Buses leave Vis harbour five times daily for the 25-minute trip to the pleasant town of KOMIZA, the island's main fishing port. Compact and intimate, Komiža's curved harbourfront is lined with palm trees and fringed by sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Venetian-style houses with intricate wrought-iron balconies. Dominating the southern end of the harbour is the Kaštel, a stubby sixteenth-century fortress whose appearance is slightly unbalanced by the slender clock tower which was built onto one of its corners at the end of the nineteenth century. It now holds a Fishing Museum (Ribarski muzej), whose worthy displays of nets and knots are enlivened by the presence of a reconstructed falkusa, one of the traditional fishing boats with triangular sails which were common hereabouts until the early twentieth century. At the other end of the harbour, on a tiny square known as the Škor (local dialect for skver, the part of the harbourfront onto which fishing boats were pulled up for repairs), the mid-sixteenth-century Palača Zanetova is a stately but dilapidated building which was once a ducal mansion - look out for the carved Virgin and Child high up on the front wall.
Among the town's churches, the most notable is the sixteenth-century Gospa Gusarica, whose name loosely translates as "Our Lady of the Pirates" - it's said that a painting of the Virgin was stolen from the church by pirates, but floated back into port when they were shipwrecked.The church is set amid trees on a little beach at the northern end of town near the Wevo hotel, and well has an eight-sided we adorned with reliefs of St Nicholas, protector of fish- ermen and patron of Komiža.
About a kilometre southeast of the town on a vineyard-cloaked hillock is the seventeenth-century Benedictine monastery (known as muster, the local dialect word for monastery), fortified in the 1760s to provide the townsfolk with a refuge in case of attack by pirates. Surrounded by defensive bastions, it's a good vantage point from which to survey the bay of Kon-Iiia below. Most of the island's population congregate beneath the monastery every year on St Nicholas's Day (Sveti Nikola; Dec 6), when an old fishing boat is hauled here by hand and then set alight - the idea of sacrificing a boat to the patron saint of seafarers reveals just how much pre-Christian practice is preserved in Mediterranean Catholicism.
The best of the beaches are south of town: head past the Kastel, follow the road round for ten minutes, head round the back of the fish canning factory, and you'll find yourself on a coastal path that leads past a sequence of attractive coves.
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