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Building and development of Lumbarda

In order to better visualize this history, I feel it is necessary to first review the proper positioning of Lumbarda in a geographical sense. This positioning played a very important role in the history and development of this settlement. With its location, Lumbarda was blessed with many advantages, like the easily accessible seashore, mild topography, fertile field, and building stone deposits. Its seashore is developed with many smaller islands, bays, and coves. Lumbarda’s field is unique such as in all of Dalmatia. Beautiful sandy beaches, like the one at Bilin Zal, Przina, Prvi Zal, and others, and as we will see later in this text, with rich heritage through centuries of settlement.

village of Lumbarda
village of Lumbarda

The village is located about six kilometers from the town of Korcula, and from the eastern point of the island called “Raznjic” it is only about two kilometers. From Raznjic, Lumbarda is separated by the beautiful Lumbarda field, which, with its unique composition of the soil, and angling against the sun, is most suited for the cultivation of certain grapevine, from which is made widely known white wine “Grk”. The village of Lumbarda is situated along and around the bay of Lumbarda, and on both sides of Lumbarda’s field, along the edges of hills that surround this field. Hamlets of “Vela Glavica” and “Mala Glavica” have spread over the tops of these hills. Hamlets of Lumbarda are continuous and create one unit, except for “Javic ” which is located some two kilometres from the centre of the village, near the road that leads to the town of Korcula. In recent years additional building activities spread in new sections like the ones on the Western shore of the bay of “Racisca”, along the eastern shore of this bay, around “Koludrt”, “Sutivan” and lately east of “Mala Postrana” in “Plece”. Lumbarda’s hamlets are continuous to make one unit, but each has its own individual name, I believe so they can be easily identified.

View of Vela Glavica from above Postrana”Vela Glavica” is situated on one of larger hills, farthest to the east. On the south, it is gently descending down the hill until it meets the vineyards which are stretching across Lumbarda”s field. On the north side, especially down to “Vlaka”, houses are descending toward the sea, and toward the beach of “Bilin Zal”. The view from this side of “Vela Glavica” is magnificent, because it opens the scene across the channel on the mountainous peninsula of Peljesac, with its tall mountain peaks, and also all of the islands in the channel, which appear as though they are floating on the surface of the sea. On top of “Vela Glavica” is located the parish church “Sveti Roko”, which is the main church in Lumbarda. The hamlet of “Mala Glavica” continues westward and ties “Vela Glavica” with the bay and beach of “Tatinja”, and continues over the top of this hill to the beach of “Prvi Zal”. This is a sandy beach right in the center of Lumbarda. The village continues up the hill toward the south and creates hamlet called “Vela Postrana”. This hamlet has probably the most beautiful view on the bay of Lumbarda, because of its location on sloping hillside, rising up from the beach. The view from here stretches beyond the bay and across the channel, over islands and up to the mountain on the other side, with its peak of “Sveti Ilija” and town of “Orebic” beneath it, by the sea. Eastward from “Vela Postrana” continues the hamlet of “Mala Postrana” which is in a similar fashion located on the slope of a hill and the homes descend down this hill, until they meet the vineyards, in the field of Lumbarda. Westward of “Vela Postrana” we find the hamlet of “Zabnjak”, which is laying on relatively flat terrain, with a gentle slope toward the North and the seashore. Farther to the West we find “Kosovo” which also slopes gently toward the sea on the Northside, and meets the sea at the west end of the bay of Lumbarda, named “Sutivan”. These are in general the hamlets which comprise village of Lumbarda along with hamlet named “Javic ” which, as earlier mentioned, is somewhat distanced from the village.

The history of settlement in Lumbarda is long, and it is difficult to ascertain whether the settlement existed here in early middle ages, but we have archaeological proof that settlement was active here as far back as the fourth century before Christ, and possibly even earlier. We will return to these facts later in this text, but when we talk of permanent, continuous settlement it is possible that the settlement was discontinued during a good part of the middle ages. Because of the easily accessible seashore in front of Lumbarda, we can conclude that it was dangerous to live here. Inhabitants would have been exposed to all possible invaders, like pirates and criminal plunderers who could land on these shores and attack the people. These pirate attacks were widespread in those centuries, in this part of the world.

Fortifications of the city of Korcula People could only find refuge in fortified cities, like was the case in the city of Korcula., or settle somewhere far away from the seashore in the interior of the island, behind the hills, like it was the case with many of other settlements on the island of Korcula. Also, because Lumbarda is situated next to that channel that divides the island from the mainland, many ships, both military and merchant passed by this location and Lumbarda would have been exposed to their landings. The city of Korcula was very prosperous in those centuries, because of its location along this passage, and was able to protect itself with the fortifications which we can see surrounding this city up to the present time.

For Lumbarda, this was impossible because of its widespread settlements, and because of this fact, I believe that settlement in the early middle ages was discontinued. Many theories exist, some of which state that Lumbarda is of fairly recent origins and that this settlement was started at the beginning of the Sixteenth Century. We know that the church of Sveti Roko was built at the beginning of the sixteenth century, but for sure we know that the settlement there existed much earlier, and for this, we have several proofs. Other churches, like Sveti Bartul and Saint Barbara, possibly date from earlier periods, but from the documents, we know that the Church of “Sveti Ivan” at the present-day cemetery, existed before the year of 1388.

