Republic of Croatia
Palagruža– is a small, remote archipelago of dolomite in the middle of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.
It consists of one main island, called Vela or Velika (‘Great’) Palagruža, and one smaller one, Mala (‘Little’) Palagruža, and there are twenty or so other closely-associated rocks or reefs. All the main islets are in the form of steep ridges.
The place is some 123 km south of Split, Croatia, and 160 east of Pescara, Italy. It is visible from land only from other remote islands of Italy and Croatia. The archipelago is the southernmost point of the Republic of Croatia and its most inaccessible part. It can be reached only by chartered motor-boat, requiring a journey of two to three hours from the island of Korčula.
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.
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.