Thursday, 18 April 2019

UNESCO Traditions on Hvar (VIDEO): 'Za Krizen' Procession Underway in Jelsa

April 18, 2019 - A religious spectacle is underway on Hvar, as 6 simultaneous 'Za Krizen' processions through the night uphold a UNESCO tradition dating back 500 years. 

Known for its endless sunshine, great beaches and nightlife, the island of Hvar shows another side to its multi-faceted personality on Maundy Thursday each year with the annual 'Za Krizen' (Behind the Cross) procession in 6 towns and villages. 


At 22:00 on Maundy Thursday, six simultaneous processions set off from Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj and Vrboska. They are led by barefoot cross bearers carrying ancient crosses weighing between 10 and 18 kg, walking through the night along a 22-kilometre route for a night of contemplation and prayer through the other five settlements. Finally, the processions complete their circular route, arriving back where they started about 07:00 on Good Friday. 


The cross bearer is followed by his acolytes wearing white robes and carrying candles. Behind the acolytes, more than a thousand pilgrims walk through the night following the procession, which was awarded Intangible UNESCO Heritage status back in 2009. You can read more about the heritage in the TCN UNESCO heritage series

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Each procession has its own uniqueness, but the biggest one in Jelsa has a very dramatic ending, as the exhausted cross bearer and his main acolyte run the final metres on Jelsa's packed main square, before kneeling in front of the awaiting priest. While there is an understandable tourist impulse to applaud the achievement, it should be borne in mind that this is a very religious experience, and applause is not welcome. To learn more about the procession through the eyes of a cross bearer, learn more through this interview with a former cross bearer from Jelsa

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There are other traditions associated with the procession. One is that an illuminated image of Jesus falling with the cross is displayed in the main church tower. 

And locals add to the light by keeping their lights on all night. 

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TCN will be up all night recording each procession as it comes through Jelsa. 

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The procession has just got underway for 2019. Check out the first moments from the video below. 


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Mediterranean as It Still is: Hvar Catamaran Goat Travel

November 14, 2018 - A little goat transport action on yesterday's catamaran from Split to Jelsa on Hvar. 

Shortly after I moved to Hvar back in 2003, I was on the bus home from the ferry, driving though Vrbanj. Suddenly, the bus, which had been screaming through the village at quite a pace when suddenly the driver slammed on his brakes, reversed back and jumped out.

For at the side of the road was a man selling looked like half a dead pig. A negotiation was done, several kilos of meat cut and wrapped before the driver realised he did not have enough money and so borrowed the passenger fares to pay for it. 

It will remain one of my favourite island moments. While some see Hvar as a premier elite island full of superyachts and A-list celebs, there is another, more natural side of life on the island.

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The view on Hvar last night as the evening catamaran from Split to Jelsa (with thanks to Dalmacijaland for the great find) - the culture of goat travel by catamaran seems to be alive and well now that the main tourist season has finished. 

This goat travel is particularly timely for me. Having spent several hours recently putting together the definitive guide on how to get from Split to Hvar, I really thought I had every angle covered. Can you smoke on the catamaran or ferry, what is the policy of bringing pets on boats to Hvar, and even some advice on the rules for transporting Christmas trees, but there is clearly a gap of information regarding goat travel, an omission I shall address immediately. I am not an expert in goat travel, but I suspect if you are planning on bringing your pet goat to Hvar the next time you travel, it might be wise to check in advance, unless you know someone on the crew of course.

For all other options of how to get from Split to Hvar, click here

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Chardonnay Comes to Hvar: Tasting with the Mercurial Teo Huljic

November 6, 2018 - Tucked away in the stone back streets of Jelsa on the island of Hvar, winemaker Teo Huljic is building up a fascinating portfolio of wines. 

One of the things I always try and do when returning to Hvar these days is to pop in and see Teo Huljic, a small winemaker hidden away with his small restaurant and winery in the pretty old town of Jelsa. Jelsa is the town of wine, of course, and with famous names such as Andro Tomic and Ivo Dubokovic, Teo Huljic rarely appears in the spotlight, which is a pity, as his story is very interesting, and the wines he is experimenting with and producing more interesting still. 

