Island Lastovo - holiday apartments and houses

Its name in written sources, given in the forms Ladesta and Ladeston, is first mentioned by lexicographer Steven of Byzantium (based on Teopompus from the 4th century BC): The Romans gave the island a grander name: Augusta insula, meaning Imperial Island. In the middle Ages it is recorded as Augusta, Lagusta and Lagosta, while at the same time, via the Romanic version Lasta, a shortening of the original Ladesta with the appended Slavic suffix –ovo gave the present name. Under the Slavic name to Lastovon it is first mentioned, in Greek in the mid 10th century, by Byzantine Emperor and writer Constantine Porfirogenet, which confirms that it was already inhabited by Croats at the time.

Set apart in the open waters of the Adriatic Sea, Lastovo more rarely than our other islands experiences sudden changes of weather. The number of sunny hours per year (about 2,700) puts it among our sunniest islands. It is formed predominantly of Lower Calcareous rock. Karst dolomite fields stretch between limestone hills (Hum being the highest at 417m). There are layers of red soil and quartz sand in the many fields, the largest of which is Vinopolje. They are surrounded by gentle slopes of loose Karst containing many caves. The best known of these is Raca, which nature has tempered playing its "many games" as Dubrovnik writer Mavro Orbini wrote in 1601. The island's coastline is mostly steep and uniform without much indentation and the waters off it deep. Lastovo, along with Mljet, is our greenest island, as its forests were up to recently protected by the prudent laws of the Republic of Dubrovnik. There are two wide and secure bays: to the south side between Cape Skrizeva and Cape Veljeg mora the sea enters into the island in Skrivena luka (Hidden Harbour), while Velo Lago and Malo Lago are situated between Prezba and Lastovo, joined by a narrow, bridged, passage. There are no better fishing grounds for small oily fish, lobster, moray eels and many types of high quality fish.

The oldest traces of inhabitation are to be found at Raca cave, stretching back continuously to the early Bronze Age. Finds of Greek and Hellenic pottery indicate that the island found itself early on in the sphere of Greek merchant trade lines on the Adriatic Sea. One of the prehistoric settlements was situated at the site of a modern day village, very likely once crowned by an Illyrian hill fort on its highest point, where a castle was built much later on by the Dubrovnik administration. The Romans developed the harbour in Ubli, at the bottom end of the safest bay in Lastovo, and just off the most fertile of the Lastovo fields, Vinopolje and Nizno polje. Lastovo made its entry into history, both real and symbolic, in the year 1000. In the military and diplomatic campaign lead by Venetian Doge Peter Orseolo, when all of the cities from the tip of Istria to Dubrovnik bowed to his authority as the representative of the rights of the Byzantine Emperor on the Adriatic Sea, Lastovo was the only one to (although in vain) resist, resting its confidence in the strength of the castle above the village, most likely constructed in the late Antiquity. Up to the mid 13th century the island preserved a very wide autonomy that allowed it to adhere voluntarily to the territory of the Municipality of Dubrovnik, preserving its customary rights. Dubrovnik did its best, nevertheless, to narrow Lastovos autonomy leading to frequent turmoil on the island, culminating with the Lastovo Uprising (1601-1606), with a series of events that shook the Republic to its core. In spite of the permanent tension that existed towards Dubrovnik's administration on the island, the people of Lastovo throughout all of these centuries lived in a prosperity enjoyed by no other territory of Dubrovnik outside the City itself. The architecture of Lastovo from this period is one of the most significant variants of the architecture of Dubrovnik. Travel writers of the time point out the beauty and comfort of their homes, the fertility of their fields and of the waters surrounding the island, the excellence of its wines and oil, the profusion of sour cherries, quinces and other fruits. The writers of Dubrovnik relate that the people of Lastovo were involved in the lucrative coral trade, as the waters surrounding the island were rich in red, white and black coral.

In the crucial events of the dawn of the 19th century Lastovo fell under French administration. By the decisions of the Congress of Vienna, Lastovo, along with the entire territory of the former Republic of Dubrovnik, came under the rule of the Austrian monarchy – right up to its capitulation in 1918. The island then found itself under Italian administration. After the World War II, Lastovo found itself under a sort of blockade as a naval base of the former Yugoslavia, up to the declaration of Croatian independence.

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