THE ART OF DRY STONE WALL CONSTRUCTION
ris Bo ©
Adriatic stone lace Text: Željka Kunštek
Since the prehistoric era, the hardworking inhabitants of the Adriatic coast and islands built dry stone walls on barren land, stone by stone, and left landscapes that take the breath away of everyone who passes by.
ne of the privileges of living at the Croatian coast and on islands are the views of dry stone walls, symbols of man's effort, but also true works of art. Kilometers of that stone lace were built by the calloused hands of the inhabitants of the Adriatic-Dinaric area in order to remove the stones from the soil so they could then plant vineyards, olive groves, and other kinds of plant life that grow well under the warm Mediterranean sun. The unique, traditional construction method, without the use of any kind of bonding material, was also used for the construction of simple stone shelters for short stays, as well as being a way to divide land. Although it might seem simple at first, placing stones one on top of the other is a complex task, thousands of years old.
In 2018, the art of stone wall construction was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
tipTravelMagazine May 2020 - April 2021
The most beautiful dry stone walls in Croatia can be seen on the Stari Grad Plain and in Velo Grablje on the island of Hvar, as well as on the island of Pag, on the Kornati islands, in the old vineyards in Primošten, on the island of Korčula, on the Pelješac peninsula… The islet of Baljenac, where there are 23 km of dry stone walls on 0.14 square kilometers of area, is a special story. From a bird's-eye view, the view of the stone labyrinth is truly incredible, and it looks like a large fingerprint. As far as fingerprints are concerned, did you know that it is one of the symbols of Croatia? Ivan Vučetić, the father of dactyloscopy, is originally from the island of Hvar. Dragodid, a village on the island of Vis, is also a synonym for dry stone walls, and its inhabitants carefully preserve, promote, and share the tradition of dry stone construction techniques with new generations. It has also been recognized in Europe, so in 2011, it received the European Union's award for cultural heritage, Europa Nostra, for its Dragodid project.