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Korcula - the Town and the Island

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Korcula info
Korcula Location Map
Location map
Map of Korcula, Lumbarda and Zrnovo
The Island of Korcula is the largest of the green islands of the Adriatic. From time immemorial it has been forested, which was why it was given the name Black Korcula during the colonisation of the ancient Greeks. The forests have for centuries been carefully protected as the timber was necessary for the valuable shipbuilding industry. Maritime contact with other parts of the Mediterranean existed two to three centuries before the time of Christ. Artisans of the ancient world used the famed stone from the small island of Vrnik. This stone was used to build many lovely Dalmatian cities as well as some of the most famous buildings such as the Basilica of St.Sofie in Carigrad, the parliament in Vienna and the townhall in Stockholm. And of course the town of Korcula was built from this same stone. The ancient heart of the city lies on a peninsula. The reason for this position was so that from the city towers the population could more effectively monitor the navigation of galleys and sailing boats from the eastern coast of the Adriatic.
The fortifications and narrow streets prove irresistible to todays visitor just as it impressed medieval writers and travel writers. One of the most famous travel writers, Marco Polo, began his lifes journey in this town. The house in which he was born has been restored and preserved, and it was also in this town that he lost his freedom. In the battle near Korcula he ws captured and taken to Genoa and then sentenced to prison. It was in prison that he wrote his book Milion about his travels to China which caused a sensation in western civilised society as they were brought into shock contact with the Far East. The villagers on the island are renowned olive growers, fishermen, and wine producers. In some localities such produce is known to have been served during the time of the ancient Greeks. Vineyards of Blato, Lumbarda, Carsko poje and Smokvisko poje have been familiar to the wine drinking world for many, many years, and the names of some wines, for example Posip, Grk and Rukatac with their excellent quality, have been synonymous with the identity of this island.
 
Korcula island tour > - wine tasting - full day tour
 
Drive across the island of Korcula through a string of ancient settlements, green vineyards, and olive groves and past virgin beaches. A visit will be made to the town of Blato, the islands largest settlement, and Vela Luka, founded even in prehistoric times. Visit to the gallery "Sege". Our return drive takes us via the small fishing villages of Grscica, Prizba and Brna. Wine tasting en route to the city of Korcula.

Guide, wine tasting and entrance fee included

Excursions from Island of Korcula 
 
 
Korcula island

The historical centre of the island is built on a small peninsula which narrows the passage between the island and the mainland to a bare 1270 meters. The obvious possibility of controlling the navigation of galleys and sailing ships along the eastern coast of the Adriatic at this location was the reason for the foundation of a small town-fortress, to render this important service to various masters. It developed rapidly in its present form from the 13th century. this century saw the proclamation of the Statute, the coming of the dukes of the Venetian family Zorzi, and the area of Marco Polo. From that time on the town walls and towers are ever higher and stronger, and houses and churches ever loftier and more gracious. The town is at the peak of its might in the 16th century when it could receive 6000 inhabitants. Building is fairly concentrated; the whole city enclosed by walls does not surpass by in its surface one modern football stadium; some experts compare medieval Korcula and its narrow streets with Manhattan. The town impressed many medieval writers and travel writers, through its fortifications, many invaders.

Reasons of defence dictated the enclosing of its citizens in secure city walls, with the area outside the wals forbidden for any building. wo monasteries were outside the town. These are the Dominican monastery of St. Nicolas, 500 metres west of the town, and the Franciscan monastery situated on the island of Badija. Both were often the target of attack from brigands and other enemies. The first workshop outside the town where only built in the 17th century, and the first dwelling houses outside the city walls where built in the 18th century. Other parts of the town, Sveti Nikola (west of the town), and Borak (south and east of the town) were built in the 19th century. Between 1921 and 1941, the buildings of hotels and villas in the Luka bay - east of the town - began; as also in the bay of Strecica, west of the town. Intensive building continues in the locations around the bay of Luka: Zagradac, Ekonomija, Sveti Antun, Domince and Soline.

