Material cultural heritage

Material cultural heritage

The area of the Park, most notably the islands of Lastovo and Sušac, contains many cultural assets, which are a testament to the rich history of the area. The Park’s registered and preventively protected cultural assets are divided into four categories:

– Cultural and historic units

– Sacral architecture

– Secular architecture

– Archaeological sites

 Cultural and historic units

The town of Lastovo is located above a field and it has developed on the steep slope in an amphitheatrical form. The origin of today’s layout of the town dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The central part of the town are the parish church of St. Cosmas and Damian and the duke’s house. The oldest houses in Lastovo date back to the 15th century.

There are numerous individual cultural assets. The attractive and interesting chimneys (fumari) indicate that they were a status symbol showing the wealth of the house owner. The fumari are unique; there are no two identical chimneys and they emphasise the differences between households. They remind of minarets, although it is unknown if that is accidental or if they are a copy of fumari from Italian villages. Each new fumar was bigger and more unusually decorated, as if the people of Lastovo competed with their neighbours: they put animal horns on fumari, which also served as protection against evil eyes. It is believed that the oldest fumar, which is today surrounded by wild oranges, is the chimney of the Renaissance house of the Antica-Biza family.

Lučica is the last preserved example of a Baroque fisherman’s village in this part of Dalmatia. From the beginning of the 17th century the people of Lastovo built stone fisherman’s houses in this narrow bay. The houses served as protection from the storm, to keep fishing gear, salt fish and boat stretching.

Sacral architecture

Of a total of 46 churches, both preserved and those in a ruinous condition, 21 churches have been registered as a protected cultural asset. The islanders built them in honour of saints so that they would follow them in their everyday life, protect them from harm and illness. The oldest church, an early Christian basilica in Ubli, dates back to the 6th century, while the oldest preserved church is the church of St. Luke from the 11th century. The parish church of St. Cosmas and Damian in Lastovo was built in the 15th century and it was expanded in the 17th century.

The parish church of St. Cosmas and Damian

The parish church is dedicated to the twin doctors Cosmas and Damian. It was the congregational place of the Lastovo community. It was first mentioned in early 14th century. Today’s three-nave church is a result of at least two construction stages. The central nave dates back to the 15th century, while the lateral naves were built upon in the 16th/17th century, which is evidenced by the picturesque façade with three separate roofs and gables crowned with three steeples formed as a distaff. They were not built until the 18th century in the Gothic style.

In 1545, a vestry was built next to the church apse, while the Neo-Gothic bell tower was completed in 1942 with Lastovo stone. The interior of the church is filled with stone furniture, paintings and sacral objects.

The central nave is dominated by a Baroque main altar with two smaller, lateral altars, covered by two 16th century half-ciboria. The western one, dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, boasts a wooden icon with two faces, one of which shows the Virgin Mary with Her Son, and the other one a Crucifix between the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist. The eastern side altar, dedicated to the Saint Trinity, is decorated by one of the churches pieces of art, a painting entitled “Lamentation of Christ”, made by the Spanish painter Juan Boschetto in 1545. The panel on the main altar depicting St. Cosmas and Damian was painted by Giovanni Lanfranco in 1633, when the old main altar was replaced by a new, stone one. In addition, the altar is also decorated by five smaller paintings from the same period, made by Ivan Scrivelli, depicting the Maker and St. Peter, Paul, Jerome and Joseph. The most recent canvas is the one on the wall above the triumphal arch of the apse with a late Baroque figurative composition of the Last Testament, made in the 18th century.

Secular architecture

The town of Lastovo houses some forty valuable architectural sets of houses dating back to the period from the 15th to he 19th century, which complete one of the most recognizable variants of Dalmatian, and especially Dubrovnik historical residential architecture.

A Lastovo house is a special version of the historical architectural culture in Dalmatia. This is a type of house that was built based on a ground plan and vertical volume consistently divided into “pars fructuaria” on the ground floor and the “pars urbana” on the first floor. The Lastovo houses are characterized by a sular. These are terraces fenced by stone benches (pižuli) and stone vases (arlas). Stone pilasters were covered by white grapes called krivača. The furniture was also made from stone: basins, well crowns (pucals), seats, benches, tables, oil vessels, etc.

Archaeological sites

The caves of Pod Pozalicu and Rača, hillfort settlements and all 11 prehistoric ruins have been protected thanks to archaeological sites.

The remnants of “villa rustica” from the Antiquity (remains of Roman walls) in the fields of Barje and Velja lokva, in Skrivena luka, in Jurjeva luka, at the site of the village cemetery, and on the islands of Stomorina and Sušac, as well as archaeological remnants of the Roman settlement from the 1st century and the early Christian basilica from the 5th-6th century in Ubli have also been protected.

Due to the large number of archaeological sites on the island of Sušac (more than forty), the whole historical area of the island, which was populated from early Neolithic until the late Medieval period, has been protected. The Sušac also houses a rich complex of ancient and early Christian buildings, among which are the remnants of the church of St. Mary from the 6th century.

A total of 18 underwater archaeological sites has been registered within the Park, most of which are protected.