Komiza

 

Located a the western end of Otok VIs, the town of Komiza is situated on the shores of a giant bowl or natural amphitheater (Zaljev Komiza) that is surrounded on three sides by towering mountains (including Hum the island’s highest point at 587 metres) and by the sea on the forth side. Though Komiza is thought to have its origins as a Greek colony, the first historical mention of the town dates to the 12th Century and today most of its core is later medieval, post medieval and Venetian in origins.


It is famous for its fishing fleet and is often held as the capital of Dalmatian fishing. The tradition of sail powered wooden fishing boats - Falkusa - goes back over three hundred years. These traditionally built boats, with a lateen rig, were designed for deep sea fishing and up until 1936 were raced in an annual regatta to the island of Pelagruzia. Attempts to re-start this tradition in the late 1990s seem apparently to have come to nothing.


Yet Komiza still sports a healthy fishing fleet of small and medium sized vessels that dominate much of its busy harbour, and its fishing heritage is celebrated in a museum (including a reconstructed Falkusa) within the 16th century fortified tower located at the shore end of the breakwater. A fisherman’s festival is also held on the first Saturday in August this involves a ‘feast’ and at night fireworks.




Part of the tradition of many of these remoter Adriatic islands is the struggle against piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Komiza is no exception with traditions attached to several of its churches. The Gospa Gusarica (Our Lady of the Pirates) located at the northern end of the town near the Bisevo Hotel. From here a painting of the Virgin Mary is supposed to have been stolen by raiding pirates, but subsequently floated back to the town after the pirate’s ship was wrecked. At the opposite end of the town, about 1000 metres from the harbour is the church of the Benedictine Monastery of Sv. Nicolas. This settlement was fortified in the 17th Century as a refuge against pirates. Today three ‘trace-Itallien’ bastions survive on the town side of the site, and a number of heavily modified monastic buildings can be seen, built against the southern side of the church.




While the walk out to Sv Nicolas is a nice one, and if nothing else provides excellent views of the bay, the town and also Bisevo to the west, this route is just the start of longer paths that head away from the shore, perhaps most notably to the summit of Hum, over 500 metres above, where wild herbs (Rosemary, Thyme and Sage) grow to head height and the view is fantastic. Komiza is about 25 minutes from Vis Town by road (there is a bus service) and is also a good base from which to visit the Blue Cave on Bisevo - if you would rather take an organised excursion rather than pay the mooring fees to anchor up and use your own tender to visit these famous sea caves.


There is one large hotel in the town, the Bisevo, and numerous rooms and apartments as well.


Visiting yachts have several options in Komiza, many moor stern-to against the harbour breakwater where the helpful, but incredibly laidback, harbour staff seem intent on jamming in as many boats as possible. Once this space is full, late arrivals (generally after about 1600 hrs in the summer months) can anchor in the north of bay, with the option of taking a line to one of the harbour’s dolphins (stone bollards) if appropriate.




 




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