St. Jacob. Marko Andrijic created the glorious rosette, the wreath and the top of the bell-tower. An unknown local master built the door of the chapel of St. Rocco. The main altar was adorned with the altar painting by the great Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto in 1550 (Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto, 1518-1594), which depicts the three patron saints of Korcula and Dalmatia: saint Marko the Evangelist - the patron saint of Korcula, and at each side, saint Jerolisimus - the patron saint of Dalmatia and saint Bartholomew - the patron saint of ship-builders. Below the altar table, there is a sarcophagus with the relics of the towns other patron sain, saint Theodore. The masterpiece of Marko Andrijic, a fine stone ciborium with the statues of the Annunciation from 1486, is raised above the altar. The choir stalls are the work of Vicko Tironi from 1795. The ceiling of the central aisle (reconstructed in 1961) reminds us of the interior of a boat, a link with the traditional Korcula profession - shipbuilding. Next to the entrance door to the south aisle, there is a collection of arms commemorating the defence of the town from attacks by the enemy ships in 1493 and 1571. Beside the arms, there is a contemporary reliefs Christ Under the Cross created by Lujo Lozica (born at Lumbarda in 1934). Further to the east there is the altar of St. Anthony with the coat of arms of the Spanic family, and a large painting of the Annunciation by Jacopo Tintoretto (around 1550). Lady from the Island is a Byzantine icon from the 13th century, and was transferred to Korcula from the Franciscan monastery on the island of Badija. It is an object of religious veneration and to its attributed the miraculous and crucial help needed in the defence from the Turkish fleet in 1571. The silver cover of this icon is a local work from the 15th century. Between this icon and the altar of Holy Trinity, there is the beautiful sarcophagus of the bishop Malumbra from 1530. The painting on the altar of Holy Trinitry is the work of Leandro Bassano (1557-1622), a member of the great Venetian artist family of Bassano da Ponte. One of the figures depicted is the Korcula bishop Diedo on his knees. The bell-tower is in the northern aisle, and the new baptistry was installed underneath it in 1969. The sculpture The Risen Christ from 1968, the work of the great artist Frano krsinic, stands on the Gothic baptistry fountain. Besides other artistic works on the walls, there are a Pieta by Ivan Mestrovic from 1915, and The Mother of God by Ivan Kerdic from 1926. The altar of St. John with the coat of arms of the Giunio family from the 15th century is in the apse of the northern aisle. The entrance to the sacristy, with the relief of St. Michael, is the remarkable work of an unknown master (14/15 century). The statue of St. Blaise (Blasius), the patron saint of Dubrovnik, is on the neighbouring ceiling. This is the work of the great Ivan Mestrovic. There are three altars in the Chapel of St. Rocco. The eastern one, the altar of St. Rocco, is the biggest in the cathedral. It was built in 1764, and it depicts the saints Rocco, Cosmas and Damian, the work of Franjo Cucic, the self-taught sculptor from Blato from 1576. On the northern wall of this chapel, there is the altar of the Lady of Carmel with paintings by the Venetian painter Carlo Ridolfi from 1642. On the south wall of the chapel there is the altar of Mala Gospa - Minor Lady. The cathedral organ is from 1952, and the six cathedral bells are characterized by their exceptionally beautiful tones.