Nikola Ostoich, the first known collector of archaeological monuments on the island of Korcula, in his book “COMPENDIO STORICO DELL ISOLA DI CURZOLA” which he wrote in 1856, states that on this location existed a monastery, which at that time in year of 1388 was in ruins, but that the church of “Sveti Ivan” existed there. He cites the order from Dodge in Venice, where he is ordering the bishop of Korcula to maintain this church, and that the Mass must be held there at least three times weekly. If this is so, then surely someone must have lived there in the vicinity to come and listen to the Mass services. Further, in these documents, he is mentioning the name “Lombarda” which proves that in the Fourteenth century this place was called Lumbarda, same as today. According to all of this, we can conclude that Lumbarda existed as a settlement during all these periods, but with changing number and composition of inhabitants, from way back when Greek colonists lived here in the fourth century before Christ. According to all of this, we can now divide this history into three main periods; First, the period of Antiquity up to the fall of the Roman Empire. This period would include; Greek Colonies, followed by the period of Settlement by Ilirians, with tribes of people named “Dalmati”, and then the Roman period with Romans colonizing this island. The second period would encompass the period of the early middle ages, when our middle dalmatian islands were settled by refugees from at that time, one of the large roman cities of Salona, near modern Split. These refugees were running from then invading central European tribes of Slavs and Avars. The third period would be this last period, with which we are a lot more familiar, and which started somewhere at the beginning of the Fifteenth Century. About this last period, we have many written documents, which we can find in various archives, like the ones in Venice, Zadar and in the city of Korcula.

Many students of history visited this locality, which even centuries ago was easily accessible by the use of sailing ships and in later times steamships. I like to mention only two English travelers who visited Korcula in the Nineteen Century and who wrote about their travels. From their writings, we can conclude that our history as it was taught in Yugo-schools was not exactly true, and there was so much we did not know about our own history. A book written by T.G.Jackson in the second half of nineteenth-century is very informative. Before him, Sir Gardner Wilkinson visited this island, and he wrote a book about his travels through Dalmatia. Their books were written without any political slant or prejudice because I believe that England never had any conquering desires for our lands. Only by knowing our true history, and by the looks of our medieval cities, we can confirm the truth of their description of this history. It is a fact that all valuable architectural monuments and buildings originating in the period between the fifteenth and the end of the eighteenth century, actually when we were part of the Venetian Republic. Without any other arguments, we know that this was the period of highest accomplishments in the world’s building and architecture. Many will misunderstand this and will feel that the credit is here given to the Italian Venice, but that is not true.

Popular Routes: Split to Korcula, Korcula to Split, Dubrovnik to Korcula, Korcula to Dubrovnik

Korcula’s cathedral Many of these great architectural monuments and buildings, which we today respect and adore, like the cathedral in Korcula, also the Trogir’s and Sibenik’s cathedrals and many buildings in the old town of Dubrovnik are works of our own homegrown masters. The best known are “Juraj Dalmatinac”, then Korcula’s master stonecutters from family Andrijic, who built many of the buildings in the towns of Dubrovnik and Korcula. Stone for most of their buildings came from quarries on Vrnik and Kamenjak. Andrijic family also owned property in Lumbarda. This is totally opposite of what we were taught in the schools, that Venetians were occupiers, and that they exploited our lands. The truth is, that in that time the Venetian government encouraged these activities, and made it possible for these, even if judged by today’s standards, beautiful towns to develop. We don’t find similar towns in other parts of Croatia, outside Venetian influence. The truth is that Venice of that period was on top of the worlds art and Architecture.

Later periods, after Napoleon’s rearrangement of European borders, and up to today’s time, we can’t find any valuable architectural monuments. I can not think of one now worthy of a mention. Especially when we think back of the recent past, and review what the two Yugoslavija’s left us, first the Serbian-Balkan monarchy, and then bolshevik- Marxist state. This last especially is known for huge square concrete buildings, where aesthetics was pushed to the last place, in order to make us all alike, and where religious architecture was completely neglected. Let us hope that better days are coming.

Now we can return to the real purpose of this text, namely, the actual history of building and development in our Lumbarda. In order to visualize this better, we have to look into the reasons why our ancestors settled in this place and what attracted them to this locality. It is logical to conclude that they felt this place can provide for them and their families a comfortable living. Normally, the movement of peoples was in search of more fertile lands and better agricultural conditions. I believe this was not the reason for this settlement in Lumbarda, especially when we know that there is a lack of fresh water, with regular droughts every summer. Other reasons exist for the settlement in this village. One of the very important reasons they settled here was stone quarrying, and also, to some extent fishing and agriculture.

We know that the stone quarries at and around Lumbarda go back to the times of antiquity, back to the time of the Roman Empire, and probably even back to the times of Greeks. These Stone quarries, “petrali” as these were called by Lumbarda’s people were in use through all of these periods, especially those on the islands of “Vrnik” and “Sutvara”. I believe these were in use even throught the periods when it wasn’t safe to live in Lumbarda. This industry, which was the one most important in the history of Lumbarda and had a great influence on the development of building interest. Here we have many proofs, searching back through the centuries. Those large quarries on Vrnik, when we look at them, we have to only marvel and think back through the times, how many centuries it took to excavate such deep cuttings, and that, with primitive tools, with wedges and sledgehammers, all with the force of sweat and muscles. We also have to marvel when we look at the whiteness of the city of Dubrovnik, where it shines against the sun, and in back of our minds we know that this stone is from our small island of Vrnik or Kamenjak, and that our ancestors dug out that stone and shaped it, in those dusty stone quarries, in those hot summer days, when the sun from above burned, and they, hidden in the shade of primitive sheds kept hitting the stone with pointed hammers and chisels, so they can produce as many blocks of stone as possible. When they completed shaping these stones, they would have to pull these down to the seashore, so they can load it in wooden schooners, and these would distribute it to various parts of Dalmatia and Mediterranean. With togetherness, they would pull the sled loaded with the blocks of completed stones down the hill, after they greased it, so it would be easier to pull. They did all of this without any fear because they were used to this, by doing the same procedure many times before, on a daily basis.

