VELA LUKA

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Vela Luka

Vela Luka is a small town situated on the western side of the island of Korčula in a deep wide bay. The bay of Vela Luka abounds in numerous coves covered with vineyards,olive groves, fig trees and pine trees.
With the population of 4500, Vela Luka is the biggest place on the island.
It’s a safe anchorage and nautical harbor.
Vela Luka is an attractive destination due to its mild climate and natural beauties such as sweeping views, clear sea and beautiful beaches. Moreover, it is rich with cultural heritage, various sport and entertainment events, and most importantly with kind and hospitable hosts

History and Culture

Vela Luka is home to many talented musicians and artists, hardworking and many-sided people, as well as the place of tradition. The Cultural Centre is located in the town centre, next to the parish church of St. Joseph, and it consists of a museum, a gallery and a library, and the wealth and diversity of Vela Luka’s history, art and cultural heritage is shown through several valuable museum collections; the archaeological collection, the gifted international collection of drawings, graphics and small sculptures and the collection of ship models carved in wood.
The gifted international collection was the result of many donations from domestic and foreign artists after Vela Luka got hit by a tidal wave in the summer of 1978.Two sculptures by Henry Moore dominate the collection, which are also the only two works of that respectable artist in the Croatian territory.

The wooden model ships, forty one of them, were made by the late Nedjeljko Gigić Kotarc, a self-educated carver from Vela Luka who was carving them in olive wood for decades and left them as a legacy to future generations and his town.

In the atrium of the Cultural Centre, and on several locations in the town centre you can see different parts of a mosaic of abstract and figural compositions made in 1968 when the first international gathering of artists took place in Vela Luka.

Today, Vela Luka is home to many artists, painters and sculptors, poetry and poets. About thirty artists-amateurs work and live here and “the most beautiful cove in the whole world ” or “najlipša vala na svitu”, how they call Vela Luka, is where many famous artists were born, e.g. Izvor Oreb, a sculptor, a painter and a poet, Danijel Dragojević, a poet, late academic Šime Vučetić, Ante Marinović, a sculptor, Gorki Žuvela, a conceptual artist and well-known singers Oliver Dragojević and Jasna Zlokić.

The autochthonous Dalmatian song still lives and maybe represents the spirit of the people of Vela Luka better than anything else when performed by several local choirs such as Vela Luka, Ošjak, Leut and others, but it is even nicer when few of the oldest inhabitants of Vela Luka meet spontaneously on a street corner or in a park and one of them starts a song from the depth of his soul “just like in the old days”, and the others sing along bringing pleasure to everyone.

A folk group called “Kumpanija” has been nurturing various traditional dances of Vela Luka for decades, such as: «Mafrina», «Četiri pasa», «Tanac», «Pritilica», «Šega-šega» and especially a very attractive dance with swords – «Ples od boja», known as «Kumpanija».

«Kumpanija» is an ancient knight game which originated from the organized peoples’ army, which has been defending the island from different conquerors and invaders for centuries.

«Kumpanija» is quite extraordinary and is performed only on the island of Korčula during religious and state holidays. The main performance takes place every year on March 19, St. Joseph’s day, who is the patron saint of Vela Luka.

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Gastronomy and Entertainment

Just like in other parts of Dalmatia and along the coast, the life in small towns is characterized by two periods, the summer and the winter period. The winter season is characterized by a calm and relaxed rhythm, and its highlight is in January, the time of a carnival or “maškare”. With respect to the old Christian customs there is a long tradition of carnival in Vela Luka, so every Sunday from the beginning of January up until the end of February there are organized costume parties, contests for the best costumes and prizes for the best three. This period of festivities ends with a big parade when all contestants go in a procession through the town centre.

The summer period starts on June 24, on St. John’s day, and is celebrated by a traditional boat race from Gradina cove to the town centre. During the summer months, the rich entertaining programme enables all visitors of Vela Luka to enjoy the weekly performances of the folk group «Kumpanija», vocal singing, exhibits of local and other artists, fishermen evenings, and various concerts of pop and classical music.

In addition to that, there is also a disco and numerous bars where you can enjoy the occasional concerts of popular singers and bands, domestic and foreign.

Rich gastronomic offer of Vela Luka is based on numerous quality restaurants and inns offering local specialties and other dishes. Most of them are in the town centre, and in the wider area of Vela Luka there are several households offering authentic Dalmatian ambiance, traditional cuisine of Vela Luka, domestic wine and more.

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