Hvar Celebrates St Stephen as Its Tourism Focus Moves to the Sea

Total Croatia News

(Photo copyright Romulic and Stojcic)

Its nightclubs may be closed, its beaches emptier, but there is plenty of activity on Croatia’s premier island, as Hvar Town celebrates its special day. 

The main tourist season may be over on the Dalmatian coast, but there is still plenty of activity in exclusive Hvar Town, as the town’s residents celebrated their patron saint Stephen on the Day of the Town on October 2, 2015.

Known as Europe’s sunniest island and a major Croatian tourist attraction, Hvar also has many ancient religious traditions, and local residents turned out in force for the traditional procession to commemorate Stephen, the pope and martyr who is the patron of the diocese of Hvar, Brac and Vis, and whose Cathedral of the same name is the parish centre.

(Photo credit – Kruvenica Hvar)

The procession (see below from 2012) through Dalmatia’s largest square is an important part of the religious calendar for locals, and the day’s celebrations also included a mass in the cathedral of the same name.

In recent years, the celebration of St Stephen has been accompanied by various tourist events, as the island aims to prolong its season and move away from its stereotype as a beach and nightlife summer destination, and with considerable success. 

While the beaches may be emptier, a number of sea-based events have focused on the traditions of the island and attracted a different type of late season tourist. This October saw the second Big Game Fishing Hvar Cup, starting on October 1, after the successful indroduction of this event to the Hvar calendar last year, an event which was attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

There was plenty of colour in and aroun the town as well, as Emperor Diocletian himself made the short boat ride from his UNESCO palace in Split to oversea the festivities. 

For some, early October is an ideal time to visit the island, as the temperatures are more agreeable to non sun worshippers, and the townsfolk are more relaxed after the stress of the peak season. The annual traditional sailboat festival, Festa Forske Pulene, adds a romantic touch to this already enchanting town, as well as a window into a previous Hvar era. 

More sea-based events will complete the season, including the 5th Peskafondo squid-fishing championship in November, and the annual Europa Laser Cup regatta at New Year, but all eyes in Hvar Town on October 9 will be on the much-anticipated island premiere of Fishermen’s Conversations, a documntary film by Chiara Bove Makiedo about the lives of the island’s fishermen on a changing tourist island. Four years in the making, Fishermen’s Conversations has thus far only been shown at three film festivals in London, Iceland and Vukovar. Watch the trailer below.



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