When we talk of stone quarries, it is important to mention that these quarries were located all around Lumbarda. Those on the islands were the most active ones, not only because the stone there was of better quality, but also because it was easier to transport stone from these locations with ships and boats. Also, the quality of the stone was different from one place to another, and stone intended to be used for certain uses was quarried in corresponding stone quarries. We know that on “Krmaca” we find stone in thin layers, where the most practical use for this stone is for pavements of streets and buildings.

On the island of Vrnik we find stone in larger blocks. Here the quarries were most active because this type of stone was always in high demand. Stone from the island of Sutvara is by nature softer than the others and is easier to shape, and it is also one of whitest of our stones, but builders always had cautioned, because it was felt, that longevity of this stone was not up to the stones from other locations. Stone from the island of Kamenjak, like from Badija, was of good quality, but the dimensions of the block were limited and often these were used for blocks of smaller dimensions. Places like Donje Blato, Humac, Koludrt, Planjak & Pelegrin would also satisfy these requirements. Although most men of Lumbarda were engaged in work at the stone quarries, in Lumbarda through the centuries were also active professional fishermen, along with other fishermen for whom this was secondary employment. Many were engaged in all three, namely stone cutting, fishing, and agriculture.

If we return on the process of settlement in Lumbarda, then we can conclude that this settlement did not occur in mass, but it grew gradually, and each settler had his own reasons for coming here. This process lasted a long time. We can see this happening today and although it is hard to notice, is happening in front of our eyes. If we only return to the period just before the beginning of Second World War, then when we compare that period with today, we will find that in Lumbarda lives a relatively large number of new family names. Movement of peoples normally is caused by the search for better living conditions, in new surroundings, but that was not always the reason. Many of the old settlers in Lumbarda came as farmhands, serfs who worked the fields for landowners from the town of Korcula. I believe that these were the earliest settlers of Lumbarda in this Third Period. They lived in primitive stone huts, and they mostly came from nearby Hercegovina. The second group of settlers was those who left the city of Korcula, where often in those sanitary difficult surroundings, inside the city walls, many diseases were present, and people were dying from these, and many houses had to be set on fire. These people wanted to come out in the open countryside, where sanitary conditions were much better when it once became safe to live out on the open. Many of them already had their land possessions in Lumbarda, and they even, when they lived in the city, used to visit their lands on the weekends, many owned their weekend villas in Lumbarda. I know that my ancestors moved out of the Old Town of Korcula right after the 1571 siege of the city by Uluz-Ali’s Turkish fleet after they helped to defend the city.

There is an interesting story, for which I don’t have any actual proof, but I believe that it is possible to be true. Namely, the fishermen from the peninsula of Peljesac, who at that time were under the Republic of Dubrovnik, and to whom it was forbidden to buy fishing boats across the canal in Korcula, that they, because of this inconvenience moved to live in Lumbarda, across the border which at that time separated Peljesac with Korcula. Others came from those safe towns in the interior of the Island, when it became safe to live by the sea, and there was no more danger of attacks from pirates, and life can be conducted peacefully and normally.

I believe that it is important to mention here one kind of building activity to which not much attention is normally paid, and it is the most wide-spread one. These are the stone terrace walls, called “meje”. These stone terraces we find all around Lumbarda. These were also being built through all of these historical periods, from the beginning of Lumbarda. This kind of building activity we can call “primitive building”, but that does not mean that these walls were not built by master craftsmen. Also, we know that this was not only unique for Lumbarda but that this activity was popular all over Dalmatia.

If we look around and start from the far eastern end at section called “Jurtina” then we continue over to “Pleca ” and “Strazica”, through “Baruza” and “Oklade”, then over “Glogovac”, in the back of “Vela Straza” then towards “Mindel”, then “Mlimlice”, down to “Babin Dolac” and “Ceperline” until we reach “Gornje Blato”, then “Zamaslinjak”. If we continue over “Javic”, “Musina Ropa”, “Krmaca” , and all sides of “Donje Blato”, then to “Solina” and after return to “Koludrt”, and many other places. We have to marvel how much of this land was cleared and cultivated. How many of those rough pieces of stone passed through those cut-up and blistered hands of that hard-working people. When we look at all these stone terraces, we have to have some special feelings, because, if we were to line all of these walls up in a continuous wall, it would probably reach the length of the Great Wall Of China. This was a tremendous job and it was beautifully accomplished. They all built their walls, masons, and farmers, but they all knew how to build with those rough stones, without the use of mortar.

This kind of builder is rare today if it is possible to find any. They left us a very valuable inheritance, even though, not in any material sense, but with pride and respect for their efforts. Always when I visit these places, I sense such satisfying feelings, knowing that this was done for them and their coming generations, that means for us their followers and heirs, so that we could enjoy the fruits of their hard work, even more than they personally.

A very important quality of the stone is its durability, and therefore this early activity left us many traces of life through the times past, which reaches back to the times of antiquity.

From the first colonizing of Lumbarda, when the first Greek colonists landed on these shores, we find very little that is preserved and that can be identified to originate from that period. The fragments of the stone slab, with inscriptions and names of owners of the parcels of land in Lumbarda, is one of the oldest archaeological finds in this part of the Adriatic. This find makes Lumbarda rich with something no other town can claim. From this early Greek period, nothing else was left that can be recognized to date back to those times. Surely something must have been left, but it is possible that in later periods, many of those buildings were destroyed, not probably from bad intentions, but to use the stone for other, later buildings. Because this stone slab was found on the hill of “Koludrt”, I believe that these colonists then, about 400 years before Christ did settle there, somewhere around “Koludrt” and most probably at the foot of this hill that we today call “Sutivan”.The area of Sutivan with the mild topography and rich soil, and protected from the cold North wind, and most importantly, it lays next to a peaceful cove by the sea, I believe was most desirable for settling by these colonists that landed on this shore.