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The walled town is entered today most often either across Punat (the Bridge) and Fosa (the Ditch) through the Tower of the Land Gate dating from 1391. The present bridge was completed in 1863, replacing the old wooden draw bridge. At the same time, the present gate inside the tower was opened, thus marking incorrectly the end of all wars 130 years ago! The main street in the old extends from this south tower (Berim) in the northern city walls remind one irresistibly of fish bones. Such a perfect town plan compliments the ground on which it stands, affords an ideal way of life and in particular provides a useful defence of the town from invaders. Above the entrance of the Land Gate, there are two symbols marking Korcula history: a bas-relief with the winged lion of St. Marco, as a symbol of the regin of the Venetian Republic, and the stone tablet commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of the first Croatian king Tomislav. Through the Land Gate, one enteres the Brothers Radic Square, where the important public buildings of medieval Korcula are situated: the Town Hall from 1525 - always in constant use - the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snow from 1531, with a stone tablet commemorating the defence from the Turkish fleet in 1571, the house of the town surgeon from 1530, the church of St. Michael from 1412/1651, the house of the brotherhood of St. Michael with its valuable works of art, and with documents from the rich history of this brotherhood, and the slim stone column in honour of the duke Michieli dating from 1569. The triumphal arch in honour of the victorious proveditor of Dalmatia, Leonardo Foscolo, is against the interior wall of the Tower of the Land Gate in 1650. Foscolos statue was later removed when Venice forbad the erection of monuments to paid civil servants of the Republic. In the atrium of the Town Hall, there is a relief by the Korcula sculptor Pallavicini which symbolizes the fighting with the Venetian lion. Stone plaques are in the passage towards the Princes Court in honour of important events during the time of the Croatian National Revival in Dalmatia in the 19th century. East street, off the square, is the only Korcula street without steps, so that it is often called the Street of Thinkers; there we can find the Cetineo house and small church of St. Catherine from 1422. The only Korcula private street extends towards the west opposite the church. The town prince used to enter his court through this or he descended to the sea and his private pier, where the town gallery was always at his disposal.

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Through the main town street - the Street of the Korcula Statute from 1214 - we arrive at the Cathedral Square. The biggest and the most beautiful building of Korcula - the Cathedral of St. Marco - is at the top of the town. South of it, there is the Bishops Palace (1342; 1653/1860) where the Abbatial Treasury of St. Marco is held today with its rich collection of the Croatian and Italian Renaissance art works, the collection of manuscripts and books, and a collection of the ceremonial clothes. North of the Cathedral, there is the small church of St. Peter - probably the oldest surviving church in the town from the 11th century in witch the Renaisance portal of the master Bonino da Milano, and the wooden statues of the apostles are situated - the work of Venetian sculptors from the 18th century.

On the western side of the square, there is Crkva Gospojina (Church of Our Lady) from 1483, the Renaissance work of local builders, where the tombs of historical Korcula families are situated as well as the tomb of the defender from Turkish assault, the priest Rozanovic. There are also beautifully decorated gravestones, and a big mosaic by the Dutch artist Louis Schrikkel on the altar, from 1964 - 67. There is a carved stone column standard bearing in the square nex to Crkva Gospojina dating from 1515. From the Crkva Gospojina towards the north, there are the Arneri and Gabriellis palaces. The Town Museum is situated in the Gabriellis palace, one of the most beautiful Korcula palaces, built in the Renaissance style from the 16th century. From the Gabriellis palace towards the sea, there is Ismaelis palace from the 16th century with its beautiful courtyard. The neighbouring Arneri palace, which was renovationed from 1988 - 1996, will be home to the gallery of one of the greatest Croatian sculptors, Frano Krsinic, born in Lumbarda (1897 - 1982). Besides the artistically valuable courtyard of the Arneri palace, the windows and the wall of the same palace in the south street are decorated with glorious details of building and sculpture. The Arneri family is one of the oldest in Korcula. It has been producing famous Korculans for centuries, and the Arneris were especially involved in the political struggles of the 19th century as leaders of the Croatian parties in Dalmatia.

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We descend from the Cathedral Square to the north tower, Zakrjan. In the first street on the right, there is the family house of the traveller Marco Polo. ogether with several inscriptions and exhibits which remind us of the great traveller and explorer of all times, Marco Polo, was born here in Korcula in 1254. e died in Venice in 1324. Marco Polo was captured in the great naval battle between Genova and Venice near Korcula in 1298, and he wrote his book about his journey to China in a Genoese prison. The family house of the polos in Venice vanished and was replaced by a theatre, whereas Korcula has preserved his family house in memory of the great Marco. The Depolo family is still today one of the most significant Korcula families. Further along the street towards Zakrjan, on the left side, there is the house of the brotherhood of St. Rocco, founded in 1575. Numerous valuable art objects, statues and paintings can be found in the house.
Left from the Zakrjan tower, in the street above Hotel Korcula, there is the family house of the poet Kanavelic (at present a restaurant) with the small church of the Annunciation. Further on , there is the house of another patrician family Spanic with an attractive courtyard, and the church of St. Barbara dating from 1407, which has been an Orthoodox church since 1928.
Continuing further towards the south by the road above the city wall and the public water cistern Trepoca, we arrive at the Square of Arms, where arms were distributed to the citizens in case of enemy attack. Previously one arrived at the theatre from this square, but the building was destroyed in one of the bombardments during the Second orld War.

