Municipality of Smokvica
The Municipality of Smokvica includes Smokvica village, Brna and Vinačac bays and Blace settlements, with around 1000 inhabitants in total. Smokvica is one of the oldest settlements on the island - the Illyrian forts ruins tell us about life in this area in the second millennium BC. Smokvica is located in the very heart of the island - this location has been chosen long ago to provide protection against pirates and other enemies. Devoted to remembering those battles against the enemy, Smokvica treasures its knightly dance Kumpanija (or Kumpanjija), which is still performed on special occasions, just like in many other places of the island. Along with Kumpanija, you can often enjoy in the ancient dances called Starinski plesovi, based on traditional choreography performed in pairs.
Land of famous Pošip and old fairy tales
Smokvica today is a picturesque village surrounded by olive tree fields and vineyards with stunning hiking and cycling trails all around. If you are looking for agricultural land, this is perfect location not only for vine and olive trees, but also for a variety of vegetables and fruits that benefit from a warm Mediterranean climate with a large number of sunny hours. Smokvica is home to the famous white wine of Pošip. If you find yourself in Smokvica, be sure to try Pošip, with some homemade sweets (ask for hrstule and pršurate).
A walk through Smokvica is like a time machine - when you move away from the very center of the place, the narrow streets and old stone houses will tell you the story of life in this area for centuries back, along with the few stories about fantastic creatures that used to (or still) live here, according to the many local traditional tales. One of the most popular is the story of the fairies that live in the area called Livin Dol, originally Vilin Dol, which literally means the valley of fairies. It is located a few kilometers from Smokvica, in the valley between picturesque hills covered with vineyards, orchards and olive groves. There is also a beautiful water litter around which fairies are dancing, mostly during full moon. This area truly seems so fairly beautiful that it is not difficult to imagine all that, still happening. Stories of fairies here are much alike those in the Kočje area in Žrnovo. No surprise - the cult of fairies is typical in Dalmatia, just like the wider Balkan region.
A story of sea fairy called Nera
Five kilometers down the road from Smokvica to the sea, lies Brna, a deep and wide bay perfect for anchoring. Brna is typical small Mediterranean place – with its beautiful stone houses and fishing boats and with subtle Fellini moments everywhere, its simply stunning and definitely ideal for vacation. Since it is a tourist destination, there are plenty of apartments, which you can rent or buy, as well as houses and building land.
Along the coast around Brna, there are numerous uninhabited bays, hidden and completely untouched in its natural beauty. Stračinšćica, Brendana, Vlaška, Grahova, Duboka, Bila, Vidoševa, Stiniva, Bogdana and Mirje are just some of them on the western side of Brna. According to traditions local stories, the sea around these bays is home to mermaids. One of them, named Nera, fell in love with a local boy named Antonio. As in Andersen's fairy tale about a little mermaid, this love story has no happy ending either. Nera's father, the King of the Sea, who had already promised his daughter to another king, told Nera that he will turn Antonio to stone if they continued their love story, so Nera was force to leave Antonio, in order to save his life. But before she left him for good, she asked her father to turn the rock where she used to sit with Antonio into the shape of her hair which Antonio loved so much. Her father, the King, fulfilled her wish and today you can still see hair-shaped rock in one of the bays near Brna, called Mirje. Nera's name probably comes from the term Nereid - in Greek mythology this is a collective name for the sea nymphs. Because of the great resemblance of this story with Andersen's tale The little mermaid (first published 1837) we suppose that these stories probably have the same root somewhere in the European oral storytelling tradition.
Istruga - a very special place
On the east side from Brna, there are also many stunning bays - Istruga, Pinčena, Bogujina, Lučica etc. In front of coast on this side lies small archipelago of uninhabited forested islands that look like the mythical island guardians. You can visit them by private boats anytime.
The most special bay in this area is definitely Istruga, with its distinctive flora and fauna it looks more like lake then sea cove. Here you can find a healing mud (called liman) that has proven to help treat many skin problems and other illnesses. Istruga is actually a continuation of a deep canyon in whose upper part still lives one of the last preserved Mediterranean virgin forests, with a cave in the middle of it.
Drywalls of Smokvica
This entire area around Smokvica (as well as mostly the whole island) is crossed with unique dry-stone-walls, built by island villagers to protect the land from erosion, flood and desiccation, but also to mark the borders between their properties. In the drywall technique they also built specific little houses like object, they used fo shelters: around Smokvica, these are called torete, around Korčula bunje, near Lumbarda also torete, and around Vela Luka area they are called vrtujci. More about Dalmatia ventricular architecture you can read here and in the section about Vela Luka.