Today, while cultivating gardens in this area, we find buried stone walls, and this is proof that something existed there in the past. If some excavations in this area would be conducted by professionals in archaeology, I believe interesting finds would be discovered. We know that some fifty years ago archaeologists from the University of Zagreb completed some small excavations, where they found some graves that dated back to Roman times, but this project was not thorough or complete.

From Roman times, we find ruins in the field of Lumbarda, by “Knezina” and “Bilin Zal” . Along the side of the road by “Knezina”, we can today see the stone wall, made of small stone square blocks, laid in a diamond shape style. We know that only Romans built in that style. We don’t have exact sources for the purpose of this wall, and what it was used for. Various students of this locality explain this in various ways. I will here again use the help of the book written by Nikola Ostoich, which he wrote in 1856, where he is also relying on the books of previous writers. He talks of a building divided into two sections, approximately two square buildings which were connected by approximately a fifty-meter long corridor. This corridor was about 4 meters wide and the walls were about 1.80 meters high. According to his theory, the existing wall on the side of this road is part of this corridor. For what purpose this building was used, there exists also a number of theories.

Watchtower with Roman wall alongside the road. Some state that this was a military camp and fortification. One of his theories is that during the time of Emperor Diocletian’s rule, there was something like a camp-prison for Christians, who were at that time sentenced to a life long prison term and were made to work in the stone quarries of the nearby island of Vrnik. At that time, stone from Vrnik was being excavated for the construction of Diocletian’s Palace in today’s city of Split. I believe that this theory has the most possibilities of being true because when we study the building itself, we find that there was no windows or main doors, just one very narrow entrance. This tells us that this would have been practical for a prison’s design because it would make it easier to guard and monitor the entering and exiting of the prisoners.

Other remains from this antique period, for now, we don’t have. I hope that in the future more effort will be used in explorations of this area, and then I believe that many interesting finds and objects will be discovered.

If we now continue and return to the early medieval period, there we will also find very little, although I am sure, that many objects existed which we would respect today, and which local inhabitants in the past, without bad intentions destroyed. I am a witness that in today’s age, people who are not familiar with, and who are not interested in old monuments have installed beautifully carved stone ornaments in the walls of a pig’s stable. In dark periods of the middle ages many of those objects were destroyed, or they were used as building members in new contemporary buildings. It is sad to say that we can not say much about this period. Maybe for Lumbarda, the most significant object for that period is the Monastery at Sutivan, which we have mentioned earlier, and for which we have proofs that it existed. If this monastery was in ruins in the fourteenth century then surely it existed there long before that date. That means this would take us back into early middle ages.

It is said that today we don’t have any physical traces of this building but only the written records that exist in the archives in Venice. As far as I know, this is the only object from this period except maybe for the ruins located on the island of Majsan, but this one, even though it is near Lumbarda, can not be exactly classified as Lumbarda’s building. This locality also need much further research, so the true history of this object could be determined. Here we also find many theories for the history of these ruins. Some of these theories tell us that this also was one early monastery, while others state that this was a place where lepers were deported and isolated so that they can not spread the disease in their home towns. It is possible that both of these theories are true. There is a similar problem with the history of the Benedictine monastery on the island of Badija, which also existed there in the early middle ages, which is before the beginning of the Twelfth century. And here also the traces of any building have disappeared. Here also we find many theories for this history.

The ruins on Bilin Zal, same as the watchtower in the Lumbarda’s field, I believe date back to this same period, and I think that this period is the early middle ages. It is not hard to conclude that this watchtower was used for watching and guarding purposes, because from that location one can see all around, especially the sea on both the North and South sides. From here they can detect any ships that would approach the island shores from any direction. The ruins by the beach are probably the remains of residences for the soldiers because of the appearance of these ruins, it looks like the use of this structure was residential. Whether there lived military personnel or civilians, like those landowners of the property in surrounding areas, it is hard now to determine. When we look at the rear section of the church of Holy Cross, “Sveti Kriz” that is located in the middle of the vineyards, we can see that this part of the building is resting on top of some former, much older building. Surely, something existed there in earlier periods. By the looks and style of construction, it is possible that the structure of which this section is left dates back to the early middle ages.

From the beginning of the second half of the middle ages, we find many traces of renewed life and activity in Lumbarda. I believe that this started somewhere at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

The oldest buildings which we find from that period are small churches, as well as landowners castles and villas. I think that one of these oldest churches is the church of Sveti Bartul located in Velika Postrana. This theory is backed by the appearance of the church and the ageing stained stone on the walls of this church, along with the architectural style of this church. This church has nothing that would remind us of Gothic or Baroque styles because these styles were in use by us after the fifteenth century. This style is more Romanesque, which was a popular style in those early periods. It is interesting to note that this church has a vaulted ceiling, with interesting interior where the walls and ceiling had frescoed paintings.

Another interesting church of this early period is “Gospica”, in translation “Little Lady”, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. I believe this little church was for private use since we know that in the vicinity of this location today exists the ruins of an old castle. This is located on Mala Glavica and is today in possession of family Markovina “Ciko”. From the documents, we know that this property in Lumbarda was given to the bishop of Korcula, and they used this property for vacationing and escaping from the city life. At the end of the thirteenth century, when Korcula didn’t have a bishop and was part of Ston diocese, The city of Ston was overrun by newcomers from Bosnia who were not Catholics but Heretics and Orthodox Christians.