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Next to the Cathedral of St. Marco, there is the former bishops court where the Abbatial Treasury is held, put together by the abbot Ivo Matijaca and the Croatian painter Ljubo Babic in 1954. The earlier bishops court from the 14th and 15th centuries was feconstructed between 1860 and 1874. At the staircase entrance there are severa works of art and precious objects, and a collection of small icons. The medal of Mother Theresa (the winner of the Nobel peace prize in 1979), and St. Marco by Radica also decorate this wall. The first hall houses, in the central glass cabinet, sketches and drawings from the best known workshops and ateliers in europe (Raffaello, Leonardo da Vinci, Tiepolo, Palma, The Florentine school, Johann Grund etc). The paintings of the Dalmatian Renaissance artists, such as Ivan Ugrinovic from Dubrovnik, Pelegrino dal San Danielle from Venice and others, are on the walls. The most significant work there is the polyptich Our Lady with Child and Saints from 1431 by the Dalmatian painter Blaz Jurjev Trogiranin. Blaz Jurjev Trogiranin (?-1450) is the most significant name in Dalmatian Gothic art, and he resided in Korcula from 1431 until 1435 creating pictures for the Korcula churches and teaching drawing and painting. In the wall cabinets, there are numerous documents and books which speak about the distant past of Korcula and Croatia. The Korcula code from the 12th century is amoung them. The small chapel in the south wall of this hall was the bishops private chapel (1770). The fragment of a wooden sculpture is the work of Franjo Cucic, the local sculptor from Blato (1576). The second hal of the Treasury is devoted to the painters of the Italian Renaissance and their schools: Our Lady with the Saints by Titian or from his workshop (16th century), Annunciation by Paolo Veronese or from his workshop (16th century), Our Lady with the Child by Giovanni Bellini or from his school (15th century), Young Man by Carpaccio or from his workshop (15th century), The portrait of a Knight by Jacopo Bassano da Ponte (16th century), Christ on the Mount Olive by the Venetian school around 1600 and others. The fragment of Madonna by Luca della Robbia or by his pupils (15th century) is also exhibited. Alabaster reliefs are the work from the workshop in England (Nottingham) from the 15th century, from where the small statue of Mary Stuart arrived. The marvellous Gothic two-part window "bifora" is turned towards the interior of this hall in order that the visitor may enjoy the style and the technique, which pleasure would be impossible in the steep and narrow streets of Korcula. Coins minted for Korkyra Melaina from the 4th century B.C. are in the numismatic collection cabinet and attact special attention. The third hall is devoted to the bishop from the 18th century, coats of arms of bishops and abbots - from the first bishop Ivan Kruzic to the last abbot Ivo Matijaca - then the portrait of the bishop Nikola Spanic by Tripo Kokolja from 1700, as well as the portraits of other bishops, depict the rich history of the Korcula Church. Numerous paintings by local and foreign artists are also exhibited. The cabinet in the midle of the hall holds the collection of medals and seals, and a valuable collection of the small votive plaques. The small room with the paintings of Croatian artists from the 20th century is at the same time the passage way into the hall of ceremonial garments. Many famous Croatian artists gave donation to this Treasury. Amoung them are Celestin Medovic, Miroslav Kraljevic, Edo Murtic, Ivo Dulcic, Djuro Pulitika, Izvor Oreb, Aljosa Minjakov and Ljubo Babic; himself the author of the arranging of the Treasury. The painter Bulic made the portrait of the abbot Ivo Matijaca (1916-1994), the last Korcula Mitred bishop and one of the meritorious explorers and keepers of the cultural history of the town and the island of Korcula. The last hall exhibits the official church vestments from the 14th until the 20th century. Especially valuable are the old Dalmatian and Gothic-Renaissance chasubles from the 15th century. There is an interesting view through the window of this room to the apses of the cathedral. The so-called "kitchen" - the collection of Hellenic and medieval ceramics from under-water finds in the sea arround Korcula - can be found in the closed private premises of the bishops palace.

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The town Museum in the Gabrielis palace (16th century) presents to the visitors the life of old Korcula. The Psephism from Lumbarda - the inscription in stone, found in nearby Lumbarda describing the foundation of the Greek town in the 4th century B.C. - is exhibited on the ground-flor. This fragmented inscription describes in old Greek the agreement concluded between the Greek settlers from the island of Issa (Vis) with the local Illyrian heads. It obliges all the settlers to absolute loyalty and ends with the list of 200 immigrant families. There is, next to the psephism, a rich collection of coats of arms and inscriptions from the 4th to the 18th centuries. The south room depicts a reconstructed stone-masons workshop. From ancient times to the middle of the 20th century, Korculans were skillfully working and selling their stone all over the Adriatic area. The high quality limestone from Korcula is incorporated in some of the best known buildings in the world such as the Haggia Sophia in Istanbul, the parliament in Vienna, the Town Hall in Stockholm etc. The most beautiful of the public and private buildings in Dalmatian towns such as Dubrovnik, Hvar, Kotor etc. are also built from it. This millenium-long tradition has brought to the stage of contemporary Croatian culture the greatest sculptor Frano Krsinic and many other Korcula and Lumbarda sculptors: Radica, Pallavicini, Trpimir Ivancevic, the brothers Ivo and Lujo Lozica, Stecca, Radovanovic, Jurjrvic-Knez, Duhovic and so on. Under the staircase are the medieval kitchen appliances. On the first floor, there are finds from the archeological investigations on the island - from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, and numerous finds from sea-bed exploration of the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Another room deals with the development of shipbuilding, which has always been, like stone cutting, an economic tradition since Hellenic times. Photos of old "Skveri" (shipyards) are on show, and models of some of the ships built after the Second World War in Korcula. These photos of old "Skveri" - the model of the best known family "Skver" is that of Vicko Sessa (1962) - as well as all tools and appliances speak clearly of the hard work of carpenters and shipbuilders. The biggest Korcula sailing ship "Fratelli Fabris" of around the end of the 19th century is depicted in one of the photos. On the second floor, we learn about the political and cultural life of old Korcula. Documents from the 19th century are important for Korculas national history: the period under Austrian rule, the time of national revival in Dalmatia, and others. Several portraits of highly respected citizens are the work of the Korcula painter Josip Zmajic. Numerous other exhibits witness to the high level of culture and every day life. A very beautiful Renaissance knocker from the doors of the Arneri palace, the work of the Venetian sculptor Tiziano Aspetti (1565-1607) is exhibited in this room, as well as the facsimile of one page of the Korcula Statute from 1214. There is a replica of an old kitchen in the attic. Here, the visitor can get an impression about the functional arrangement of medieval dwelling houses; the ground-floor was reserved for business affairs, the living quarters were on the first and second floors, and the attic, as the only airy space, served for the kichen.

