Hvar - UNESCO island

Agava lace

Lace is a delicate fabric made of thread in various patterns originating from the Renaissance period on the Mediterranean and Western Europe. The main lacemaking techniques are needle point and bobbin lace. Nowadays, there are three main centres of lacemaking in Croatia, whose work is a continuation of the long-lasting lacemaking tradition. These are Lepoglava in Hrvatsko zagorje with bobbin lace, island Pag with needle point lace and island Hvar with agave lace.

Lacemaking in Hvar is specific for the material used and its exclusive attachment to Benedictine Convent, established in 1664. It is situated in a residential complex donated to Benedictine nuns by poet Hanibal Lucić’s family. The convent's most significant contribution was in education, as the nuns operated girls' primary school from 1826 to 1866. Today it is best known for its agave lace which is made since the 19th century.

The work on preparing threads is long and arduous. Thin, white threads are obtained from the core of fresh agave leaves, picked at a certain time of year and specially processed until they are ready for weaving. By custom, the thread is not worked during bora, as the cold dry air makes it brittle. The threads are woven into intricate patterns and resulting pieces are a symbol of Hvar.

Hvar lace, as part of the lacemaking in Croatia, was inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

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