Kapetanova ruta falkuša

The Palagruža Archipelago, the remotest Croatian archipelago,
has always been a rich source of blue fish.
Owing to gajeta falkuša, until the 19th century the fishermen of Komiža
were the only offshore fishermen capable of sailing
as far as to Palugraža to catch large quantities of European pilchard.


Rota Palagruzona is believed to be the regatta with the longest tradition not only in the Mediterranean but also in Europe.
The regatta was reinitiated in 2009 on the initiative of Ars Halieutica. Rota Palagruzona is an on-going project aiming to re-affirm maritime culture as an equally important element of the overall national culture. With the support of the municipality of Komiža, Palagruža Association and Alternatura agency from Komiža, this historical regatta with the longest tradition in Europe became a cultural good of the first-class interest on the national level.


Over the past centuries, the island of Vis had been the most vulnerable Dalmatian island and the one most exposed to pirate attacks. The location of the town of Komiža, facing the open sea, was particularly sensitive.
During the 16th century, the authorities of the Venetian Republic identified the problem, which resulted in their decision to construct a fortification, currently known as Komuna and located at the very centre of the town of Komiža. Having in mind that the Venetians had never finalised the construction of the facility, the township of Komiža introduced a special fish tax to finance the finalization of construction works on that impressive fortress. However, the fortress could not protect fishermen fishing in the open sea so that they had to organise mass regattas in order to confront powerful pirates in the case of an attack. Hence, with the beginning of each fishing night up to five hundred oarsmen, on about one hundred gajetas, started the regatta from Komiža in the direction of the remote Palagruža.
There were also competing with each other to conquer and very inaccessible coastline along the island of Palagruža. The fastest ones would win the best locations on the island for getting their boats out, salting the fish, draying cotton fishnets and similar. With the rising of the Moon and after exhausting fishing and salting tasks, the fishermen would return to Komiža with baskets of salted fish filled to the brim.
The winners of the regatta were considered heroes in Komiža and their glory was passed onto many generations to come. They were the ones capable of forming the best crews made of the most resilient and agile fishermen who were able to row from Komiža to Palagruža if there was no wind, from sunrise to sunset, incessantly and inside of heavy of gajatas filled with salt and all the equipment necessary for a twenty-day-long fishing venture at the Palagruža Archipelago. In terms of rowing, Rota Palagužona was the longest sea marathon in the world and a unique adventure that required surpassing the limits of human physical abilities. 


On 9 March 1177, Komiža fishermen welcomed Pope Alexander III on the beaches of Palagruža. The Pope had embarked on a trip to Venice with his fleet but had to pull up along the coast of Palagruža due to bad weather. The next day, the Komiža falkušas lead the Pope’s galleys on their way to Komiža, where the Pope consecrated the Church of St. Nicholas. Also, as a sign of gratitude to the fishermen who helped him, the Pope granted indulgence to all fishermen who went fishing on holy days. According to the records of the Pope’s biographer Boson, the fishermen prepared a dinner for the Pope on the island of Palagruža. As an evocation of this 12th century event, the “Pope’s Dinner” is held on the beaches of Palagruža every year, organized by the crews of the boats participating in the regatta (according to professor Joško Božanić, PhD).

ALTERNATURA putnička agencija d.o.o.
Hrvatskih mučenika 2, 21485 Komiža, Hrvatska, HR-AB-21-060191881
telefoni: +385 21 717 239, +385 91 945 8003;
email: alternatura@alternatura.hr

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