The crossroads between East and West, Central European and the southern spirit of the Mediterranean, Croatia has developed a wide artistic, literary and musical tradition over the years. A rich cultural heritage that lives beyond museums, churches and cathedrals.
One of Croatia's slogans could certainly be "a small country with great world heritage". Croatia's contribution to the world's cultural, historical, natural, tangible and intangible heritage is disproportionately large having in mind the size of the country and the number of inhabitants.
The list of buildings, towns, art works, cultural and natural attractions included by UNESCO in the lists of world heritage is just as diverse and rich as the Croatian culture, spirit and nature that they hail from.
The most important day in Dubrovnik
Festival of Saint Blaise, Unesco, Dubrovnik. Photo: Julien Duval/CNTB
One special time of the year to visit Dubrovnik is for the day of the Patron Saint – Saint Blaise. The oldest festivity in these parts begins on the eve of the Festival of Saint Blaise, on the second day of February or Candlemas, by a symbolic release of white doves – an image that is certain to sear into your memory. This tradition dates back to the 10th century and has its roots in the legend of the saint who helped the people of Dubrovnik defend their freedom during the Venetian siege of the town. As a token of gratitude, he was made the patron saint of Dubrovnik, and during the Middle Ages the locals built a new, Baroque Church of St Blaise on the foundations of the old Romanesque edifice.
The festivities officially begin by raising the flag of St Blaise in front of the church that is decorated for the occasion, and by carrying out a gilded relic of the saint, a statue of him holding a model of the town. During the festivities, people from all over Croatia come to this town at the foot of Srđ mountain. Thanks to the efforts of the pious people and the Fraternity of St Blaise, the festivity has retained all of its traditional characteristics and customs throughout history, which has helped preserve the intangible heritage of the Dubrovnik Republic and the spiritual wealth of the local community.
Traditions respected and indeed nurtured
Kumpanjija, Blato, Korčula. Photo: Davor Rostuhar/CNTB
The sword dance Moreška has been passed for centuries from generation to generation and has become an inevitable part of cultural and tourist entertainment of the town of Korčula in the summer period. Along with Moreška on the List of Protected Cultural Items of the Republic of Croatia, there is the Kumpanija chain battle dance with swords, which is performed in Pupnat, Čara, Smokvica, Blato and Vela Luka, together with Moštra in Žrnovo, on the island of Korčula. The oldest record of Moreška dates to 1666 and the Kumpanija Law of Žrnovo dates to 1620.
The Korkyra Baroque Festival was established in 2012. in order to promote local and international music and cultural heritage. Magical concert evenings and Korčula's impressive culture monuments create a unique synergy and the Korkyra Baroque Festival has gained the reputation of a must-attend event on the global music scene.