Geotrail Put poja
1 “PUT POJA” – INTRODUCTORY PANEL
“Put poja” is a themed trail dedicated to getting to know the life of pojori, inhabitants of fields in the interior of the island, in the hinterland of Komiža! Get to know the cultural landscape shaped by dry walls, towers, lime kilns, stone huts (bunje), quarries, vineyards, olive groves and settlements on the plateau, which bear witness to the millennial continuity of life from prehistoric times to the present day. All of the above is directly related to the inanimate nature, i.e. the prehistoric geological formation of the island: cracked and plate-like carbonate rocks, impermeable dolomites, calcite-rich limestones, loose hillside deposits and red soil.
Enjoying nature and views, small organic settlements built on the heights, getting to know nature, flora and fauna, macchia, authentic types of plants and domestic and wild animals, learning about the agricultural calendar, plantations, cultivation of vineyards and olive groves, production of wine, olive oil and lime, getting to know the way of life of pojori, their residential and economic systems, their language, outlook on life and the world, and the heritage they continued from prehistoric, Illyrian and ancient times, as evidenced by mounds, piles, Illyrian dwellings and rustic Roman villas. Intoxicating scents of rosemary, lavender and other Mediterranean aromatic and ethereal herbs, figs, authentic local food – hib and viška pogača (flatbread of Vis), accommodation in authentic surroundings.
2 KOMIŽA – VIEW OF THE TOWN
The town of Komiža was built along the spacious Komiža Bay, which was created by the erosion of a 2 km wide salt diapir. Along the edges of the bay are the oldest rocks on the shores of the Adriatic, formed at the beginning of the dinosaur era – the Mesozoic, 220 million years ago.
Komiža is dominated by a hill with a fortified monastery of St. Nicolas surrounded by terraces with vineyards, from which cultivated agricultural areas extend to the west almost right to the sea.
The special value of Komiža is the characteristic historical picture of the coast – the houses that “spring” from the sea and the pebble beach between them.
From the Gusarica church in the north, Ribarska Street curves behind the first row of houses, passing through Mala Banda to the waterfront (Riva). Diagonal streets are perpendicular to the waterfront ending in fields.
At the end of the Riva is the Komuna fortress, behind which is a small square with the church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, from which the street winds up to the church of St. Roch at the southern end of old Komiža.
The basic feature of the historical structure of Komiža is the buildings lined up next to each other along the very edge of the street, built mainly from quaternary breccias, the youngest rocks of the Komiža Bay formed during the last 2.6 million years. At the back of the houses are gardens that run like a comb between the rows of streets.
3 CULTIVATED VARIETIES OF VIS
White Vugava white is also known under the names Bugava, Ugava, Viškuljka. It is one of the best white grape varieties in Croatia.
Vugava is not grown anywhere else in the world and is considered a Croatian autochthonous variety. It has been cultivated on Vis for centuries. It has spread to a lesser extent on neighboring islands and the coast. Due to earlier ripening and hot summers, Vugava wines contain a high percentage of alcohol.
A key part of the Vugava terroir is loose soil, consisting of rock fragments mixed with red soil.
The indigenous Croatian variety Plavac mali is the most important variety in central and southern Dalmatia. Plavac mali wines are intensely colored red wines. The dark ruby color is obtained from the tannin found in the skin membranes of the grain. It is specific by its richness in acids. It has a slightly bitter and astringent taste.
Although Plavac grows best on the sandy fields of the eastern part of the island, it can also be found on other barren soils and areas with favorable exposure, where yields are lower due to insolation, but the sugar content, color and aromatic profile of the grapes enable the production of top quality wines. Because of its strength, it is often called “wild wine”.
4 GUSTIRNA (WELL)
Gustirna is a well for rainwater that was collected from the roof or from the runoff, slope.
Before the construction of the public water supply system, the islanders supplied themselves with water from the wells they built next to their houses and in the fields. In some places in the settlements, large-scale public wells with runoff were built.
Field wells are often very old. Their runoffs were built like a roof made of stone slabs, and the water tanks are partly buried in the ground and built of stone bound with mortar with lime or santorin. The vaults of the water tank were built with stone on a volat (arch). The fenced opening of the runoff is called the crown. A metal bucket is attached to it with a rope or chain, which was used to collect water. A smaller pool (pilo) near the runoff was used to dissolve the blue vitriol that is sprayed on the vineyards.
