Korcula – Named by the greeks after the black Forests (Korkyra Malaina) of holm oak that blanketed the interior,
Korcula has long been one of the most prized islands of the Adriatic.
For centuries shipbuilding was a major source of income (the trees produce long, sturdy, wooden planks). Meanwhile the stone quarried at Vrnik was used in the building of many of the best Venetian and Ragusa (Dubrovnik) palaces – and in the 6th century, when Korčula belonged to the Byzantines, it was even shipped to Constantinople (now Istanbul) to be used in the fabric of Hagia (Ayia) Sofia church.
When the Greeks founded their colonies on Korcula (3rd and 4th century B.C.), they called the island Korkyra Melaina (Black Korcula), due to its vast, dense forests.
The famous explorer Marco Polo was born here in 1254, in the capital Korčula Town, a diminutive yet exquisite example of a Venetian settlement.