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Palagruža - Beautiful island - lighthouse of Croatia.
Palagruža is some 1300 metres long and 350 metres wide. The highest point of the archipelago, on Vela Palagruža, is about 90 metres above sea-level, and on this elevation is a lighthouse.
Palagruža is surrounded by dangerous waters, and landing can be difficult. It is uninhabited, except by lighthouse staff and by summer tourists who occupy two units of residential accommodation. There is one beach of golden sand. The lighthouse is also the site of a meteorological station.
Legend and history:
For some, Palagruža is associated with the Homeric hero Diomedes, king of Argos, who is reputed to be buried here, though it is hard to imagine where. Speculation is fuelled by the discovery of a painted 6th-century B.C. Greek potsherd with the name Diomed[es] on it (see image on Adriatica). A shrine of the cult of Diomedes here is perfectly thinkable. Authentic archaeological finds of the Neolithic, Greek, Roman, and early medieval periods have been recorded (Adriatic Islands Project).
It is reliably recorded that the galley-fleet of Pope Alexander III landed here on 9 March 1177.
Palagruža is closer to Italy than to the Croatian mainland, being some 42 km from Monte Gargano. Before 1861, it belonged to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and after 1861 therefore to Italy, but was ceded to Austria-Hungary by the Dreikaiserbund treaty ('Three Emperors' Alliance') in 1873. The first action of the new authorities was to build the important lighthouse mentioned above, in 1875. It reverted to Italy between the two World Wars, as part of the province of Zara (now Zadar, Croatia), and was ceded to Yugoslavia in 1947. Since the break-up of Yugoslavia, it has formed part of the sovereign territory of Croatia. It is the centre of a traditional fishing-ground of the community of Komiža, island of Vis, Croatia (Bozanic 1973, Gamulin 2000).
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