The island of lavender

When describing Croatia, we try our best to find the most beautiful, significant, and warmest stories about our country’s natural, historical and cultural sights. 

When you go to Croatia, we will be at your service for sure, providing the significant information to make your staycation more staylicious 🙂

Let’s go to Dalmatia, to the sunny island of Hvar. 

Anyone who has visited Hvar must vividly remember its peculiarities, most certainly the dry stone walls that linearly stretch across the island, forming complex networks within which Mediterranean plant cultures were once, and still are, partially planted.

The island once lived from the vines planted, after it came to the beauty and fragrance of Hvar –lavender, which has remained here until today.

Croatia2go NIna Bogdan Hvar 13 1024x768
Croatia2go NIna Bogdan Hvar 13 1024×768

The unique Hvar lavender 

Hvar lavender or lavandin is known as Hvar Budrovka (Lavandula × intermedia ‘Budrovka’) is a cross between true lavender (L. angustifolia) and broad-leaved lavender (L. latifolia). 

All varieties of lavandin have much more oil than lavender. Hvar lavandin, due to the difference in the chemical composition of the oil, is widely known as a good pain relief medicine.

How important lavender is to the island of Hvar says the fact that this plant has literally nourished generations and participated in the construction of the island. 

The islanders planted, harvested, dried, used, and sold their lavender and thus lived on its oil and related products in harmony with their environment, which they maintained and protected for lavender and themselves.

Lavender and lavender essential oil are highly sought-after products in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. 

Hvar Lavander Budrovka photo by Nikola Radovanic photo credit by Masciina Resort Hvar Croatia
Hvar Lavander Budrovka photo by Nikola Radovanic photo credit by Masciina Resort Hvar Croatia

About 200 tons of natural lavender oil and slightly more hybrid lavender oil are produced worldwide. In Croatia, until the fire ravaged the island of Hvar in the late nineties, about 20 tons of hybrid lavender oil were made. Still, the fire reduced that production to only 2 tons. 

Precisely because of these devastating facts for Hvar and lavender, today, the island of Hvar pays special attention to protecting its budrovka.

And as it happens in the best stories, the whole big story about lavender took place in a tiny, seemingly ordinary Hvar town, Velo Grablje. Velo Grablje has only 12 inhabitants, yet each is directly or indirectly connected to the protection of lavender.

Hvar Lavander Budrovka photo by Nikola Radovanic photo credit by Masciina Resort Hvar Croatia 1
Hvar Lavander Budrovka photo by Nikola Radovanic photo credit by Masciina Resort Hvar Croatia

The arrival of lavender on Hvar island

Bartol Tomičić is the person most responsible for the arrival of lavender on Hvar. Bartol from Velo Grablje is the first lavender planter on Hvar. On his house in the very center of the town, there is a memorial plaque immortalizing him as the man who first started planting lavender on Hvar and thus completely changed the island as we know it today. 

The beginning of planting was not as easy as it may seem at first. When he started planting lavender at the age of 57, he was ridiculed and mocked by the islanders, who said he was crazy when he planted flowers around. But Bartol had a vision, and today the whole island, especially Velo Grablje, is grateful for that move that fundamentally changed everything.

Croatia2go NIna Bogdan Hvar 4
Croatia2go NIna Bogdan Hvar 4

After the first lavender seedlings gave birth, and oil was produced from the flower, which was sold at a great price, more and more locals continued to plant budrovka, following the example of Bartol Tomičić. Velo Grablje flourished, literally and figuratively. In the 1950s, Velo Grablje was known as the “village of billionaires”, and Hvar became famous for growing lavender.

Today, there is less lavender on Hvar due to the fire and, later, the impact of tourism. That’s how lavender, which made the island famous in a way, which is the inevitable motif of postcards from the island of Hvar, became an almost forgotten part of the past. Although modern tourism cost her the flowers, today, she must turn to exactly that – tourism, to survive and return to the island in its full glory.

Lavander harvest photo by Nikola Radovanic photo credit by Masciina Resort Hvar Croatia
Lavander harvest photo by Nikola Radovanic photo credit by Masciina Resort Hvar Croatia

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