The street at the south side of the square - "Ulica od fonda" (Street of Granary) - leads past the former town granary towards the square in front of the Town Hall, and further on towards the eastern city wall and the church of All Saints - the original Korcula cathedral - and the house of the oldest brotherhood.

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A walk around the town begins with Punat - the bridge - over which one enters the town. West from the Land Gate, there is a well preserved part of the south town wall, together with the present-day summer stage. Prison Tower dating from 1445 was built into the wall of the Mediteranska plovidba headquarters (Shiping Line). Two more towers stand further on from the shipping Offices: the taller and slimmer of them is the Princes Small Palace from 1130/1449, and the lower and wider one is the Princes Large Palace from 1438. There are two stone tablets with dates in memory of the Second World War on it. From these towers northwards the reconstructed town wall extends housing deep arcades behind which various port offices (port captain, customs, administration of the port, etc.) are situated. Further on, there is a part of the wall containing the oldest town cistern of drinking water Trepoca (Tre pozi) from 1437. The tower of the sea gate from 1265/1448 lost its functionwhen the town "surrendered" to tourism owning to the decision of the Town Council in 1907, when part of the old wall was remowed and a new splendid neoclassical staircase was built. On the tower there is a coat of arms and an inspiration in honour of the trojan hero Antenor who, according to the ancient legend, founded orcula. There are today two obelisks (from 1589 and 1680) in honour to the town princes Alviseo Polani and Pellegrin Pasqualigo. Looking north from the entrance staircase, there is Lodja, the town loggia from 1548. It was for centuries the only building outside the town walls, and it had various assignments - from police and customs control office to travellers waiting room.

The adjoining hotel Korcula was built as a cafe in 1871, at the same time as the city walls and towers were pulled down. The reason was as follows. The war Ministry of ienna informed the town authorities in 1863 that it was returning the upkeep of the towers and city walls to the town as they were no longer deemednecessary, and that it would not pay the expenses of maintenance any more. The Town Council responded by pulling down the greater part of the city walls except of the south part, and by pulling down three of the towers. In 1912, the then "Hotel de la ville" became the first modern Korculas hotel when the floor rooms were built. Todays police station is adjoining on the hotel Korcula. Already in the 18th century it had been the first export office and customs store. A special attraction of the hotel Korcula is its terrace from which one can enjoy the sunset, especially in early summer when the sun swts in the middle of the channel in the distance.

The northwest area of the town is protected by the Bokar Tower (Barbarigo) built in 1485, and the Zakrjan Tower (Kerjan), 1481, is facing north. Between the Zakrjan Tower and Rampada or Rampart (the modern name for the remnants of the All Saints Tower of 1493), there were another two towers pulled down in the 19th century: the Tower called Parilo and the Tower of the New Gate. The walls and the foundations of an older tower - The Small Tower of All Saints, pulled down in 1879 - are visible today on the same Rampada.

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From Rampada towards the Land Gate, there is the Arsenal of 1572, built at the time when the importance of Korcula for the Venetian Republic was growing. Venice had the winter anchoring of its war fleet in Korcula in the 18th century. The area between the Arsenal and the Tower of the Land Gate was protected by the Revelin Tower from 1485. Nowadays it forms part of a private house. Leaving the medieval town we descend across Punat (Bridge) towards "Plokata of 19th April 1921". Here, we can find, on this modern main square, a fountain commemorating the date of June 13th 1986 when water from the aqueduct coming from the river Neretva began to flow, thus liberating the Korculans from the centuries-long nightmare of the lack of drinking water. A few steps from the memorial fountain, we find ourselves in front of the church St. Justina. There was formerly a church there to the memory of St. Sergius and St. Bakh, but this was destroyed or damaged several times during attacks on the town. The present church of St. Justina was built between 1860 and 1897. The paintings from another previous church, St. Blaise (Blasius), are housed there. The statue of the Resurrection of Crist on the dome of the church is the work of the sculptor Radic.

