In Komiža, you drink the most pleasant coffee in the world in the early morning, with yesterdays newspaper and the scent of warm bread.

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The city of Komiža

Komiža (Kom Issa – behind the Issa)

Mediterranean architecture, narrow stone streets, tall houses squeezed one beside the other and laundry getting dry on strings – this is all a picture of a fishermen town frozen in our memories, still living here on the ‘island of notable history, rich with time’.

Here the carob trees are older than our time, more than two thousand years old, bearing witness to time before Jesus! Here and now, the fig tree still grows outside of the walls of abandoned stone houses, capers are still being brought down in falls and the air contains a mix of orange flower, wine, roasted fish and sea scents. Here the sound of the sea, the song of the cricket, the scream of the gull and silence are in harmony. Here children can run about the streets freely.

In Komiža, you drink the most pleasant coffee in the world in the early mornings, with yesterdays newspaper and the scent of warm bread.

Halt, passenger. Feel the pulse of the island, the rhythm of the sea and allow the island to give you sanctuary and peace. One of my friends yelled “Island, I love you!” and sent his regards to the island, woven into new generations just like the song ‘Na srid kulfa si’ became the island anthem which we inherited from generations before us.

Here, returning guests become ‘locals’, they become a part of the ‘faciendi’ stories, a part of the joy being spread around and the winter peace combining two summers.

History

Komiža is by its origin a habitat created after Issa. It is presumed that its basin has been inhabited by Greeks, but so far there has been no material evidence presented to support this claim. It is mentioned in written documents for the first time in 1145 as Val Comeza in the charter of the Zadar count Peter, who reigned over the Middle-Dalmatian islands.

It is considered that the Benedictine abbey in town probably dates its origins back before the first written evidence of the island.

Under Venetian rule, Komiža and its adjoining island Vis belonged to the Hvar county. In that time, it has been rapidly developed as a center of fishing in this part of the Adriatic sea. The Venetians noted in the 16th century that in only one day, the fishermen from Komiža caught three million tons of pilchard. The fishing served as an economical branch enabling the development of churches, forts and great houses in Komiža.

Under the Austrian rule (1815 – 1918), Komiža received its own autonomous county and, therefore, it grows into a town with all its necessary contents. In the beginning of the 20th century, it is the greatest settlement on the island of Vis, counting just under four thousand inhabitants. A great pier and harbor have been built then and the town itself fueled seven fish processing factories, the greatest of which has been the ‘Fratelli Mardešić’. With the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918, a hundred years of stagnation began in Komiža, still happening today.

At the time of the Kingdom of SHS, the basis of economy in Komiža – its rich fishing area around Palagruža – fell into the hands of Italy and remained in its composition up until 1947.

After World War 2, emigration continued with young people leaving overseas and the people growing older and fewer in numbers. Komiža now has about a thousand of constant inhabitants dealing in traditional fishing and agriculture.

In Komiža, as well as the entire island, there is no industry. That is a reason for depopulation, but also the preserved environment and the possibility to keep up the ecological balance and diversity.

Notabilities 

* The Church of our Lady Pirate is actually dedicated to Saint Mary. The folk name of Lady Pirate was given by the legend of a pirate theft of a picture of the Lady which the sea returned – it came back adrift on the beach in front of the church

* The Venetian castle on the waterfront (Komuna)

* The parish Church of Saint Nicholas (Muster) with the remains of the Benedictine convent

* The memorial home in Komiža built on the basis of the project of Stjepan Planić

* The culture house – Ivan Vitić

* The Zonkot palace (Zonkotova palača) on Škor square, an interesting combination of local and baroque architecture

* Tito’s cave above Podšpilja

* The Blue cave on the island of Biševo

Selected photographs


This page is translated to: Croatian

© 2013 — 2017 The Martinis Apartments – Komiža, Island of Vis. Web design and photography: Stjepan Tafra.