Gospica, Little Lady Chapel Because of physical dangers to him, the Bishop had to leave Ston and was living in exile on the island of Lokrum near Dubrovnik. The people of Korcula then asked the Pope to have the bishop’s seat move from Ston to Korcula. To induce him to come, they promised to pay the bishop a certain amount of money and then gifted to him this property in Lumbarda with some vineyards.

Now, returning back to the “Gospica”, we can see by the colouring of the stone and from the style of the church building that this church dates back to the early period of this last settlement. This church also has hints of Romanesque. Also, it is set into a hillside and proportions of this little church are perfect, even though it is located right on the edge of the street, it creates a beautiful scene when you approach it from the front, up the stepped-up street which leads right up to its façade.

On the old house of Markovina Ciko that is located near this church, above the entrance door is built into the wall a stone slab with the inscription of “FRANEUS MANOLA FROM SPLIT AND KORCULA’S BISHOP.” Above this slab is built in a Maltese Cross, which I believe does not date to the same period as the inscribed slab.

The coloring of the stone, the date inscribed and the style of work confirm that this cross is of later origins. The fact remains that this was the location of the bishop’s residence and according to the documents this started at the end of the Thirteenth century, which is much earlier than most of us thought is when modern Lumbarda originated.

The third church which is very interesting and which dates back to the same early period and is somewhat farther away from the village is the church of Saint Liberan on Solina. Again, this is returning us to the earlier period, maybe the beginning of the Sixteenth century, when Lumbarda began to grow as a permanent settlement. Because of its location in the field at Solina, I think that this also belonged to a landowner, who owned the surrounding fields, surely some aristocrat from Korcula. He probably erected this little chapel, so here he can pray to God, because here, on this relatively isolated place he can find peace and tranquillity.

These are my own thoughts about the origins of this little church, but I believe that there exists true history of this church. It would be interesting, to someday ascertain, if it is possible, to find some documents in the City of Korcula or at some other place, or maybe from the memory from someone who is familiar with this history. I find it surprising that in the vicinity of this church we can not find any other objects, that can be tied to the origin and function of this church.

Other buildings that exist from that early period and which are not churches are old castles, some of which are even today in a very good condition. These castles were not only used for defensive purposes but were also used as residences. These were constructed in such a way, that they could easily be used for defensive purposes in the case they were attacked. This means these were built during the time when there existed a danger from the attackers, and when different attackers and pirates were still active, and when still was not safe to live out in the open. These buildings were built in height, with a small window and door openings. Most of this reached the height of three stories. From the height, it was easier to resist the attacker, by throwing object down on him, and so they can easier see all around and where the attacker is coming from. We have several of these old castles in Lumbarda, and surely over the passage of time, some of these were torn down, and some were remodelled and converted to strictly residential use.

The Castle at family Milina Blaska in Gornje KuceThe best examples of this type of building are the two castles belonging now to family Nobilo at Vela Glavica, at both sides of “Strada” narrow street that leads down to Tatinja. Another beautiful example of this type of castle is one on the South shore of the bay of Tatinja and is presently owned by Family Jurjevic “Sukalo” . Near the summit of Mala Glavica, looking down on Lumbarda’s field is the castle of family Krsinic “Cankin”. This one was remodelled in recent times and modernized for residential use, but much of the original feel was preserved, and we can use it today as a good example of this type of building. This one, with its look and location, creates an imposing scene as viewed from the filed of Lumbarda Beside these on Tatinja, whereas it seems was the most favourable place for vacations and relaxation, even way back in times past, we also find a lonely castle in Kosovo, which finds itself in connection with later added buildings at the side of this castle. This one is located in the courtyard of Milina “Blaska” at Gornje Kuce. It is interesting that besides those already mentioned, we don’t find any others in other parts of Lumbarda, like in Vela Postrana, Mala Postrana, Zabnjak and Javic.

Now, on the question of who built these castles, I think that the answer is simple. These castles were not built by Lumbarda’s field workers, these were structures belonging to Korcula’s aristocrats and landowners. They used these buildings, again, as places of relaxation where they could come and, mostly during summer periods, leave the city and enjoy nature. These landowners also had to supervise their property and check on the work done by field workers on their lands. Later on, when there was less danger from attacks, these castles started to look more like residences with larger windows and more spread-out than that original fortress-like castles. This kind of building we find mostly around the bay of Tatinja. These buildings are normally rich with fine architectural detailing in stone, and by today’s looks, we can tell that these were constructed under the supervision of professional builders. I think that this type of arrangement continued up to the time when the final agrarian reform was enacted into law, at the middle of the nineteenth century, and when finally, these field workers became owners of the land they were working on.

By looking back on the first true settlers of Lumbarda, we then conclude that these people worked the fields and worked for those landowners who lived in the city of Korcula or in those castles or villas about which we talked about earlier. According to the Korcula’s Statutes, which were written at the beginning of Twelvehundreds, it was forbidden for these field workers to construct the permanent homes, they were only allowed to construct temporary huts. These stone huts could not be built with mortar, I believe so these could be easily removed in the case the landowner decides to remove them. This lasted from the Sixteenth century until they became owners of their lands, at the middle of the nineteenth century.

