Stari Grad Plain | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Stari Grad Plain

Vrbanj, Split-Dalmatia, Croatia

Lucy Davidson

13 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Stari Grad Plain

The Stari Grad Plain is a prime example of ancient Greek agricultural practices and organisation dating back to the Greek colony of Pharos. Located on the island of Hvar, Croatia, the plain is the largest agricultural area on any of the Adriatic islands.

History of Stari Grad Plain

Under the Romans in around the 2nd century BC, the port of Pharia became an important military base, and was a trading centre for grapes and fishing. Inhabited by Ionian Greeks in the 4th century BC, the Stari Grad Plain became an important farming landscape, where mainly grapes and olives were grown.

The landscape is almost entirely preserved in its original form, owing to careful maintenance of stone walls over the centuries, as well as stone shelters and the water collection system. Remarkably, on top of the land having served its original purpose for centuries, it still does so today, with the same crops, mainly grapes and olives, being grown in the fields. 

Agricultural activity at the site has been uninterrupted for 24 centuries up to the present day: what we see today is a continuation of the cultural landscape of the original Greek colonists.

Stari Grad Plain Today

In 2008, the Stari Grad Plain was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Amongst the reasons for its inclusion was the excellent state of preservation of its ‘chora’, geometric-shaped plots each enclosed by stone walls. These agricultural practices – ways of splitting or organising the land – were an important method used by the ancient Greeks to parcel up land in the course of farming.

Other aspects of the Greek town are also visible, including the ruins of fortifications such as a watch tower, and some houses.

Getting to Stari Grad Plain

From the centre of Split, the site is reachable by car in around an hour and a half. This includes taking the ferry to Stari Grad. By foot, it takes around two hours if you take the same ferry. The island itself is stunning: we recommend taking a short trip down to the Dubovica beach when you’re in the area.

 

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