THE ISLAND OF VIS
Dear visitors, we are very happy to welcome you to our site www.VisInfo.org, the travel portal for the island of Vis in Croatia. If you are looking for general information about the island of Vis, if you would like to learn about the history and tourism on the island of Vis or you would like to organise your visit to the island, find out things to do and places to visit, book your accommodation in advance then our web portal is the place to be. On this web site we are doing our best to present you our beautiful island and provide you with all information necessary to get to know the island of Vis and organise your visit to this unique island. The island of Vis is a pearl among Croatian Adriatic islands, left untouched by the development of tourism for so many years - due to its strategic location on the open sea, it served as a military zone for many years. Since the independence of Croatia, the island began opening slowly to the outside world, offering it's unique traditions, history, cultural heritage and natural beauties to the outside world, and it is slowly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia. During the long and turbulent history of the island of Vis, many of it's inhabitants were leaving the island in search for better life, mainly across the ocean to Americas and Australia, taking with them their knowledge and skills and helping developing this emerging countries. Today, many of their descendants from all over the world come to visit the island of their forefathers, and are astounded by the beauty and the cultural heritage of their homeland, wondering why their ancestors ever left the island of Vis.
Island of Vis, Croatia
There are many of reasons, but most common ones were economic reasons - in the past the livelihood of the inhabitants of the island of Vis mainly depended on agriculture and fishing, and seasonal shortfalls of production due to bad weather or pestilence would render great economic difficulties for the population of the island of Vis, forcing them to leave the island. Today, this trend has changed and many foreigners come to the island of Vis, never to leave it again - making this beautiful Croatian island their home.
The island of Vis is the most protruding Croatian island with an area of 90.30 km2. It is surrounded by an archipelago of smaller islands and islets: Ravnik, Budikovac, Bisevo, Svetac, Jabuka, Brusnik and Palagruza. The nearest island to the east is the greenest Croatian island - the island of Korcula. Even though Vis and Korcula are neighbouring islands, there are no direct ferry nor catamaran connections between them, but it is possible to organize boat transfer for those without a car. Further more to the south-east, the arhipelago of the island of Lastovo is located, which today is a nature park. The channel of Hvar separates it from the island of Hvar, and the Biševo channel from the island of Biševo. It is approximately 60 miles away from the Italian coast. The island has three mountains stretching across it, and between these mountains are karstic fields.
Hum has the highest altitude (585 m), Sveti Duh (563 m), and Mali Hum (514 m). (See map of Vis) The locals are into agriculture, fishing and tourism. The coasts of the island are sloped and separated. To the west of the island is the Komiza bay and to the north is the Vis harbor, which are also two most important and largest island settlements and urban centers, connected by a regular bus connection that goes accross the island. Along the coast of the island of Vis there are numerous small bays and coves, with modern houses which offer private accommodation in private apartments, two biggest being Milna and Rukavac, situated on the south-eastern shore of the island.
The first people settled in Vis in 3000 B.C. They were of Mediterranean background. In 2000 B.C. they were pushed aside by the Illyrians which formed their own government in the fifth and sixth century B.C. The Syracuse tyrant of Dimitrij the Elder in approximately 397 years B.C. established his colony on Vis and its settlers expanded their influence towards the central- Dalmatian islands. The Illyrian king Agron I and queen Teuta, who where defeated by the Romans in 219 B.C., threatened the authority of Vis (Issa). Since then Issa has acknowledged the authority of Rome. After the downfall of the Western Roman Empire (year 476), Vis at one time acknowledged the authority of the Goths and then the Byzantines. The Croats started settling in Vis in the seventh century. Vis was occupied and destroyed by the Venetians and under Venetian authority from 1420. With peace in Campoformio in 1797, Venice hands it over to Austria, and after peace in Požun in 1805 it comes under the French who fortify it. In March 1811, the English fleet struck a hard defeat to the French-Italian fleet and occupied Vis.
