History of the Beautiful Island of Vis

The Island of Vis is a small Croatian Island in the Adriatic Sea. The island is the farthest inhabited island off the coast of the mainland of Croatia. By ferry the journey from Split to Vis will take about two and a half hours

The exceptional geographical location, the fertile interior and fish in the sea attracted already in ancient time many people. Already during the 4th century BC Greek cruel tyrant Dionysius the Elder, in hope of becoming the most powerful ruler of the Mediterranean region, founded his own colony Issa, later known as the Island of Vis. Soon Issa became thriving and coined its own money and citizens traded throughout the Mediterranean. Issa became especially famous for its excellent wine. Centuries later; change of power, crisis, diseases, depopulation and barbarian attacks made the island lose all its structure and independence.

A new start came with the arrival of the Slavic immigrants from the North, the Croats in the 7th century. New inhabitants soon inherited maritime skills and agricultural knowledge from the native inhabitants. Vis became part of the early medieval Kingdom of Croatia for which the people were known to be skilled seamen and pirates. For that reason at the end of the 10th century the Venetians attacked and destroyed Vis, the remaining inhabitants retreated into the island’s interior.

Stiniva Beach, island of Vis
Komiza, island of vis
Sunset at the island of vis
Island of Vis, bay, boat
Harbour of Vis
Komiza, island of vis

Being dependent on the different conquerors throughout the centuries Vis people established a powerful settlement on the shore to defend the island. Croatian gentry as well as the common people of Vis built their houses along the port of Vis. The city walls gave protection to the residential areas, the trading offices of the gentry and working facilities of the common people. This way to settlements; Kut and Luka were founded, from which later the Town of Vis developed.

Over the years many battles, conquests and wars were fought out in which the island was involved. Years of Italian rule came to an end when the Kingdom of Italy fell to Yugoslavia in 1943 and Vis came under the rule of Yugoslav Partisans. Vis became part of the Yugoslav state under Communist rule. As the island had a perfect strategic geographical position, Vis became a strong maritime and air defense post.

During the socialist period of Yugoslavia, Vis continued to play the role of military base. It was closed for inhabitants of the mainland and tourist for decades. These special circumstances slowed down the development of the island and protected the island from the uncontrolled construction of large tourist facilities.

When the Yugoslavian war came to an end, Croatia declared independence at the beginning of the summer of 1991. In May 1992 the Yugoslavian army left the Island of Vis and all military activities were withdrawn. Slowly Vis opened up to the public and became a loved and still hidden treasure to celebrate wonderful holidays.