Jelsa is located in the central part of the Island of Hvar, surrounded by pinewoods, lavender, vineyards, olive trees, and clear sky-blue sea. The climate is pleasant with mild winters and hot summers, with many hours of sunshine per year. The town of Jelsa was founded in the 14th century, as a port of nearby village Pitve. From fishing and agricultural small town, Jelsa has developed into a ship building and maritime center, especially during the 19th century. The town prospered and became the administrative seat for the central district of the Island of Hvar.
Modern Jelsa is a bustling town, with many small businesses and the local administrative center. Jelsa is also an important tourist center of the island with a regular catamaran services to Split and Bol.
The island itself has a long over 140 years tradition in tourism as the tourism officially began in 1868, although it has been practiced as far back as ancient Roman times. The oldest hotel in Jelsa dates from 1911 year. Today, the island of Hvar is a favorite destination for tourists, listed as one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world by Traveler magazine.
Jelsa with its numerous churches, squares, parks, caves and historical places is worth exploring. The most interesting places to visit are Humac and Grapče cave, old town of Jelsa (Civitas Vetus Ielsae) and the remains of the Tor tower.
Humac is an abandoned village located about 7 km east of Jelsa. It was formerly a pastoral village founded in the 17th century and is situated at a height of 350 meters above sea level.
Grapče Cave is located in the central part of the island of Hvar near the old village Humac. This cave is an important archaeological site from the Neolithic Age and is a protected cultural-historical monument since 1964.
From the old town of Jelsa, only the remnants of the old defensive city walls and the Roman legionnaires houses remind us of the tumultuous history and the old importance of the ancient village, the old town of Jelsa (Civitas Vetus Ielsae). There was also an Augustinian Monastery in today's cemetery site, dating back from 1605 to 1787 while only the church with its original tower remained preserved until today.
Tor is a tower dating back from the 4th century B. C. and is located south of Jelsa. It is build from large stone blocks of regular forms, using the dry stone wall technique. The Tor Tower was once a Greek reconnaissance post and was built on the foundations of the old Illyrian fortress.
Holy Thursday and Good Friday - a procession „Following the Cross“
Over the last 500 years, the ceremonies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday are denoted in a special way. At the same time, the procession sets out from six locations on the Hvar Island: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska and attracts numerous believers outside the island of Hvar.
Day of Jelsa Municipality and the Feast of the Assumption 15.08.
The celebration includes church events: a sacramental evening Mass with a procession and a concert of parochial children's choir. Entertainment in the evening is guaranteed with live music that last long into the night.
Wine festivity - Last weekend of August
Every year, during the last weekend in August, very known "Wine Festival" is organized in Jelsa with duration of two days. All visitors can enjoy the local specialties, the best Croatian wines and plenty of fun starting from the afternoon with donkey race, over the tug of war, ham blasting... to concerts of famous Croatian artists.
More information at: www.tzjelsa.hr.