Towards the west, where the old "skver" (small shipyard) Sessa used to be, there is today a monument to the Korculans fallen in the Second World War. The whole complex is the work of Bernardo Bernardi, a Croatian architect from Korcula who also planned hotel Marko Polo, and hotel Liburna. Four reliefs depicting the traditional crafts and professions of the Korcula people are the work of another respected Korcula artist, the sculptor Vinko Fabris.
Walking along by the sea we come to the Cap of St. Nicolas and the beautiful private villa of the Croatien painter Maksimilijan Vanka (1889-1963) within its walled garden at the ancient site of the windmill (Cap of the Scaffoldings). Here also is the Dominican monastery of St. Nicolas together with its church which was built in 1505, and enlarged with an eastern aisle in 1665. The altar of the western aisle is adorned with a valuable copy of Titians painting "The Tourturing of Saint Peter". The original was damaged at some time but the copy remained, painted in the masters school. The monastery also possesses, besides this painting and a painting by the artist Poncun of "The Miracle of St. Dominic in Surian", numerous other works of art, and a rich library. The building of the monastery is partly fortified; it experienced several enemy attacks during its long history. There is a very picturesque "mandrac" - a small harbour for the monastery boats - on the shore below the monastery.

We arrive, along the street of Bernardo Bernardi, above the town to the top of the hill where the "Forteca" - the English tower, Fort Wellington - is situated. It was built in 1813 on the site of the Venetian fortification of open type built in 1616, and the French fortification of the redoubt type there from 1803-1813. The remnants of these defence walls can still be seen, and the church of St. Blaise (Blasius) was pulled down during the building of the English tower. From this hill and this very tower, which today serves as a telecommunication station, a wonderful view extends as far as the Korcula archipelago and the island of Mljet to the east, to the interior of the island to the south, to the Peljesac Channel and the island of Hvar to the west, and to the old town and the mountain St. Elias to the north.

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Walking east away from the town towards the hotels, one passes by the semi-circular "piazzeta", a solarium which was erected by order of the British commander of the town, Col. Peter Lowen. The inscription on the columns of the "piazzeta" mentions his name. The way leads further on towards the town park "Hober" where there is the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes from 1908, and the monument to the soldiers from the Korcula commune fallen in the First World War. The "Hober" park is listed in the state register of protected wooded parks. Between the "Hober" park and the sea there are several beautiful villas erected between 1930 and 1940, built by famous Croatian architects. Some of them have lost much of their artistic impact due to recent alternations. At the top of the hill there is a big public cistern for collecting drinkable rain water, built in 1950. Called "Naplov", It has a huge flat surface as a catchment area. This cistern is no longer in use at the present time.

The way leads us further towards "Glavica Svetog Antuna" (St. Antons Head). This part of the town is named by it: "Sveti Antun". On the top of "Glavica", up to which 102 steps lead betwwen an avenue of cypresses, there is the church of St. Anthony and a hermits dwelling in existence from 1420. Bishop Spanic had the avenue and staircase emplaced at the end of the 17th century, and he was buried in the church in 1707.

The Cemetery of St. Luke was built at the end of the last century when they ceased to bury the dead at the cemeteries on "Plokata" and in front of the St. Justina church. It is a valuable witness to the history of Korcula families.

Other sites related to Korcula: www.mediterano.hr, www.telenta.net

 
 
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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
 
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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Skoji (islands) is the general name for 19 islets which lie near the eastern end of the island of Korcula. Visitors go easily and often on excursions to Skoji; some of them are inhabited and on some they can find cultural remains. All of them offer superb possibilities for bathing. Small boats (barke) depart from the pier near the small "Planjak" restaurant and bar (also the name of one of the islets), and from the hotel piers.

Badija (1sq km, 74 m high) is the nearest island, where the sports - recreation centre is situated in the buildings of the old Franciscan monastery was begun in 1392 on the site of an earlier one, and it was enlarged in this century. Next to the beautiful church and the chapel of Saint Cross with its Baroque altar by Giorgio Masario (18th century) are the Gothic cloisters with arcades from 1475. There is a small dwelling house next to the monastery, and a shelter for monastery boats in its cellar. The monastery was closed in 1950, and the rich library and vauable works of art were transferred to the churches and monasteries of Korcula, Orebic and Dubrovnik. The traditional procession of the Assisi pardon "Perdun" which was a special characteristic of Badija, was reinstated in 1991.

Vrnik (50m high) with the village of the same name, is the site of the oldest and most famous Korcula quarry. Only a few families today live in this picturesque village, and they let rooms and apartments to tourists. One can visit the 29 local quarries. Only private boats and Barkas sail to the island, and the nearest parkink place for cars is just 100 metres away on the island of Korcula (at the crossroads Krmaca). Next to the local school on the coast there is the new church of Our Lady of Succour from 1856. In front of one of the quarries on the northern coast, there is the old church of Our Lady of Succour from 1674.

