Velo Grablje

09 Jun 2024
Another village that has suffered from serious depopulation during the 20th century but retains a handful of inhabitants an a growing number of summer residents is Velo Grablje, a sizeable village that spreads itself, amphitheatre-like, across a curving hillside high above Hvar to the northeast. Its accessible from the old Hvar-Stari Grad road (not the new one that burrows through the centre of the island in a tunnel). Near the turn-off is a strange funnel-shaped dry-stone construction known as the Vapnenica (Japjenica in local dialect), a former limestone kiln that stands as evocative witness to a time when inland Hvar was a much more productive, industrious place than it is nowadays.
Velo Grablje itself is a fascinating place for a wander, an erstwhile urban centre complete with main square, church and former school-house that nowadays looks like the set for a wistful movie about the Mediterranean past. There are stunning views down the valley towards the island's south coast, with the Pakleni islands in the distance. Velo Grablje was an important centre of the herb-oil industry, something that enthusiasts have worked hard to revive in recent years. Lavender is still grown on the surrounding slopes, and a lavender festival - with a crowd of stalls set out on the main square - is held here every July.


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