Dry Stone Walls on Korcula, Blato

korcula-blato-dry_stone_walls-01
This week we’re taking a look at certainly one of the biggest monuments of the cultural heritage of Blato and Korcula: the dry stone walls.

The people of Blato lived out of the agriculture throughout the ages. But, being on the island where there is a little soil to cultivate, every bit of it was precious. So, to keep the soil from being carried away as the rains fell down, they constructed the dry stone walls (mostly on the hill slopes) to keep the soil. During the Early Modern period there weren’t many hillsides covered in these walls, but thorughout and especially in the middle of the 19th century the construction of the walls grew rapidly. One of the reasons was the spread of the phylloxera disease across the vineyards in France and Italy, while Dalmatia and Blato, then under the Habsburg rule, were in those times spared from it. Even though the production later dropped because of various reasons, the dry stone walls remained.

They can be seen throught the Blato hillside and toward its bays, and they stand as a monument of the human work and fight for the existence. For example, driving from Blato to Prizba the dry stone walls can be seen all around the hillsides. These areas are great for sightseeing, as there are many paths that go near or through the dry stone walls (check out some other blog posts: http://www.korcula-larus.com/for-all-bicycle-fans-and-those-who-are-about-to-become-one/) and some of the spots have fantastic views.

Since a lot of the unused area covered in walls was covered in pine trees after the beginning of the 20th century, many of those areas were revealed after the fires in the course of the past 15 years. Nowadays, the dry stone walls are slowly being restored and used for cultivating olive trees. We hope that one day it will be recognized as a true cultural landscape!

Further reading on dry stone walls research and restoration (as well as the other types of heritage): http://www.dragodid.org/category/eng/