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BY Klaudija Gamulin

Glavica hill, adorned with a cross, rises above the northern side of the cove of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.

Since prehistoric times, this hill has been used by Illyrians, Greeks, and Romans as an important strategic location. Gathered in small groups, they all meticulously observed the surrounding area and the sea from this observation tower. They didn`t do it to enjoy the dazzling colours of the sky in the dawn or the sunsets drowning in the sea, but to spot the dangers lurking in the area in time. They built a ring-shaped wall around them to feel safer on the hill. The city under them, the ancient Greek Pharos, later the Roman Faria, was too important to them. Therefore, they took their task quite seriously, even though they didn`t realise at the time that they were guarding the cradle of the oldest city in our region. And yet, perhaps due to exhaustion or a couple of glasses of wine too many after brunch, the cunning Romans tricked the Greek guards and invaded the city. Since that occasion, PAX ROMANA – almost an entire millennium of peace – was established in Faria. From then on, people spoke a different language between the ramparts of the observation tower, but they drank the same wine pressed from the vines of the local fields.

More than a millennium passed before Glavica regained its importance.

In 1900, a large stone cross was erected on the site of the former observation tower to mark the entry into the 20th century. On that occasion, they built the chapel of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the World nearby.

During World War II, the hill and the cross played a big role in the life of the young man Marinko Jurić from Velo Grablje. That same year, Marinko was lying severely ill in one of the provisional war hospitals in Stari Grad. Glavica and the tall stone cross were clearly visible from his hospital room. At least to other patients, but not to Marinko, who had a blindfold over his injured eyes. No amount of pain he suffered physically could compare to the fear of unfolding the bandages. That morning when he heard the creak of the door opening, his heart was pounding. They sat him on the bed directly facing the window. After the first light and dark shadows, his eyes slowly began adjusting. He`ll remember his first sight for the rest of his life. He just spontaneously uttered: There is a cross up on that hill! He was able to enjoy this view for a very short time because the cross was demolished soon after. Demolished on the hill, but not in the heart of Marinko Jurić, who vowed to erect a new one in the same place if he ever got a chance. In 1990, a very loud helicopter flew over Starigrad’s cove. It moved slowly because it was transporting a huge stone cross made in one piece. Just as he had vowed to himself, Marinko erected a new cross. You can still read the words he uttered in his hospital room in the long-gone days of World War II under the cross made of fragments of the same cross that he saw with his ailed eyes.

Just like in the old days, Glavica hill still greets the Hvar sun at dawn and lays it to rest in the evening, and, crowned with a prehistoric stone ring, watches over Stari Grad.

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