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Primošten Vineyards

Date of Submission: 29/01/2007
Criteria: (v)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture
State, Province or Region:
Šibensko-kninska County
Coordinates: N43 33 011 E015 38 431
Ref.: 5102

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The site of Bucavac Veliki is located 3km south of the town of Primošten. It encompasses a surface of 18,4 ha (184,000m2). The site zone is divided into 56 geodesic land lots of which the largest is 2 x 6 m in size and which are mutually separated by drystone walls. The lots are made up of red soil in which a few vines are planted while low drystone heaps keep the soil together around them. Rows of these small soil lots rising vertically from the sea shore are locally called tirades and are positioned in a straight line. Rows of thus positioned tirades make up a rectangular network of lots successively adapted to the coastal line of the locality. Local unpaved paths lead to the lots.

This originally rocky, inaccessibly terrain has been transformed through extreme human effort into agricultural land, namely, by its clearing in the traditional manner, (manually) without the use of machines. The Bucavac Veliki site has remained a completely preserved surface as it was at the time it was first developed maintaining the original morphology of cleared lots (cassettes), traditional way of soil cultivation and agricultural function which have not changed in the entire area up to the present.

The connection between the Primošten landscape and, generally the entire Šibenik landscape, with wine growing dates back from times immemorial: from the Illyrians in the 8 th century BC through the Greeks and Romans who settled in this region to the great movement of peoples which resulted among other in the devastation of destroyed vineyards too. Numerous tombstones with carved motifs of wine grapes,amphora and wine presses are testimony of the vineyards from that time. During the great movement of peoples in the 7 th century the Croats permanently settled the region and began renewing the vineyards so that winegrowing became one of the main economic activities.

The first mention of vine dates from the 11 th century and relates to an archaeological find of a stone fragment depicting a interlacingribbon pattern and wine grapes, while the first written evidence is connected with the Šibenik diocese (1298). At that time the town council gave the Church a number of vineyards. Since then vineyards have gone through good and bad times and have been the subject of deliberations of municipalities, the church, noblemen, commoners and serfs.

It is assumed that in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, during the VenetianTurk wars this region came to be intensively cultivated. The population settled in the vicinity of cities and towns and on islands. The diminished surface of fertile land for winegrowing compelled the winegrowers to move to more rocky and steep terrains which made underpinning masonry a necessity.

A decision was brought in 1947 to give municipal land in the Bucavac area to the inhabitants of the Primošten area. The entire space was first geodetically measured and the names of the future owners were drawn in the village school in Primošten. Each participant in the drawing could get 1000 square meters of the then bare and rocky terrain. The clearing and reparation of soil and planting of wine grapes lasted ten years or so and there were families who planted a few thousand vine plants of the Croatian indigenous sort Babić which produces best quality wines precisely in the Primošten region.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The Primošten vineyards on the Bucavac Veliki site near Primošten represent a materialized traditional form of cultivating a specific kind of Mediterranean soil, characterised by a dense concentration of rocks, namely, natural rock material ingrown into the soil which has to be extracted manually and with great human effort in order to acquire a small quantity of soil in the lot for cultivation. This method of soil cultivation is generally characteristic for the entire region of Dalmatia, namely, Karst areas. When clearing the land, the rocks deeply planted into the soil were manually extracted with the aid of light tools (picks, levers, etc.), while the rock fragments placed along the borders of the field creating heaps of drystones layered as the borders of the fields. The field mostly comprises of a larger surface rectangular, trapeze or irregular in shape while its soil for cultivation was cleared in the above mentioned manner. What significantly singles out the Bucavac Veliki site from the context of cleared bordered fields is precisely the manner of lotting the surface that is cleared, namely, the creation of a network of very small lots (locally called vlačica) with fertile soil for which this site is unique not only in the more narrow Primošten region but on the entire eastern Adriatic coast. It should be particularly emphasized that we are dealing with a lotted nonterrased cleared surface. This unique symmetrical compartmentalised type of lotting, which leaves sthe impression of a stone lace structure is based on the century old local tradition of soil cultivation that has also produced a unique landscape value due to its colouristic harmony of red soil, white stones and blue sea which partly surrounds the site. Two components significantly distinguish the Primošten vineyards at the Bucavac Veliki site: the unique method of traditional fragmentation of cleared lotted surfaces and extraordinary natural value of the landscape resulting from this method.

Comparison with other similar properties

The fragmentation of lots in cleared fields is characteristic of only a narrow area around Primošten These bordered lots in Bucavac Veliki are most similar to the lots on cleared fields in the vicinity of the continental village of Kruševo (8,5 km aerial distance from the Bucavac site). There are smaller or larger fields on separate locations within the Primošten region that are lotted in a similar manner. In the entire region of Dalmatia and remaining eastern Adriatiac coast there are no identical analogous examples of this type of nonterraced symmetrically lotted cleared fields.