||This article's introduction section may not adequately summarize its contents. (October 2012)|
Satellite image of Vis and Biševo
|Area||89.72 km2 (34.64 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||587 m (1,926 ft)|
|Largest city||Vis (pop. 1,920)|
|Population||3,460 (as of 2011)|
Vis (pronounced [ʋîːs]; Ancient Greek: Ἴσσα; Latin: Issa, Italian: Lissa) is a small Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. The farthest inhabited island off the Croatian mainland, Vis had a population of 3,460 in 2011 and has an area of 90.26 square kilometres (34.85 square miles). The highest point of the island is Hum which is 587 metres (1,926 feet) above sea level. The island's two largest settlements are the town of Vis on the eastern side of the island (the settlement after which the island was originally named), and Komiža, on its western coast.
Once known for its thriving fishing industry in the late 19th and early 20th century, the main present-day industries on the island are agriculture and tourism. Vis town and Komiža are also seats of separate administrative municipalities which cover the entire island and nearby islets, which are both part of Split-Dalmatia County.
Vis was inhabited by the time of the Neolithic period. In the 4th century BC, the Greek tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius the Elder, founded the colony Issa on the island. Later, it became an independent polis, and even minted its own money and founded its own colonies, the most notable of which was Aspálathos (the modern-day city of Split). In the 1st century BC, the island was held by the Liburnians. In the 4th century BC Syracusan Greeks colonised the Island. Its importance in the region ended with the first Illyro-Roman war (29-219 BC). Having sided with Pompeus during the period of civil struggles in Rome, became an "oppidum civium Romanorum" in 47 BC.
Until 1797, the island was under the rule of the Republic of Venice. During this time large settlements developed along the coastline (Comisa (now Komiža) and Lissa (now Vis)). Administratively, the island of Lissa was for centuries bound to the island of Lesina, now named Hvar. The Venetian influence is still recognizable in architecture found on the island, and some vocabulary of the Croatian dialect spoken locally are Venetian in origin.
After the short-lived Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, with Italian as the official language, the island was ruled by the Austrian Empire since 1814. It maintained its Italian name of Lissa. After the end of World War I, it was under Italian rule again in the period from 1918 to 1921, according to the provisions of the 1915 Treaty of London, before it was ceded to Kingdom of Yugoslavia as part of the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo.
The sea to the north of the island was the location of two battles:
- on 13 March 1811, a small Royal Navy fleet, under the command of Captain William Hoste, defeated a larger French fleet in the Battle of Lissa (1811)
- on 20 July 1866, the smaller Austrian fleet, under Admiral Tegetthoff, attacked the Italian fleet, under Admiral Persano, defeating the larger Italian force and sinking the Italian ironclad Re d'Italia in the Battle of Lissa (1866).
Vis was at one point the site of the general headquarters of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, the leader of the Yugoslav Partisan resistance movement. It was liberated by the Partisans under the command of Tito, and by a British flotilla, in 1941 and 1943. At the end of World War II the island returned to Yugoslavia. During the war the island was mined. Allied fighter planes were based at a small airfield that was also used for emergency landings of Allied bombers, including an American B-24 flown by George McGovern. After the war, the Yugoslav People's Army used the island as one of its main naval bases. After Croatia became independent in 1991, its navy did not reclaim most of the facilities, and the many abandoned buildings are being used for civilian purposes. In 2008, 34 mines left over from World War II were cleared from the island.
of Vis island
|Source: Naselja i stanovništvo Republike Hrvatske 1857–2001, DZS, Zagreb, 2005|
Around 20% of arable land on the island is covered with vineyards. Autochthonous vine species cultivated on the island are Plavac Mali, Kurteloška, and Vugava (the indigenous grape of what is now known as viognier).
The sea around Vis is rich with fish, especially blue fish (sardine, mackerel and anchovy). Komiža fishermen of the 16th century developed their own type of fishing boat, the falkuša which was used even in the second half of the 20th century because of its excellent features.
- An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen, 2005, Index
- Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, page 183, "... We may begin with the Venetic peoples, Veneti, Carni, Histri and Liburni, whose language set them apart from the rest of the Illyrians. ..."
- The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister), ISSA (Vis) Croatia. A town on an island of the same name in the central Adriatic. It was settled by Illyrians, who were under the domination of Liburni from the 8th to the 6th centuries B.C. At the beginning of the 4th century B.C. it was colonized by Syracusan Greeks as part of a plan of Dionysios the Elder to control the Adriatic. During the 3rd century Issa founded the emporia Tragurion (Traù, now Trogir) and Epetion (Stobreč) on the Illynan mainland. Its predominance in the region lasted until the first Illyro-Roman war 229-219 B.C. when it became a pawn in the battles of greater powers. In the civil war it sided with Pompey and consequently lost its privileges and autonomy in 47 B.C. when it was reduced to the rank of an oppidum civium Romanorum and was dependent on the newly founded colony at Salona. As a polis Issa minted its own money, and these coins of many types had wide circulation. The town, situated on a slope on the W side of a large bay, was defended by strong Hellenistic walls, still visible in an irregular quadrangle (265 x 360 m) that enclosed an area of 9.8 ha. The street grid and foundations of houses have been found. The necropolis has yielded many pieces of pottery, including some from S Italy. The wall of the cavea of the theater, built in the Roman period, is incorporated into the present Franciscan Monastery. It could seat about 3000 persons. Inscriptions, statues, coins, and pottery are preserved in the archaeological museums at Split and Zagreb.
- (Croatian) First Croatian online peljar
- Economy of Vis
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Vis.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Island of Vis.|
- Komiza - Island Vis Tourist Association
- Vis - Croatian National Tourist Board
- Vis Tourist Association