PRAŽNICE


Pražnica is an ancient medieval municipality located in the central part of the island at 400m above sea level. For centuries its inhabitants derived their sustenance from traditional cattle-farming thanks to the rich pastures and the many nearby watering holes which do not run dry even in the hottest weather. Today this small but picturesque stone place of some 350, mostly older, inhabitants, with its authentic cuisine—the noted Brač cheese, bread baked under a bell (peka) and lamb roasted on spit—is venturing into tourism. Only a hundred years ago this place had as many as 850 inhabitants but in the meantime the majority emigrated, mostly to the US and Chile.

The name Pražnica derives from the verb "pražiti", which means to burn low growing shrubbery and weeds. It is interesting to note that the same root can be found in the name of the Czech capital city, Prague (Prag).

The houses in Pražnica are mostly modest, peasant cottages, but in the last couple of years many have been renovated using the original Brač stone characteristic of the area. There are a number of prehistoric stone mounds in the vicinity which the local people refer to as "Greek". On the west side of the village there is a striking landscape built of dry wall around Lokva where rainwater is collected at the bottom of a valley planted with vineyards. Due to its exceptionally harmonious appearance this location has been nominated for the status of a significant landscape.

The oldest church in Pražnica is the 13th century church of St Ciprijan (Cyprian) located in the picturesque local cemetery, Čimatorij, at the top of a rising avenue of striking cypress trees. Inside the church there is a renaissance stone relief with the year 1467 carved at the bottom. The relief holds a special place in the art history of Dalmatia because it is considered that it was produced in the workshop of the famous Nikola Firentinac (Niccolò of Florence).

The parish church of Pražnica was built in 1400 and expanded in 1776. The iconographic elements of the stone relief depicting St Jerolim (St Jerome) in a cave and, in the upper part, Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus, point to works by the famous Dalmatian 15th century master, Andrija Aleši (Andrea di Alesio), who procured his stone from Brač, coming over to the island in person.

The church of All Saints is situated at Selo. It was built in 1638 by A. Mihovilović, and even though it was built in the 17th century one can still notice elements of the Romanesque-Gothic style. The belfry was built using the same square stones as were used in the church and is considered to be the oldest known belfry in Dalmatia built in the traditional "na preslicu" manner (literally "on a distaff", meaning there is a cleft at the top left for the bell, just like the gap at the top of a distaff for holding wool).

The beauty of Pražnica lies in its seclusion, in its meditative surroundings that offer real peace and tranquility. However, it doesn't mean that it lacks the basic infrastructure that makes everyday easier: a shop, a post office, a church…

In 2009 this little town on the hilly side of Brač got three new beautiful buildings that now create a one-of-a-kind ethno-hamlet at the end of the village. Luxury villas with swimming pools - Anja, Luči and Demi - were built with love as well as Brač stone in order to create safe havens for families or groups of friends.