Some 2400 years ago, the Ancient Greeks sailed into the harbour of modern-day Stari Grad from the island of Paros. After founding the oldest town in Croatia and naming it Faros, the Greeks turned their attention to a neighbouring fertile field of some 80 hectares, dividing it into equal plots of land measuring 1 x 5 stadions, or 180m x 900m (approximately 16,000m2). The land was fertile and produced much food for the settlers, who brought vines and olive trees with them from Paros. After the Greeks came the Romans, who built impressive Villae Rusticae on the plain, and farming practices continued. Today, the Stari Grad Plain is the most fertile and largest cultivated field on all the Mediterranean islands, where farming practices having continued without interruption since 384 BC, and where farming practices have remained relatively unchanged.
The Stari Grad Plain, also known as Hora or Ager, is such an impressively preserved testament to the Ancient Greek period that it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008. In the heart of Hora stands one of the few buildings in the plain, Agroturizam Pharos, where the
Zuvela family are continuing the traditions of the Ancient Greeks today. With some 32,000m2, the working farm is an oasis of heritage and organic produce, a world away from the beach and busy coastal towns. With animals for the children, a range of organic food and wines produced by the family, and catering for groups for the most traditional of Dalmatian meals, Agroturizam Pharos is waiting for your visit to show you a different side of Hvar, taking you back to the time of the Ancient Greeks.
About Stari Grad As the name suggests (Stari Grad translates as ‘Old Town’), the town of Stari Grad is blessed with heritage and tradition and has had a colourful history since the Greeks sailed into its harbour in 384 BC and founded a settlement called Faros. Once the capital of the island until the arrival of the Venetians, Stari Grad is the oldest town in Croatia, and it has had many influences since its founding by the Greeks. One of its most popular attractions today is the impressive Tvrdalj fortress built by famous Croatian poet Petar Hektorovic.
Next to the settlement built by the Greeks was a long, flat and very fertile plain, which the Greeks decided to use to grow food. Land was divided into equal plots of 1 stadion by 5 stadions (180m x 900m) with small roads on either side. The plots of land were given to the settlers from Greece, while the roads remained under central control, and so an agricultural colony was born. After the Greeks came the Romans, who built impressive villas on the plain, called Villae Rusticae, and continued the agricultural tradition. Among things grown on the plain, which the Greeks named Hora, were olives and grapes, whose trees and vines were brought from their native Greek island of Paros. In 2004, a boat set sail from Stari Grad to the Greek island, on an expidition called From Faros to Paros. On board were some vines and olive trees behind returned back to the island where such practices on Hvar began almost 2400 years earlier.
In 2008 UNESCO recognised the richness of Hora and its remarkable resemblance to the original authenticity of the Ancient Greeks despite the ravages of more than two millenia of history by including it in the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Such an inclusion has done much to preserve the look and natural beauty of Hora, and Agroturizam Pharos is the only hospitality centre in Hora, offering a unique opportunity to experience a very different kind of Hvar.
To learn more about Hora, watch the video produced by UNESCO below.