Monday, August 12, 2013

Letter From Croatia I: Brac

“Croatian Cloud,” watercolor by Hallie Cohen
There is a rumor that stone from Brac was used in the making of the White House pillars. In any case the largest island in Croatia (there are over a thousand of them) noted for its beaches and its rocky beauty, still houses Croatia’s only stonemasonry school, where students can learn an age old trade for free. The quarries of Pucisca, Postira and Selca still produce stone that is sought after for its facility in producing a clean polished surface. Brac is reached by boat from Split (where Diocletian’s Palace still stands as a monument to Bracian stone) and its geography gave it a certain immunity from the turbulence that swept the country during the The Croatian War of Independence which was fought from l991-5. Flying from Rome to Split, you enter a new time zone. In Rome stone is a tourist attraction. On Brac, it’s an industry. Yet the sleepy villages, whose hotels with their spare socialist realist style décor still cater to Russian tourists (along with throngs of Italians, English and Americans) as they did when Marshall Tito’s Yugoslavia was allied, albeit ambivalently, with the Soviet bloc, are firmly a part of Marshall McCluhan’s Global Village. Unlike their cousins in Bosnia, the Croats (who historically braved the Ottomans from the northeast and the Habsburgs from the northwest) have emerged as intact from the strife of the past as the tidy red stone roofs visible from an airplane (in July they joined the EU). Even the Croatian clouds seem to prosper outlandishly, being so fluffy as to look like gigantic self-satisfied wads of cotton, or even snow that’s developed an immunity to heat.


  1. Great articles, but one mistake, islands Cres and Krk are both bigger than Brac :)

  2. Hi Vedran, it is the third largest in the Adriatic and the largest in Dalmatia. All best Francis


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