Kalafati – the soul of wooden shipbuilding

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On the area of Croatia first ship draft, about 4700 years old, was found in Grapčeva Cave on the island of Hvar. Galija was one of the most interesting boats during middle ages on the Mediterranean coast, it was powered by oars and sails, while its length came up to 50 m.

 Wooden shipbuilding on Murter
The island of Murter is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands on the Adriatic. It enjoys the status of the Adriatic centre of wooden shipbuilding. Together with Korčula, Murter has the longest tradition of shipbuilding on the Adriatic. In 1848 a very modern shipyard was opened and the tradition has been kept up to the present day.  For centuries now skilled craftsmen of wooden shipbuilding make wooden boats of leut, kaić, bracera and gajeta type.

Gajeta from Betina was first made for transport purposes, while gajeta made in Korčula was first used as a fishing boat, often driven only by oar power.

Gajeta boat served not only as transport, but also as cargo ships for cattle, olives and grapes transport from islands to mainland. Originally, the boat was 6 m long, 2, 5 m wide and 70 cm high. Gajetas, leuts and other small wooden boats helped the people of Murter to support their families for centuries.

drvena brodogradnja

On the island of Murter there are 5 small private shipyards in which firm, traditional wooden boats are manually made by proficient craftsmen. With this article we would like to emphasise the importance of preserving wooden shipbuilding and beautiful shipbuilding craft in general. Preservation and development of traditional crafts like wooden shipbuilding present a great potential for tourism and economy development of Dalmatian islands.

There is a growing appreciation of wooden shipbuilding and wooden boats as a form of tourist attraction that is not connected to any particular part of the season (a visit to shipyard, a ride on gajeta on Latinsko Idro manifestation etc.)

Latinsko Idro is a reminder of a certain way of life, one spiritual world and its existence.

This post is also available in: Croatian