Island at the End of Summer – Part 3

“KAP” in the name of our kite team stands for “kite aerial photography. And after all the kite workshops (part 1) and kite flying (part 2) you bet we did a kite aerial photography session on the beautiful island of Prvić!

Alas, as we learned in Part 2 of our kite adventures on the island, maestral wind had other ideas.

Maestral blows from the sea, bounces off the church, other buildings, the trees and the hill behind and deflects upwards. The air cools, rolls back over the sea and drops down, completing the cycle. Flying a kite in those conditions is difficult: the kite goes up and then in just kinda stays suspended in the raising air. Nudging it higher could cause it to overfly and crash into the sea behind, so this KAP session was, well, … height-challenged.

But still fun.

Žare of the Zmajoljupci – Croatian Kite Association flew a revolution kite, doing all sorts of tricks in the air – and the camera on the rokkaku was perfectly positioned to capture it.

The island of Prvić got its name because it is the first (‘prvi’) island, nearest to the mainland (though the name might have taken a longer route through the Greek Proteras (‘proto’ = first), and maybe the Slavic god of spring Prvin was involved too). It is cute and small – 3 km long, 1.5 km wide, with less than 400 inhabitants (the number swells enormously during the Summer). The coastline is just over 10 km long, and the highest point (called Vitković) rising 79 m above the sea. There are two cute little towns on Prvić, Prvić Luka and Šepurine.

The architectural ensemble of Prvić Luka is a protected cultural monument of Croatia – and it’s not difficult to see why.

The church of Our Lady of Grace and the monastery founded by friars of the Third Order of Saint Francis dominate the view. The monastery and the church are from the 15th century; the island was mostly deserted until the rich families from Šibenik started to retreat here in the times of plague, and the population grew with the refugees from the mainland towns of Srima and Vodice during the Ottoman conquests in the 16th and 17th century.

Luckily the ‘modern’ architecture left Prvić Luka alone; there are no hideous hotels and apartment blocks here. The only more recent intervention is the main square in front of the church with a children’s playground and a monument dedicated to the WWII antifascist fighters of Prvić – and the really cool Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre.

Faust Vrančić is probably one of the greatest, the most important, visionary, and prolific inventors you have never heard about. A true Renaissance man, a polymath, a diplomat and bishop was born in Šibenik in 1551, and spent his youth on Prvić.

The World War II monument at the main square of Prvić Luka

Faust took his studies in Venice and at the University of Padua, mastering engineering, mechanics, physics, and law. He joined the court of the crazy king Rudolf II in Prague, discussing stuff with people like Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe. He was a nominal bishop of Csanád before returning to Venice and then going to Rome to join the Brotherhood of St Paul of Tarsus. He died in Venice in 1617 and was buried in Prvić Luka, on his beloved island of Prvić.

The public well shaped like an olive press pays respect to the ancient art of making olive oil on Prvić

Faust was a prolific author who in a true Renaissance tradition swung effortlessly from one scientific pursuit to another. In 1595 he published a dictionary – Dictionarium quinque nobilissimarum Europae linguarum – of five ‘most noble’ European languages: Latin, Italian, German, Croatian (he called it ‘Dalmatian’) and Hungarian.

Faust Vrančić’s masterpiece is a huge book Machinae Novae – ‘New machines; a sort of mechanical and engineering manual describing numerous inventions and technical solutions ranging from flood protection to better olive presses, to suspension bridges – that couldn’t be built back then as a suitable material hadn’t been invented yet – to mills and turbines and clocks etc. … and presenting his most fascinating invention: the Homo volans parachute.

The legend – that maybe really isn’t just a legend – says a man jumped from the tower in Venice with his parachute, thus making (and surviving!) the first BASE jump in history. A reconstruction of Homo volans adorns the entrance to the Faust Vrančić Memorial centre; this modern museum is dedicated to his life and his inventions and is totally worth a visit!

And with this short kite aerial photography session our kite adventures on Prvić were over. The Summer ended, it was time to leave.

To be back next year, of course! 🙂

All kite aerial photos shot with Nikon P330 on The Spark rokkaku.

Again – huge huge huge thanks to Antonia, to Drenka, Gaša, Vesna, Sara, Vlada, Simona, Tico, Martina and everyone, to Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, to Udruga Otok, to all the kids and their teachers, to other KDFV festival participants (especially to STEMerice for the coolest music ever), to Konoba Nanini, Restaurant Stara Makina and Konoba Mareta for the hospitality and really great food – and of course to all good people of Prvić Luka.


As this year KAP session was a bit underwhelming, enjoy these kite aerial photos of Prvić from 2021:

2 thoughts on “Island at the End of Summer – Part 3”

  1. That place is a real gem. It’s remarkable that such a small population puts on an annual festival, and that they include kites in their programme. Thanks for showing these beautiful photographs.


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