West of Vrnik is the also well known island - quarry Kamenjak (Stone Island). There are old quarries on the islet of Sutvara, as well as vineyards, and a wonderful beach on the western coast. Planjak is a favourite excursion point for Korcula families, and a nudist bathing beach is arranged on the islet of Stupe. The islet of Majsan was already inhabited in prehistoric times, and up until the Middle Ages. An early Christian church there from the 5th century is an important pointer to the rich history of Korcula. The finds of these early objects are still visible on the western coast of the islet, and the remnants of a brake-water can be see under the sea. The Venetian doge Petar II Orseolo lead his conquest of the south Dalmatian archipelago and the town of Dubrovnik from Majsan in 1000 year. Remains proving that there was life here from ancient Greek times to the early Middle Ages can also be seen on the other islets of this group.

The impressive lighthouse on the islet of sestrica Vela was built in the past century (1871). Its buildings are now deserted owing to the complete modern automation of the navigation light.

 
Riviera cruise - half day tour
 
Riviera Cruise
Leaving the town of Korcula behind, we sail towards the Korcula archipelago consisting of some twenty islands and islets. Badija with its 15th century monastery; Vrnik, famous for its two quarries and Majsan with prehistoric remains, are among the best known islands in the archipelago. Most of the islands are uninhabited, boasting lush vegetation and a crystal clear sea. Sail takes you to the town of Lumbarda in a picturesque cove, where summer residences of former patrician families can be seen. Time at leisure here for strolling and swimming.

Guide and home made drink included

Excursions from Island of Korcula 
 
 
ACI Marina Korcula - It lies on the island of Korcula in a small cove south of Korcula. It is protected by a breakwater on the northern side.
Open: All year round.
Berths: The marina has 135 berths and 15 boat places on land. The berths have water and power supply.
Facilities: Reception, exchange office, restaurant, toilets and showers, laundry service, grocery shop, repair shop, 10 t crane, parking lot. The gas station is approximately 0.5 miles east of the harbour, by the ferry pier. There is also a permanent maritime border crossing. The marina has also 11 high standard apartments.
Traffic connections:
The town of Korcula is linked to the Peljesac Peninsula (Orebic) by a ferry line, from where you can reach the nearest airport - Dubrovnik (130 km) by road. The island of Korcula also has ferry lines to Drvenik and Split from Vela Luka (40km). There are also ferry lines to Rijeka and Dubrovnik (Rijeka - Zadar - Stari Grad - Korcula - Dubrovnik).
 
 
ACI MARINA KORCULA
20260 Korcula
CROATIA
42 57.6 N 17 08.4 E
Tel: 00385 20 711 661
Fax: 00385 20 711 748
VHF Channel: 17
e.mail: m.korcula@aci-club.hr
 
Nautical Guide
On this page you will find useful information about sailing regulations on the Adriatic Sea.
 
 

This short list is an uncompleted survey of restaurants, cafes and tavernas which offer Korcula specialities and drinks:
ACI Marina
Hotel Korcula
Adio Mare
Gradski Podrum
Lanterna

 
Hotel Liburna
Hotel Marko Polo
Hotel Park
Hotel Bon Repos
Hotel Korcula
SC Badija
 
 
Visitors can buy the various normal souvenirs that will remind them of the beautiful days they spent on the island of Korcula and also many examples made of Korcula stone, wood, leather, as well as dolls dressed in folklore costumes, and filigree silver. Numerous artists offer in their workshops or on the squares their paintings and other works. Most shops are closed between 12:00 and 13:00 hours as Korculans are used to having an afternoon siesta (pizolet), and are closed on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and on feast days. Exceptions are the food and drink shops which stay open all day, and on Sundays mainly from 07:00 until 10:00.
 
 
Phone: 020/711 017
OFFER:
Fuels:
- Super 98
- Eurosuper 95
- Eurodiesel
- Diesel
Prices of fuels sold at INA petrol stations
Services:
- Sea vessels fuel supply
- Public phone
Payment possibility:
-
INA Card, AX, DC, EC/MC, VISA
Gas:
-Gas cylinders
Working hours of petrol stations determined according to:
- SUMMER WORKING HOURS: June 1 to Sept 30
- WINTER WORKING HOURS: Oct 1 to May 31
MON-FRI SATURDAY SUNDAY HOLIDAY
SUMMER 06 - 22 06 - 22 06 - 22 06 - 22

WINTER

07 - 19

07 - 19

09 - 12

CLOSED

 
 
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