In some places, the wells were built in living rock, because the dolomites found on the southern slopes of Hum are partly impermeable.
The first water pumping station on the island of Vis was built in 1964 in the bay of Pizdica at the contact of the diapir, which consists of impermeable salt, volcanic rocks and permeable carbonate rocks. That pumping station still supplies Komiža with drinking water today.
5 NATURA 2000
Natura 2000 is an ecological network of the European Union consisting of natural habitat types and habitats of wild species of interest to the European Union. Its goal is to preserve or restore a favorable condition for endangered and rare species and natural and semi-natural habitat types. It is based on EU directives, areas are selected using scientific criteria, and when managing these areas, the interest and well-being of the people who live there are taken into account.
Due to the preservation of targeted animal and plant species and their habitats, the entire area of the Vis archipelago with a total of 7 terrestrial and 9 underwater areas is included in the ecological network Natura 2000.
When it comes to protected terrestrial species, the most important offshore bird species are the Eleonora's falcon, the Scopoli's shearwater and the yelkouan shearwater. The most important mammals are bats, the most important reptiles are the endemic form of the Dalmatian wall lizard that lives on the offshore islets, and the non-venomous, longest European snake – the four-lined snake.
Among the protected marine species, the common bottlenose dolphin, a colorful coralligenous biocenosis with economically important red coral and very rare black coral, and the most widespread endemic marine flowering plant of the Mediterranean – posidonia – stand out.
So far, 38 submerged and semi-submerged sea caves have been recorded, one of the target habitats of the ecological network Natura 2000.
6 “POL GOSPOJICU” CHAPEL – CONSTRUCTION OF CHAPELS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE FOR MAN
The “Pol Gospojicu” chapel was built back in the 17th century in a dry stone fence line along the old road north of the road that leads from Podhumlje to Komiža. There is a picture of Our Lady in it.
The chapel was built from blocks of local stone, which were already defined by nature wearing out layers of carbonate rocks along the cracks. Naturally thin layers of sheet limestone were often used to cover the roofs.
Chapels are smaller sacral memorial monuments and sanctuaries in a rural setting. They are usually located along roads or at intersections where they serve as orientation points, a kind of signposts. They contain an altar, a saint's sculpture, a painting or a crucifix, but no sanctuary.
Chapels are used to consecrate places, they are erected to make vows for the future, to express gratitude for the past or, simply, to show devotion to the Holy Trinity, saints and the Mother of God.
These are traces of religious belief and a kind of spiritual ecology of enriching an area, influencing our thinking and feeling, and putting our life paths and space under higher protection.
Rosemary (lat. Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is an evergreen Mediterranean bushy plant with an aromatic smell from the family of Lamiaceae.
It is characterized by dark green needle-like leaves with a spicy bitter taste and small purple-white flowers. They bloom from March to May and in September and October.
Because it likes sunny and rocky areas with a dry climate and barren soils rich in calcium, it grows wild on the coast and on islands. It has been traditionally collected and produced on the island of Vis since the end of the 19th century.
It contains essential oils and is used as a spice, natural medicine and in the production of honey and cosmetics.
Lavander (lat. Lavandula) is an evergreen fragrant subshrub from the Lamiaceae family with characteristic purple flowers.
On the island of Vis, true lavender and lavandin – an autochthonous hybrid known as local Hvar lavender or budrovka – are grown. Budrovka is more resistant, has a more intense smell and produces three times more essential oil than real lavender.
The cultivation of lavender on Vis began after the First World War, during the wine crisis, when it was possible to survive for several months from the sale of one liter of lavender oil.
Lavender is used in folk medicine, honey production and cooking, and essential oil in cosmetic production.
8 RURAL COMPLEX MARDEŠIĆ
The Mardešić farm complex was built between the villages of Podhumlje and Podšpilje. Similar to most complexes in the interior of the island of Vis, this complex was also developed along the road. The oldest, eastern part, created in the 18th century, includes residential and commercial buildings. Together with the western part, it is surrounded by a high wall with a classicist portal. The building material is mainly natural stone – limestone.
In the first half of the 19th century, it was owned by the Marinković family. In the ruins of the oldest house of the complex, it is possible to recognize the original spatial organization of the 18th century residential and commercial house with a kitchen in the attic.
