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The Arsenal at Hvar in the Context of Other Venetian Arsenals

Andrej Žmegač ; Institut za povijest umjetnosti, Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 694 Kb

str. 157-166

preuzimanja: 863



Historically speaking, the Arsenal at Hvar formed a part of the infrastructure set up by the Venetian Republic in order to secure the navigation between Venice and the eastern Mediterranean. Controlling the cities which had favourable ports along this route and which could provide protection and supplies to vessels was of key importance. The port of Hvar was the most important port among the Adriatic islands because its
location was almost unavoidable when navigating this sea. It was spacious and had the necessary depth, and it was also protected from wind; until the mid-eighteenth century it served as the main port of the Venetian Adriatic fleet.
The decision to build an arsenal was made in the late thirteenth century and the actual building must have been completed several decades later. More numerous pieces of information can be gathered only from the sixteenth century when a new building seems to have been constructed but remained without a roof for a long time. The Arsenal burnt down during the Turkish attack
in 1571 and was renovated in 1611.
The central arsenal of the Venetian Republic was built on an enormous site in Venice and consisted of tens of halls. Large numbers of vessels were constructed there during individual campaigns on the eves of wars.
Apart from the Arsenal at Venice, other significantly large armouries included those located on Crete (Candia/Heraklion, Chania) which were technologically advanced and also consisted of several halls. These armouries also built galleys - the most important and the fastest of Venetian vessels. Galleys had the advantage of being easily transformed from merchant vessels to
war ships and vice versa, and Venetian maritime success was based on the good organization of their routes.
Other armouries carried out only modest ship-building activities and their main role was to provide supplies and service the vessels. The Arsenal at Hvar belonged to this group of minor supply armouries.
A particular feature of the Arsenal at Hvar is its prominent position: it is situated well into the port area, as was customary, but, at the same time, it is also located on the main town square. For this reason, it has a certain ‘communal’ value which seems to have been confirmed by the fact that its façade was provided with a more monumental articulation than was usually necessary for Venetian arsenal buildings. It features string courses, and the decorated arch cornice as well as the lions of St Mark. Another unusual feature is the addition of the first floor which, during the final remodelling in the early seventeenth century, housed the local theatre. This created an idiosyncratic symbiosis between the military and the civic, public function which confirmed the communal significance of this building.

Ključne riječi

arsenal, galley, theatre, Venetian Republic, Crete, Hvar

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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