Šćedro Island

Yachtsmen love the little islet of Šćedro, as it is only accessible by boat. In summer many boats moor in the secure bays on the north side of the island, so that the owners can enjoy the peace and silence, the clean sea, and the fresh fish on offer in the restaurants.

Šćedro is situated in the Korčula Channel close to the south coast of Hvar Island. It is about 2.7 km from the village of Zavala, measuring 6.5 km in length, width 1.5 km, with a total land mass of 8.36 km. It is 113 m above sea level at its highest point. About 3 km west of Šćedro are the three tiny Lukavci islets, which are sometimes above, sometimes under water.

The beauty of Šćedro lies in its indented coastline and abundant plant cover with the typical Mediterranean combinations of woodland and undergrowth. There are two villages on the islet, Mostir and Nastane, which were once inhabited, but are now only sparsely occupied, mainly in the summer. On land and in the surrounding sea are several historical archaeological sites.

In north Slavonic languages Šćedro means ‘merciful’, and ‘compassionate’, and is so named because today, as in former times, sailors find refuge from storms in the two harbours, Veli porat (Lovišće) and Mostir, on the north side of the islet. In the Mostir Bay there is a fresh water source called Studenac.

The Latin name for Šćedro was Tauris, which gave rise to the Italian names Tauricola or Torcola. In historical documents the islet is called Torkola. In about 47 BCE a decisive sea battle for the Roman Empire was fought just off Šćedro, and remnants of the sunken boats are visible in the Mrtinovnik Bay. Following this battle, there were no more wars fought in the Adriatic for several centuries.

Throughout the Middle Ages, up until steam boats became the norm, Šćedro was extremelyimportant to the mariners of Venice, Dubrovnik and others. There was a stoneworks on Šćedro called ‘Stare stine’ (‘Old Stones’), which supplied the materials for the Baroque chapels in Hvar Cathedral.

According to the 1331 Hvar Statute, Ščedro was a property for the common good, providing pastureland for Hvar Island. Because of the water produced by night-time dew, cereals could be cultivated, and up to some 60 tons of corn were produced. there were also vineyards and olive groves, remnants of which can be seen on the overgrown stone mounds among the undergrowth.

Apart from the looted shells of the wrecks in the sea, on land in the Mostir Bay there are remnants of a Roman villa, and the alomst ruined Dominican Monastery with its church to our Lady of Mercy, which was built at the end of the 15th century and abandoned in the 18th century.

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