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I first met Teo Huljic several years ago when I went to eat at his restaurant which is open for the summer. There is nowhere quite like it on Hvar, with its uneven stone tables, which are afforded shade by two abundant lemon trees, whose juicy fruits have been known to fall from the tree onto the table during a meal. An accomplished chef as well as winemaker, Teo Huljic offers an exceptional slow food and wine tasting experience you can book through Hvar Tours

And although he only makes about 7,000 litres of wine a year, his range of wines is quite breathtaking, some 15 in all at current count. Like a true artisan, his passion is making wine, rather than making money, and his dedication to the indigenous varieties on the island, coupled with his curiosity about how international varieties might blend mean that he has the most diverse range of grape varieties in his portfolio. He is, I think, the only winemaker who produces a single variety Mekuja, an almost-extinct Hvar white variety, and my last visit was an introduction to a variety I had not heard before (and nor had Google) - Palarusa. 

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Last week's visit was a chance to do some very early tasting of the 2018 tasting, including the quite delightful experience of witnessing Teo Huljic trying his new Posip for the first time. I don't think I have ever been with a winemaker for a moment like that before. He was pleased with the results, and then went on to show me what else he had been up to. 

He had told me previously that he planned to introduce a little Chardonnay to Hvar, as he thought it would blend nicely with two local white varieties, Prc and Posip (and the early signs are that he is right), and I thoroughly enjoyed his Cabernet Sauvign0on and Merlot cuvee, but he saved the new wine of which he was especially proud for last - a Mali Plavac rose, which had more strawberries and roses in a very long-lingering finish than s long summer romance. 

If you are a wine lover coming to Hvar, visit this man. To learn more about Teo Huljic and his wines, click here

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Saturday, 6 October 2018

The Mediterranean as It Once Was: Jelsa on Hvar in 1939 (VIDEO)

October 5, 2018 - Continuing our look at the Mediterranean as It Once Was through videos of years gone by, a wonderful snapshot of life in Jelsa at the outbreak of the Second World War.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Uneven Stone Tables, Unknown Grape Varieties, Unbelievable Food: Huljic in Jelsa

August 19, 2018 - He makes just 7,000 litres of wine a year but has 15 types of wine on offer, and the dining experience at his hidden little restaurant at the back of Jelsa's quaint old own is equally quirky. The Teo Huljic food and wine experience. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Poruka premijera Total Croatia Newsu: Ne brinite se, ja vas neću tužiti

14. kolovoza 2018. godine – Premijer Andrej Plenković posjetio je sinoć Jelsu, gdje je sudjelovao u tradicionalnoj proslavi Dana općine. Sastanak sa šefovima lokalnog HDZ-a na glavnom trgu omogućio je TCN-u da provjeri je li premijer možda uhvatio vremena da pročita otvoreno pismo koje smo mu poslali prošlog tjedna. Pokazalo se da je odgovor na to pitanje potvrdan...

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Prime Minister Tells Total Croatia News: I Won't Sue You, Don't Worry

August 14, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was in Jelsa on Hvar last night, taking part in the annual Jelsa Municipal Day celebrations. A meeting with local HDZ chiefs on the main square before the main event gave a window for TCN to see if perhaps he had had a moment to read the open letter we sent him last week. It turns out that he had... 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

U Smokve in Jelsa: Healthy Food for the Body, Healthier Food for the Soul

August 12, 2018 - Looking for the healthy lifestyle dining experience which will uplift your soul as well as fill your stomach? U Smokve, a dining experience with a difference. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Kako popraviti stvari u Hrvatskoj: Otvoreno pismo premijeru Andreju Plenkoviću

7. kolovoza 2018. – Premijer Andrej Plenković trebao bi navodno idućeg tjedna posjetiti Jelsu na otoku Hvaru povodom Dana općine, što je u proteklim godinama već postala premijerska tradicija. Ovo je otvoreno pismo premijeru, Hvaraninu, koje mu šalje stranac koji ovdje živi već dugi niz godina.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

How to Fix Croatia: Open Letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic

August 6, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is apparently due to visit Jelsa on Hvar next week for the Municipal Day of Jelsa, as has been the prime ministerial tradition in recent years. An open letter to the Prime Minister, a Hvar man, from a longtime foreign resident. 

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