Those of us who know Lumbarda well, and who know families that go way back in the history of Lumbarda, you can look around, and by paying attention to the homes of these families, you can recognize those that date back to earlier times and those that are of more recent origins. I will here mention several of the family homes which somehow tell us how far back these families reach in Lumbarda’s past. It is a fact that many of the old homes were remodelled to where it is hard to recognize them as old houses. Someone may not agree with me, or maybe I will leave out some that should be mentioned, but I will do this according to my best recollection and knowledge.

The home of Family Nobilo at Vela Glavica I believe is very old, and it is possible that this home does not belong to this group of family homes but to the group of Summer-homes belonging to Korcula’s aristocrats. I think that the home belonging to Glasner Family above Tatinja also dates back several centuries, and this one possibly belonged to the group of those summer villas. This home was built in a somewhat richer style, with some architectural details, which was not the custom to employ on average village homes. The home on Mala Glavica which I call “Lisandrova kuca” is also an interesting building, and it probably also was one of these summer homes. On Mala Glavica, the home of Markovina Ciko family, which by its looks does not appear to be totally original, with parts added in later times, but the basic old building I believe goes back with the earliest in Lumbarda. The home of family Lozica “Barbaresko” which has a beautiful view of the bay of Lumbarda from Mala Glavica, is also an interesting old building. This one, I believe, as a family home dates with the earliest ones. Through Postrana, I can not see any that would appear, according to the architectural style and the coloring of stone, to date back much more than one hundred years. This fact I find surprising, because of the openness and the location of Vela Postrana, as well as the location of old church of Sveti Bartul there, which surely was built there before any human settlement in this hamlet.

As we continue toward the Mala Postrana we will find the old house of Cebalo family. This one, which I believe is very old, is very hard to notice as an old house because it is connected to the later additions, which today make a building unit with this old structure. In the section of Zabnjak, I believe that the home of family Krsinic “Tindir” is one of the oldest, although maybe not the whole house but the original portion of it. Aside from this one, the house of Jurjevic “Janko” is also very old. If we continue through the section of Seric, we can not find any that could be older than one hundred years. This tells us that this settlement is of more recent origin, or the people here were not allowed to build their permanent homes until the later period and they continued to live in those temporary huts longer.

Old Batistic house in Kosovo, Lumbarda

In Kosovo, we also don’t find many objects which we could classify in the earliest residential buildings, except for the old house belonging to the Batistic family, one that is located along the side of the road leading down to the seashore. This old house is also very interesting and it is not difficult to recognize it as a typical village home from the early period. When we look at the front façade, although interesting, with cornices above the doors and windows, as well as the consoles projecting for fig-drying shelves, we can tell that this house was not built for aristocrats and it gives a feel of an excellent example of an old Lumbarda-dalmatian house, of the type which was constructed and which was popular in the seventeenth century, more than three hundred years ago.

As a rule, all of the more recently built homes do not have any important decorative details, which was not the case on the buildings of earlier periods. A typical home that was built in the last one hundred years usually has a plain rectangular plan. Usually, with a ground floor and one more floor above this one. The main entrance was usually located in the middle of the ground floor wall, with a window on each side of this entrance. The upper floor usually has three windows which are symmetrical with the openings on the lower floor. In most of these homes, the interior floor plan was the same. As a rule, the ground floor would have the main entry corridor. On one side of this corridor, we will find the cellar “konoba” and on the other side the main Living Room, which was used very rarely because the kitchen “komin” was usually located in a different building across the courtyard. These homes had the stairway either on the interior, located in the central corridor, or would have the stone staircase located on the exterior, leading down to the courtyard. The upper floor was usually open as one large room, with the beds and other furniture located in different sections of this floor. Some of the more advanced families had this floor partitioned into separate bedrooms. The typical plan of this partitioning consisted of two bedrooms on each side of the central corridor. Sanitary restrooms were normally located away from the house, usually in the back yard. The building that housed the kitchen, which is in Lumbarda called “komin”, usually was separated from the house. The reason for this, I believe was, that the smoke from the open fire would not spread throughout the house. The area of the kitchen was much smaller so that it would be easier to keep this small room warm from the fire of the fireplace in the winter months. We know that in long winters evenings, around these fired up fireplaces was a popular meeting place, not only for the members of the family but also for many neighbors. We ask, why is it that these fireplaces were not built so that the smoke from the fire does not completely go out the chimney. The reason was that this smoke also played an important function, where it was used for smoking and curing of fish, hams, bacon and other items. Above the open fireplace, we would usually find hanging a steel chain “Komostre” which would serve for suspension of cooking pots. A simple chimney “fumar” would lead from above this fire floor through the roof above. On the fire floor, we usually find the three-legged grate, “trepide”, for the resting of pans and pots. The dining table was also located in this kitchen, where the daily meals would be eaten.

It was more practical to eat here, because of the more comfortable temperature, and in the close proximity to the rest of the family. The typical construction of this new home was somewhat similar to those of earlier times. For outside walls, exclusively natural local stone was used. On the front Façade the evenly shaped stones were used, this stone was called “koras” and sometimes rusticated “bunja” . These were laid in even horizontal layers of approx. 30 cm. each. Inside the face of this wall was built with a rough stone called “grezarija”, as well as the sidewalls and rear walls on the inside and out. In between the two faces of the wall, small stone chips would be used as a fill-in. The foundations for these buildings were insignificant, if they existed at all, the reason being that they were not important, as most of these walls were started from and were resting on the original permanent rock base. The windows were framed-in with a stone surround called “pragovi & parestade”.