CHAPEL OF ST. NICHOLAS
The chapel of St. Nicholas in Podhumlje was built in 1926 by Nikola Mardešić on his property with the intention of building a small tomb for himself and his wife Marija. Nikola was the see captain and an Austrian knight who made the Podšpilje parish independent from the Komiža parish.
The chapel was built more simply than the original plan. In the chapel there are statues of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Nicholas and St. Anthony of Padua, and on the feast days of these saints, a mass was celebrated in the chapel for the late Mardešić spouses. The sanctuary made of white stone – rudist limestone – was built in 1962.
9 KRUŠOVICA HILL
Krušovica Hill, 279 m high, separates the hamlets of Mulićovo in Podhumlje and Duboka in the east.
Creating fertile soil, the pojori have been building stone mounds (heaps) from excavated stones since prehistoric times, which served as graves or lookouts and small field houses – bunje, thus forming fertile terraces for growing vines, olives and figs.
Until the middle of the 19th century, pojori were mostly engaged in animal husbandry, especially goat breeding, i.e. the production and export of goat cheese.
The puddle on the Krušovica Hill was created by the accumulation of rainwater in an impermeable depression created by the exploitation of muddy soil in prehistoric times. It served as a watering place for cattle at a time when cattle breeding was an important economic branch on Vis.
It is circular in shape with a diameter of 15 meters and a depth of about 2.5 meters. From the direction of Duboka, Podhumlje and Podšpilje, roads lead to three stone staircases in the puddle built in the second half of the 19th century, when the puddle was paved and walled with stones. When animal husbandry lost its importance, it became a place for washing clothes and socializing of pojori.
After the construction of the water supply in 1964, the puddle was neglected and macchia grew around it.
10 THE ZANCHI COMPLEX, THE ZONKOT TOWER
The exact time of construction of the forts (towers) of the rural-economic complexes on the fields of Vis is unknown. It is assumed that they were built during the Venetian-Turkish conflicts in the middle and end of the 17th century.
The ruined Zonkot Tower is located on the southern slope of Zonkot Hill. It is assumed that it was built by Ivan Žuanić from the family nicknamed “the Zonkots”. He distinguished himself in the Venetian navy and, according to tradition, received permission to build a tower on his property, but it is possible that it was built by Antun Zanchi, the castellan of the Komiža fortress, or Matija Ivičević, known as Zanchi.
The Zonkot Tower is part of the Zanchi residential-economic complex, where the tower, in addition to defense, was also used for housing. Along its side facade is a series of residential and commercial single-story houses and one-story houses with a well in the yard.
The spacious, quadrangular one-story tower with narrow loopholes and cannon openings on all floor facades was the most powerful fortification building of the Hvar and Vis rural construction, but already in 1834 it was described as a ruin. The tower was accessed by a ladder via the first floor. The vaults are made of stone, and stone stoves for heating and cooking have been preserved on the floors.
The irregular shape of the stone blocks from which the tower was built point to the local limestone.
11 SCHOOL IN PODŠPILJE
The first school in “Poje” was opened on 4 November 1901 in the Pri Galiju hamlet, in a private building, as a one-grade mixed school with 105 students.
In the school year 1914/1915, it turned into a four-year school teaching girls and boys separately. In the late twenties and early thirties, three schools operated in “Poje“, in Žena Glava, Pri Galiju and Podhumlje.
The school building in Podšpilje was built in 1938. In 1955, the school became an eight-year school, but in 1969 it was closed due to the small number of students.
It was reopened from 1996 to 1999 for a short time as a district school of the “Komiža” Elementary School.
The Podšpilje winegrowing cooperative was founded in 1922, headed by Ante Borčić Koson from Talež. The construction of the ground floor of the cooperative house with a wine tavern, entertainment hall and shops was completed in 1926.
The plans from 1927 provided for the construction of a neoclassical palace, but the world economic crisis in the 1930s and the Second World War stopped the construction of such a building.
In 1950, two floors, a large social hall and offices were added, and in 1960, the upper basement.
On the last Saturday in October, the Cooperative House hosts Sabatina, a traditional celebration of the end of the grape harvest, organized by the Lavurat za poja association.
12 PARISH CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
The Church of the Nativity of Mary is a symbol of the unity of the pojori and a witness to the history, culture and tradition of Poje.