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The Church and Brotherhood of All Saints are among the oldest town traditions. The Church was built at the begining of the 15th century in place of an older church (10th century /13th century), which was the first cathedral of the bishop (1300); the oldest Korcula brotherhood - All Saints of the Brotherhood of Good Death - was founded there in 1301. The bell-tower on distaff in the form of a stone plaque was later erected. Above the main altar, there is a stone ciborium built on the same pattern as the ciborium in the cathedral. The Pieta from walnut wood is the work of the Austrian Baroque master George Raphael Donner (1693-1741). A huge Byzantine crucifix from the 15th century is situated on the great Gothic painter Blaz Jurjev Trogiranin with the depiction of Mourning (1438-1439) is on the right of the altar. One can see the brothers of All Saints on it, with their still traditional garments. The ceiling was painted by Tripo Kokolja (b. Perast 1661 - d. Korcula 1713) who is buried in this church entrance to the house of the brotherhood of All Saints. The reliefs above the entrance door depict the brothers of this brotherhood from 1301. The photos are a reminder of the annual gatherings and processions of the brothers. The silver cross, the 15th century, is the masterpiece and only work extant of the Dubrovnik goldsmith Ivan Progonovic. It is at the entrance to the hall on the left. To the right are exhibits from the rich history of this society: registers of births, marriages and deaths in this brotherhood, an appliance for secret voting, song-books, processional candles "torci", and the garments of the brothers, "tonige". The collection of icons from the Greek island of Crete is exhibited on both walls. The Korcula war gallery took part in the war between Venice and the Turks for the island of Crete (Candia wars). The war ended with the defeat of Venice and general evacuation of the Venetian garrison, administration and priests from the island. So, these valuable icons arrived in Korcula with the Korcula galley on its return. They were executed partly under the influence of the Venetian painting schools between the 14th and the 17th centuries. The Last Supper covers the whole of the eastern wall. This is the work of an unknown Dalmatian painter from the 17th century.

The Church of St. Michael (1408/1615), opposite the Town Hall, is characterised by its pleasant facade and beautiful bell-tower on distaff. The painting of Our Lady of Consolation, on the big Baroque altar, is the work of the Venetian painter Domenico Maggioto (18th century). The renaissance pulpit is also of interest. The church is connected with the house of the brother of St. Michael, which was founded in 1603. The hall of the brotherhood is full of exhibits witnessing to a rich history and high aesthetic criteria of Korculans in the previous centuries. A special visual bonus are the "torci" - wax candles which are carried in the processions around the town, some of them up to 73 kilos of weight. They are given names like Zero, Primo, etc depending of the weight.

 
Korcula sightseeing - museum tour - half day tour
 
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Korcula is considered to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, and history and tradition are apparent when you walk along the paved streets and squares of this lovely town. The city tour includes a visit to cultural and historical monuments, such as the Treasury of the Abbey, the City Museum, the Museum of Icons, as well as other places of interest. During this tour there will be a short break in the city wine celler for freshment.

Guide, entrrance fees and freshment included

Excursions from Island of Korcula 
 
 
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Korcula - The Town and the Island
 
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