By Regulations of the Vienna Congress of 1814, it was returned to Austria till 1918 when it was occupied by the Italians. In 1921, by the Rapal Contract, it belonged to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians. In 1941 it was occupied by the Italians under whose government it stayed until the capitulation of Italy in 1943. After this it became the military-navy base of the Partisan army in socialistic Yugoslavia, Vis was closed to outsiders because of its strategic position (this regulation was terminated in 1989) and the entire island was turned into a large military fort. But this isolation, however difficult it was for the inhabitants of the island of Vis, placed Vis among the favorite destinations of the entire Mediterranean when Croatia became independent. Beautiful beaches, preserved nature, ecological agriculture and preserved traditional architecture are unique advantages of this unique Croatian island.
Vis has always been an island of fishermen and winegrowers. Komiza on the island of Vis is considered the cradle of fishing in the Adriatic, and in times gone by, the Komiza fishermen where well known in all Mediterranean harbors as experts in their field. Today the Fishing Museum in Komiza shows the famous history of the Vis fishermen. It is said that the first grape vine in Dalmatia and Croatia was planted by the ancient Greeks and that it was planted on a Vis field. The Greek writer Agatarhid said that the wine from Vis was, compared to all others, better. The most famous authentic white wine is definitely the famed Vis Vugava, which you can try in numerous restaurants and cellars on the island.
If we add to this unique historical, cultural, and natural heritage the beautiful crystal clear sea, stunning hidden beaches, bays and islands, kind hosts and comfortable accommodation in private houses and apartments , it is clear why Vis is the favorite tourist destination for those visitors who want to try the unique and almost gone authentic Mediterranean environment and way of life.
We invite you to visit Vis island, and we are sure you will never forget it!
About the town of Vis*
Vis has always been a town and for a short period a state as well.
At the beginning of 19th century 12,000 people lived here from all over Europe. That influenced Vis' language where you can find, besides the derivates of the Venetian dialect, English, French, German and even Hungarian words.
Compared to Hvar or Korčula, Vis faces the land and is open to everything coming from there. Its port even today offers shelter for many fishermen and seamen, lost researchers and other dejected adventurers.
That is how the Greeks from Syracuse found the port of Vis which reminded them of home.
Hvar poets created Kut (the Corner) as the sun caressed them from the west during the winter months.
In contrast, Vis land workers constructed Mola bonda e Mijurovac for the sun to wake them up from the east at dawn.
After Englishman fortified the hills around the bay, diligent Austrians raised the Batarija fortress to bond the town finally into one unit.
Today when, at the beginning of August, you drive on the road to Vis, it really looks like a metropolis. Its shiny illumination extends, like at Christmastime, from the waterfront around the entire bay over the decorated masts, to all the town suburbs, where the lantern on the islet of Host flashes to the north. To the west, like a suburb the Stonca bay illuminates the cove always full of fishermen's boats and local sailing boats whilst to the east the Renaissance town of Kut appears. The peaceful idyll of Kut encounters the summer turbulence of the port in Our Lady's Batarija. A concert currently takes place within the Austrian fortress, a little owl can be heard and under its walls, Spanish visitors are usually the loudest there. A number of people come out in front of the summer cinema once the animated film has just finished, and the feature film is about to begin. On the waterfront new elements and toys shine. There are lasers, led lamps and a variety of coloured stroboscopes. Under the stern of the mega yacht called Aikea Guinea, the arctic neon glares and under it the flathead mullet have party, the two of them together are really big catches. Even the saxophone can be heard around here, "Fly me to the moon" whilst in front of the bank a boat karaoke show is moored. A French band plays In Bejbi and under the reflectors over Issa's necropolis, someone has scored a goal.
And everything brings back memories of the golden 1812 although at that period the economy was blossoming and nowadays we are dealing with a recession, but there again steam boats sailed into the port then and another illuminated "town" came to Vis.
*The title was borrowed from the Ivica Roki-Sinet's collection of poems.