On Korčula


Marco Polo Museum

Korčula: name of a city, name of an island. When Marco Polo was born in the city, in 1254, Korčula was part of the Venetian Republic. Today, the island is in Croatia, a couple of decades ago, it was in Yugoslavia, and so we could go on. It’s part of the Balkans and, therefore, Dalmatia is sometimes referred to. The territory was once called Illyria. William Shakespeare liked the country so much he put it into plays? Twelfth Night tells of strange happenings when a woman gets shipwrecked on an island and although Viola says ‘Westward Ho!’ that is in a place called Devon, in England. Shakespeare also referred to Illyria in Henry VI Part Two. This is to digress.

Korčula, the island is not too long and not too wide. Today, ferries come from other parts of Illyria or Dalmatia or Croatia or whatever name you want to use. The Jadrolinija ferry company, created in the days of a man called Tito, brings visitors to and from Korčula. These visitors pour into the walled city from the port or arrive by bus from Vela Luka at the other end of the island. What do they do in the city? Well, many are seduced by the Marco Polo Exhibition. Can you believe it? Sixty kuna purchases an audio tour of a few scenes of what this chap Polo got up to. Allegedly. The photograph illustrates the exterior of the ‘museum’ – what artefacts? Retail therapy is catered for with a broad range of pertinent merchandise. Merchandise was what the Polo family were involved with, of course.

Any visit to Korčula Town should also include the small cathedral and a climb to the top of the adjacent bell-tower. Then, there is the contested ‘Marco Polo House’, contested because much of it was constructed long after he lived, according to The Rough Guide To Croatia. In a lengthy research article, Olga Orlić points out that Marco Polo and the island are a good example of invented tradition. That should not put the potential visitor off a trip…

1 comment for “On Korčula

  1. Graham Busby
    5th October 2015 at 09:17

    C – photograph displays quite well… have just seen some work Jen has done for teaching HTM215 later this term… that is ALL about TDI… TTFN G

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