A square stone gutter with stone dentils, in the later period, took place of the traditional cornice-gutter. Also, in these new buildings the profiled cornice above the doors and windows was left out and very seldom we find the stone bands marking the floors “markapjane” as in those older houses. The walls reached up to the start of wooden roof structure. The roofs were normally of two slope design, covered with the interlocking half round clay tiles, or, in much older times, stone, slate like slabs were used for roof cover. The roof structure would start with wooden sill-plate that was resting horizontally on top of the masonry wall. On top of this sill would rest rafters. These were wooden rafters of approx. dimensions 15cm x 15cm. These would be located on both slopes of the roof, and perpendicular to the wall sill, the top of these would be tied with the wooden ridge. Across these rafters wood strips would be nailed down and then another line of wooden strips that would run parallel with the rafters and would be spaced so that the half round, tapered clay tiles would fit and rest directly on these.

The floor construction consisted of floor beams similar to joists of approx. 20cm x 20cm dimensions, roughly hewn and spaced some 80 cm apart. These would rest in the pockets on the opposite walls . Under the center of the span of these joists we find a perpendicular larger wooden beam, called “premezal”, the purpose of this beam was to stiffen the floor and also it served to receive various hooks for hanging of objects like dried meats, hams, dried onions and garlic, as well as for many other things. I believe that this was a very important function of this beam, maybe even more so than the actual structural function.The Interior partitions, if these existed, were constructed early on from wood construction or the use of bamboo grids with cement plaster, and in later times , the light hollow bricks were used.

In addition to these old village homes, there were several old villas that were built within the last two hundred years. One of the most interesting of this type was the villa we called “Serantenerova” I don’t know why it was called that, but I know that regular village field workers did not live there. As a child, I remember that house, which was sitting on the exact spot where today’s town cultural center is. This old house was very interesting in that it did not look like the other homes of Lumbarda. The house itself, as I remember, was not very large. It had a roof on four slopes, with dormers on the front and rear sides. But what was most interesting is that it was surrounded with all kinds of exotic plants, trees and flowers. It had a fenced yard wall all around the property and a great entrance-gate right on the sand beach, approximately where today’s terrace is in front of the community cultural building.

Another villa was the one which we called “Sera Kate’s.” This one had a beautiful gate , “portun”, right on the edge of the road facing the sea on Bilina.

Of the communal buildings, the largest object ever constructed in Lumbarda is the “Communal Cultural Center.” This one was built right after the end of the Second World War. Construction was finished about 1949, and ever since, it has been used as a community-building for various functions like dances, theatre, movie house, and the offices of the village government. I believe that this was one of the greatest undertakings of people of Lumbarda in its long history. The building was designed by the native architect Frane Krsinic Cankin (junior), but the construction was led by Mr Nikola Batistic Iveja, from the start to the final completion. I can remember the difficulties with the construction of foundations for this building because the footings for the foundation had to be rested on top of sandy soil, which was unusual for local builders, who were accustomed to rest their foundations on a solid rock formation.

Now if we return to the other churches, excepting those that we have already discussed, we will see that these were built in the last and most recent historical period. This means after the end of the eighteenth century and up to the present. The original portion of the parish church of Saint Roko is an exception. This first part was built at the time of the founding of the parish and it was dedicated to Saint Roko in the year of 1561. We can not say much about the architectural value of the original part of this church. According to what we can today recognize from this original part, we can conclude that this one was built as a modest village church, without many decorative elements or details, or rich ornaments, which were customary to build in these main parish churches of that time. In the year of 1856, Nikola Ostoic mentions this church and he describes it as a church in shape of Latin cross, which was very poorly designed. Anyway, it served well its purpose as a parish church. A number of additions and alterations were done during the past several centuries, but the major expansion that gave it today’s appearance was completed in 1909, according to the design prepared by the well-known church architect Ciril Ivekovic.

Here we see a typical three-aisled church, which was popular at that time, with columns and pointed arches which support the clearstory roof. This reminds us of the older Gothic arches. The front façade is nicely proportioned, with the renaissance portal-entrance and with a stone statue of Saint Roko right above the “lunetta”of the main doors. Also, above the lunetta in proper proportion, we find a circular modest “rozetta” window. The gable is ended with a modest, three bells, tower, in the renaissance style. In front of the church is a large square, paved with the typical dalmatian stone pavement, and this square is surrounded with a nice stone wall and built-in stone seats. This makes the square a nice and inviting place for the gathering of people, especially on holidays. I must say something about the main altar, which I think was not the part of the original church, but I believe was installed during the addition to this church, in the late nineteenth century. This altar was beautifully carved from stone from Vrnik, also in the renaissance style, with some baroque added in, and it gives a nice feeling, even though it is situated in a very narrow and constricted space. In addition to normal upkeeping, I believe that not much was done here in the last ninety years, the exception is baptismal, which was the work of a then young stonecutter Frano Krsinic Cankin. In the late years of his life, he also completed a beautifully carved stone balustrade that is located on the side of the staircase leading up to the organ loft.

Not long ago a new stone belltower was constructed. This belltower was started in 1967 and partially completed, and then left unfinished. With the blessing, in celebration with the bishop of Dubrovnik, it was dedicated in 1996 after its final completion. Of this work, I will not say much, because here we are talking about my own project-design. I would like to say that I was honored to be employed in this job. I am also very happy with how it is accomplished in harmony with the existing building. The actual work on this was done by the local master masons Nikica Batistic and Ante Markovina Zec. Funds were mainly contributed by Lumbarda’s people living all around the world.

The church of Saint Peter at the side of the street leading down to Tatinja is also an interesting small building. This one, I believe, was built in connection with the adjoining castle, where I think both of these belonged to the original owner, probably some aristocrat from Korcula who was the landowner of the surrounding lands.

