On Saturday we took a daytrip to Marko Polo’s birth town, Korcula. We went through Korcula on a ferry in 1997 and have wanted to explore it ever since. Korcula is a very small walled city of gothic construction with renaissance flourishes, built on a rocky spit of land at the end of an island. The spit is less than 1000 feet across. The town is laid out to take advantage of the prevailing winds. The summer “maistral” winds come from the west and the streets climbing from the west wall to the centerline are strait to allow the wind to blow in. The winter winds come from the east and the streets on the eastside of the centerline are hooked to divert the winter winds from the town center. The town has two microclimates. On the west side of the spit you see palm trees, on the east, pine.
Outside the walls a baroque suburb grew up a couple of hundred years ago. The whole place only has about 6,000 people. Korcula’s economy was based on ship building and stone quarrying and carving. Interestingly Marko Polo’s hometown does not have much of a seafaring tradition. The residents stayed home and made stuff, like much of Dubrovnik. Its stone was quarried from and crafted by Korcula before being shipped a few miles south in boats, made in Korcula, but sailed by others.