Is This the Finest Bench and Sunset View in the World? (VIDEO)

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July 13, 2019 – The Bench is one of the iconic symbols of Dalmatia, but is there a more beautiful bench and sunset view in the world than this one on Hvar?

Regular readers of TCN and – before that – may be familiar with my unhealthy obsession with one of the bastions of Dalmatian culture – The Bench. 

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A male kingdom, where females do not roam, each community has its own bench, where the male village elders assemble at different times of the day – early evening is popular – to discuss the weighty matters of the hour, such as the olive harvest. Opinions are given, facts thrown out, and Jelsa’s iconic bench was known as the Island Wikipedia. As with many things in Dalmatia, who needs the latest technology like Google, when you have a ready-made domestic solution in place?

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I walked past The Bench for years longing to sit, but I couldn’t. For seating is only by invitation, and one has to earn the right. As a foreigner, I had no chance, for The Bench was reserved for the village elders. I even blogged that a seat on The Bench, it happened. 

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I was passing the hallowed bench, late for an important business meeting, when a voice from The Bench called me over and invited me to sit. My heart beat faster. An invitation to The Bench. And after only 13 years living in Jelsa.  The business meeting might have been important, but nothing was as important as accepting an invitiation on The Bench. I was beyond honoured. 


Sadly, ‘progress’ meant that The Bench is no more in Jelsa, at least in its traditional form, and now the Jelsa Einsteins are forced to sit a little lower down on a newer bench. It is not the same, although their pearls of wisdom remain unaffected. 

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But life goes on, and there are other benches in the world. It is several years since I went to the ‘other’ fortress on Hvar, Napoljun. You can drive or hike, but the rewards are plentiful. Check out this bench view!

A lot of people who visit Hvar, at some point during their stay, climb up the hill to the Spanish Fortress. This offers a magnificent view of the the town and its surroundings. Probably a lot less people go up its bigger eastern neighbour which has the French fortress at its top.

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This is a shame because it has an even more spectacular view. The French Fortress is better known on Hvar as Napoljun. The name Napoljun derives from emperor Napoleon whose army occupied Hvar at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The French decided to have the fortress built after an unsuccessful battle with Russian troops. Today the fortress still watches over Hvar and nowadays houses the Hvar observatory.

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There’s a hiking trail which should get you up there in about 20- 30 minutes. Oh yes, there is also a regular road leading up, which means you can take the car, but that is much less fun. Unless you are a fat pink Englishman. 


 If you want to try up, take the old road to Stari Grad and Brusje, and then turn right at the small turn at the top of the map. 

Is there a more beautiful bench and sunset view in the world?

To learn more about the island, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide



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