Work on the construction of the church began on 25 April 1893, led by craftsmen Ivan (Zane) Marinković – “Meštrazane” and his son Vicko, known for building the lighthouse on Palagruža. Mainly local stone was used for the construction, and the belfry made of stone from the island of Korčula was built in 1899.
Regular Sunday and holiday masses in Podšpilje began in 1917.
The current shape of the church dates back to 1931, when the existing presbytery was converted into a nave, the sacristy into a presbytery, and a chorus (“balatura”) was added. The main altar originates from the monastery church of St. Jerome in Vis. In the side niches there are statues of St. Joseph and the Heart of Christ from 1931. The concrete belfry with new electronic bells was built in 1969.
The parishioners build the famous stone nativity scene under the cave around the stone altar from 1990 after the feast of St. Nicholas.
The feast of the Nativity of Mary on 8 September is traditionally celebrated in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Podšpilje, where a folk festival organized by the Lavurat za poja association is also held.
13. ŽENA GLAVA
Žena Glava is a village with an unusual name (eng. Woman Head) in the center of the island of Vis, above Podšpilje and Dračevo polje.
The most likely origin of the name is “Žedna Glava” (eng. Thirsty Head), i.e. a thirsty, waterless hill, while other theories speculate that once in the past the head of the place was a woman.
The oldest are the upper parts of the village, the so-called Molo Bonda and Velo Bonda, between which there is a central village meeting place called Blakaus, where the village bonfire was lit on the feast of St. Nicholas.
Most of the houses in Žena Glava in their present form were built in the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy when viticulture flourished in the village.
Borovik is a village that was founded about two hundred years ago, located approximately 300 meters above sea level between the heights of Glavica, Kampanel and Toninovo Bardo at the foot of Hum, the highest peak on the island of Vis (587 m).
Above Borovik, under the Orlovica rock, there is a complex of semi-caves better known as Tito's cave, named after Josip Broz Tito, who stayed there in 1944 as the supreme commander of the Yugoslav partisans.
In the village there is Mladine's Tower, a fortress from the 17th century, and Trušin dvor, the ruin of Komiža landowner Alviž Borković, named after the Mardešić Trušina family, which later inherited it.
14 BOROVIK TERRACES
Since ancient times, the people of Vis have turned infertile soil into fertile terraces by extracting stones from the ground, which they used to build dry wall networks on the hills of the island of Vis. In the past, vineyards reached the very tops of the hills, but today they are mostly covered by pines and macchia.
The “golden age” of Vis viticulture was the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, when as much as a quarter of the island was planted with vineyards.
The “Wine Clause”, a trade provision that allowed the import of Italian wines to the Austro-Hungarian market from 1891 to 1905, and then the appearance of phylloxera, a vine disease that ravaged Dalmatian vineyards before the First World War, halted the development of Vis viticulture.
Today, on the rare cultivated terraces of Borovik, mostly olives are grown.
The olive is an evergreen tree with bitter green to black fruit rich in oil.
The olive tree blooms from April to June, and the fruit is harvested in October and November. It is resistant to drought, but likes sandy soils that retain moisture, so it thrives well in karst. An olive tree can live more than 1000 years.
On the island of Vis, autochthonous olive varieties Oblica, Levantinka, Lastovka and Drobnica are grown.
Duboka is a settlement formed by a series of connected houses along only one street. The series was created by the addition of new housing units due to the separation of younger family members.
At the bottom of Duboka is a bay of the same name built of white rudist limestone, extremely rich in calcite, which was formed about 90 million years ago in the Upper Cretaceous period, and was used as a raw material for the production of high-purity lime.
VAPNENICA OR JAPNENICA (LIME KILN)
Unlit lime kiln (vapnenica or japnenica) has been preserved in Duboka bay – a stone structure similar to a bunker that was used to obtain lime in the traditional way, by burning limestone. It was built so as to collapse after fulfilling its function. The lime kiln in Duboka was built by a peasant labor cooperative in the mid-20th century, and it remained intact thanks to the fact that it was never lit on fire.
It consists of a round pit, a cauldron, around which a circular foundation is built in two concentric circles. Through a small opening above the cauldron, branches were inserted into the firebox, over which there is a domed vault, and above the vault a leveling in the form of a truncated cone. After lighting the fire, the lime kiln burned continuously for three days and nights. After three days of cooling, lime could be collected from the top.