KORCULA, Croatia – Korcula is one of the six largest islands off Croatia’s Adriatic coast, and it is getting ready to welcome yet another busy summer holiday season.
Located about halfway between Dubrovnik and Split, the island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia.
The old city of Korcula, which bears the same name as the island itself, consists of a Gothic and Renaissance-style nucleus, surrounded by walls and towers that in the past would have acted as a defense system against enemy ships.
The historic center features examples of architecture dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, with narrow cobbled streets dotted with churches and panoramic squares from which tourists can look out to sea.
But the greatest pride for the city is a house in which Marco Polo, the famous Italian explorer, is said to have been born in 1254.
As a testament to this claim, many cafés, restaurants, stores and souvenirs on the island carry his name.
There is also a museum in homage to the historic figure who in his travelogue “The Travels of Marco Polo” introduced the so-called Silk Road in Central Asia and China to medieval Europe for the first time.
The explorer’s birthplace is disputed by historians, and while it is generally considered to have been Venice, Korcula also stakes a claim.
The island is surrounded by a crystalline sea, and has 182 kilometers (113 miles) of coastline.