Cara (pronounced: Cha-ra) is a typical Mediterranean village located in the central part of Korcula Island, along the main road and approx. 25 km west from Korcula Town. Cara is one of the oldest villages on the island and as a settlement was established somewhere in the 8th or 9th century. Cara was built on the south slope of its surrounding hills, just above the large and fertile field called “Carsko polje” (translated: Field of Cara), covered with olive groves and vineyards. Due to its location, Cara enjoys a lot of sunshine all year round, especially in the winter when its southern position gives this village an abundance of pleasurable afternoon sunshine.
Today this little inland village has around 500 inhabitants mostly dedicated to winemaking, but also other forms of agriculture, like growing olive trees and making top quality olive oil. Although successful in all forms of agriculture, winemaking is a trademark of this village and a thing that makes it famous even worldwide. Vineyards were cultivated with the island’s native sort of grapes called “Posip” (pronounced: Po-sheep) and nurtured throughout the centuries by hardworking and diligent people from Cara who respected and preserved traditional heritage, but also accepted modern day winemaking techniques. All of that resulted in Korcula’s most famous white wine, also named Posip, winner of many awards for its quality in both Croatia and Europe and the first legally protected white wine in Croatia.
Besides excellent wines, Cara is worth visiting because of its historical and cultural heritage. In the center of the village, there is the parish church of St. Peter, dating back from 15th century and placed above the church altar is a painting by the Renaissance Venetian painter Leandro Bassano which is called „Visitation of Jesus Christ to His Disciples“. Next to the church, on the small paved square, you will find a huge (approx. 50 m tall) cypress tree that is couple of hundred years old (some say it is even 500 years old!) and probably one of the oldest cypress trees in Europe. Because of its size and age, this tree was protected by law in the late 1825 and today remains protected under Croatian laws for the preservation of nature.
Opposite the parish church of St. Peter, there is a monument to the brave family of Crnomiri. According to a legend, they were a powerful family with 9 brothers and sisters and under the leadership of Petar Crnomir they offered resistance to the Venetian duke who was extorting tribute in the 11th century. The duke captured and executed Petar, but the other brothers, together with the whole village, rose up and defeated the duke’s soldiers, killing the duke as an evil-doer.
Another small church is situated in the Field of Cara and is mentioned for the first time in a manuscript from 1329. Reconstructed in the 17th century, the Church of Our Lady in the Field has an impressive marble altar with a painted relief of alabaster of English origin from the 14th or 15th century, with four scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary (the Annunciation, the Birth of Jesus, the Gift of the Three Kings, and the Coronation). According to tradition, Our Lady appeared to a shepherd girl in the small near by bay of Cavica Luka on July 25th, 1868. Since then people from all over the island go on pilgrimage to this church, preserving their traditions on two Catholic feasts: on September 8th for the feast of “Mala Gospa” and July 25th, the feast of St. Jacob the protector of Cara when a great ceremony is held with a church procession that walks around the whole Field of Cara, carrying the figure of the Virgin Mary from the altar.
Cara also preserved traditional sword dance of Kumapnjija and its main annual performance is held every year also on the feast of St. Jacob, on July 25th. Together with other preserved old customs and traditions and with the excellent wines and interesting history, Cara should be a place of interest for every visitor of Korcula Island.