Brač island and its stone story 04.06.2018.

 

Brač island is a great destination for your holiday with excellent accommodation (apartments, exclusive villas etc.) but it is not all about sun and the sea.


Situated in central Dalmatia, in front of Split, Brač island is the third largest island in Croatia and one of the popular tourist destinations. Brač has many attractions: beautiful old towns such as Supetar or Sutivan, numerous wonderful beaches that include the famous Zlatni rat beach near Bol, and several other interesting sites such as Blaca hermitage and Dragon's cave and so on. But long before tourists came, Brač has been popular since the ancient times due to its one very valuable resource: white stone.


Brač had stone quarries back in the ancient Roman times and stone blocks for Diocletian's palace in Split where carved there. The extracted stone was used not just for the local buildings but was exported to various places in the ancient world. Such practice has continued till today: plenty of buildings in Croatia and abroad were built with beautiful stone from the island of Brač.


Having such long and valuable tradition in stone excavation and stone masonry means that many stone buildings, sculptures and beautifully carved small items found their place on Brač which makes this island a place of lovely architecture that combines with deep blue sea and green pine forests in the back ground to create magnificent scenery. Stone houses, luxury villas and other buildings made from the Brač stone add to the beauty of the island and to the harmonious look of its small towns and places with pebble and sand beaches.


One place on Brač island is devoted to stone in particular. Pučišća, a small coastal town on the north-east part of Brač, has a long tradition of stone exploitation and stone masonry. Stone has played a major part of this small town's economy and has been a major part of its self-image. The quarries are situated to the east of the town and some of them date back to the Roman times. The only stonemason high school in Croatia is located in Pučišća where students from all over the country come to learn this beautiful craft and produce stone masterpieces. There are tours that take you to the school where the visitors can learn all about stone, the history of its excavations on the island of Brač and in Pučišća, about the masonry and witness the students working with the stone. There are various stone sculptures scattered across the town so taking a stroll can feel as a visit to a museum. Many smaller stone carved items can be bought as souvenirs.


There are many stories and myths regarding this precious material. One says that the US White House was built (or at least a part of it) from Brač stone as one Hungarian merchant allegedly bought large amount of stone from the quarries and sold it to the construction company that was building it. Unfortunately there is no proof for this story but it is still nice to think about it. On the other hand, stone from the island of Brač indeed was used at United Nations headquarters in New York – in the vestibule of the main building and in front of it as a base of the Peace monument, the work of Croatian sculptor Antun Augustinčić.


Stone is just one part of Brač island identity but it is a very important one. It makes the island perfect for satisfying one's cultural appetite and learning about the noble craft of stone masonry while having a great holiday as well. And you are bound to find at least one lovely souvenir.

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