Stari Grad has a longhistory. Therewas a village here even as far back as prehistoric times, however the first documented traces were found in 384 B.C. when settlers from the Greekis land of Paros founded the polis or city-state of Faros. Stari Grad’s most famous ancient habitant is general Demetrius, a short-term governor of the Illyrian state and an associate of powerful Hannibal from Kartaga.
Trg sv. Stjepana (St. Stephen’s Square) in front of the parish church of the same name, which was the first cathedral in Hvar, is the most important public space in the Stari Grad. In the past, sentences were passed here and agreements were made, whilst today, now the daily rhythms of its inhabitants and guests have moved to Riva, it has become an oasis of silence and contemplation.
St. Stephen’s church is a baroque building whose construction started in 1605, after the old cathedral and bishop’s court had been blown down.
The Church tower dates back to 1753 and its base and groundfloor are built of large stone blocks which were taken from the ancient city walls as is mentioned in the inscription over the church tower doorway.
Petar Hektorović’s Tvrdalj (1487 – 1572) with a fish-pondand a dove-cotoverit, is the most famous building in Stari Grad. This renaissance poet built it through out his entire life and it had the same importance for him as his literary work.
There he realized the idea of microcosms – a small, enclosed world where all divine creatures – fish, birds, herbs and people (himself, his friends, a holy woman, paupers and travellers) had a space to live.