Dry stone walls


Being a wine-growing islandever since Antiquity, Vis is covered with a grid of dry-stone walls, an impressive tightly knitted landscape lace built over the course of centuries, either as retaining walls for the numerous vineyard terraces on the island's steep slopes, or stone heaps and stone fences.

This rural architecture is the visual identity of the Vis landscape, with its incredible forms resulting from the heterogenous terrain of the island's slopes and hills once covered with vinyards up to the very top. The stone manuscript of the Vis peasants resulting from centuries-long struggle with macchia underbrush and harsh karst terrain in order to conquer each small inch of fertile soil, is a story about survival, a story about centuries of heavy toil of hundreds of generations which produced wine and who have suceeded, even under the direst of circumstances for the plantation of vinyards, in taming of the rocky landscape and turning it into fertile terraces which covered the slopes up to the very hilltops. These scenes of stone lace woven throughout the island of Vis, Biševo and Svetac, today are observed as a cultural fact – a stone manuscript that one must know how to read and interpret. Many an unaware visitor gazes in wonder at these wondrous forms which he believes to be some kind of natural geological phenomenon, not even suspecintg how much heavy labour war worked into these walls, in the long struggle for survival. Alongside geological traces that witness the biologin dynamics of earth through millions of years, these traces of the human hand tell their own story about a millenium-long struggle of these islanders to survive in dire conditions. Reading of the landscape and its interpretation as a natural fact, must also include the interpretation of these fascinating antropogenic structures and amazing stone patterns insribed into the island's landscape by human hand.



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