Petar Hektorovic's Tvrdalj
Petar Hektorović’s Tvrdalj (1487 – 1572) with a fish-pond and a dove-cot over it, is the most famous building in Stari Grad. This renaissance poet built it throughout his entire life and it had the same importance for him as his literary work.
There he realized the idea of microcosms – a small, enclosed world where all divine creatures – fish, birds, herbs and people (himself, his friends, a holy woman, paupers and travelers) had a space to live.
The Tvrdalj is also a stone book – Hektorović carved more than twenty stone inscriptions in both Latin and Italian (one, which is in Italian – is his own life motto: “Fede e realtà o quanto è bella!” - Oh how lovely faith and reality are) as well as inscriptions in the Croatian language. Poet, Christian thinker and architect, Petar Hektorović worked on the construction of his Tvrdalj (tvrdina=fortification) obsessively and persistently throughout his long life.
It was begun as a summer villa (Latin inscription at the fish pond entrance reads: Petar Hektorović, son of Marin, built (it) with his own money and labour, for himself and his friends) and left to his heirs as a well-rounded introverted microcosm devoted to the Creator of all things (says the largest inscription on the fasade).
The poetic architectural design was executed in hard stone, devoid of decoration, but bearing numerous inscriptions in latin and Croatian (first Croatian inscription in stone using Latin script!). This private oasis offered shelter to travelers and to the poor. It was a sanctuary for birds, fish and selected plants. A selection of holy women is mentioned in the building. All this is hidden behind austere and solemn fasade walls, once reflected in the still waters of the cove just outside Tvrdalj.
Petar Hektorović's Tvrdalj is open for visitors from May to October. Other information is available on phone number +385 (0)21 765 068.