In my opinion, one of the best and architecturally most interesting churches is the church of Saint Cross, (“Sveti Kriz”), located right in the middle of the Lumbarda’s field and all of the vineyards. This church is perfectly proportioned, with a front covered loggia. The belltower is simple with a single bell, but it is done in beautiful baroque style and gives this little church an added architectural value. The positioning of this church is very unique, where it stands alone in the expansive surrounding of the vineyards and gives an impression as though it is guarding the field and the vineyards.

Saint Barbara in Zabnjak as it appears today, is another church which is relative of later origins, and actually the loggia at the front was constructed only a few years ago. Some records mention this church as being there way back in thirteenth century, but I feel the original church must have been completely replaced by the existing. Same is true for the Church of Saint John “Sveti Ivan” at the cemetery. The original church was completely demolished and replaced by the existing one at the end of the nineteenth century. By the simplicity of the building itself, it indicates that it was built in fairly recent times. Anyway, with its simple lines, it gives an imposing scene right there in the middle of the cemetery. On this location, as was mentioned before, many centuries before existed old church of Saint John, as well as the old monastery, of which today, all traces have disappeared.

The church of Saint Spiridion, on top of the hill in Javic, also dates from more recent times, probably from the beginning of the twentieth century. This church was built for the use of people from Javic, who because of the distance to the main parish church on Vela Glavica wished to have their own church inside of their hamlet. This one is dedicated to Saint Spiridion, who is said to be a protector of olive groves. Being located on top of that hill, it gives imposing view from all directions.

The next Lumbarda’s building, one that dates to the beginning of this century, is a beautiful complex and one that Lumbarda has to be proud of. Here we are talking of the Grotto, dedicated to the Virgin of Lourdes “Gospa Lurdska”

The grotto itself was constructed from rough natural rocks and the work was perfectly completed in spite of the fact that Lumbarda’s masons were accustomed to work with evenly cut stones. A nice, wide, stepped-up approach to the gate of the Grotto gives this object an added feel of the monumentality of this building. Contrasting materials, like the roughly constructed grotto, against the finely finished balustrade, makes this grotto stronger and more attractive. The courtyard is paved with natural stone little boulders, where it is in harmony with the surrounding nature and makes this project more complete. Stepped up gardens, with walls of natural stone, were also perfectly planned and completed. We even can notice that, aside to the attention given to the buildings, the surrounding landscaping was not neglected because many decorative plants and flowers were planted, especially those that do not require extensive care and upkeep. The location also gives this building an additional value, where it is sitting without interference from any other buildings or distractions. I must add here that this building to me personally gives additional sentiment because my Grandfather Ivan Batistic Iveja helped build this place and was always proud of the work he has done on this building.

I believe that this text would not be complete if I didn’t mention our animal stables, the original Lumbarda’s stables “Kosare”, as they are called in Lumbarda. Many of these are still in use but slowly these are disapearing or are being replaced with more modern stables, built with unsightly concrete blocks and covered with concrete roofs. The looks of these new ones will never equal the look of those of the times past, those built with natural rocks, with no mortar, and roofed with the stone, slate like slabs. It seems as though this old tradition, centuries old, is slowly dissapearing and it is sad to say that in the near future we will lose something that was part of the centuries old culture on this island.

Along with the building activity in Lumbarda, we must mention the monument that was erected in honor of the fallen soldiers during World War Two. This monument is located on the filled inland by the sea and I believe it makes Lumbarda richer with its presence, even though in today’s ecological trends and thinking, I believe it would have some reaction to be built today in that location.

Monument to fallen soldiers of Second World WarThe monument itself was the work of our famous sculptor Frane Krsinic- Franje, and is a strong illustration of our local man expressing the feeling of agony, and reminds the viewer of the suffering of our people through the war periods. I have heard many critics of this not being made to represent a fighting soldier like is customarily done in other places, but I believe that these critics did no understand the author’s intentions. I feel that the author here wanted to express this suffering, this agony, in connection with the fallen soldiers. But this portrait will remain a lasting reminder not only of the suffering of our people through the war years but always in the past.

Before ending, I would like to mention that we have to be proud of our past and our heritage as it relates to building and architecture. This heritage dates a long way back, and it took centuries to reach these accomplishments. We must be proud of our ancestors, who were excellent masters in working with stone, both in producing it and in building with it. The fruits of their labor we can today see all around us, but mostly in the old medieval city of Korcula. The quality of their work was second to none, and it can compete with any in the world. I personally had honor, as a young builder, at the beginning of my long building career, to work with that previous generation of masters. I always respected their knowledge and abilities, and I learned very much from them. The masters, like the brothers Marin and Nade Fabris, I always saw them as the direct heirs of those medieval masters like brothers Andrijici. Our Lumbarda’s masters, like Frano Krsinic Cankin, Bare Jurjevic, Nikola Nobilo Musa and Nikola Batistic Iveja, all without any advanced schooling, learned their trade, and they so excelled in their work where they rightly deserved the titles of masters and “proti”. One of the most famous masters of this generation, and also one of the greatest personalities Lumbarda ever produced is our Frane Krsinic Franje. He started also as a young apprentice in those island stone quarries, and from there he went on to become and to be recognized as one of the world’s leading sculptors. His masterpieces are to be found all around the world. Among the most famous, are the monument to great scientist Nikola Tesla located on the American side of Niagara Falls in the state of New York.

Let us hope that the old pride and interest will return in working in stone quarries and working with stone because in recent times it has become a very rare profession, an maybe in danger of completely disappearing.

Author: Architect Nikola S. Batistich

see also: German Tribes invaded the Roman Empire and the Slavs occupied the Illyrian Provinces