The name Baska Voda is mythological in origin and is linked with Biston, the patriarch of the Thracian Biston tribe, son of Ares, the Greek god of war, and the goddess Calliope, protectress of water. The military fort and springs near Baska Voda bear out this theory. Some of the richest archaeological sites that have yielded finds from Roman times are on the heights of Gradina and its surroundings.
These include burial sites with urns, lamps, jewellery, coins with the head of Alexander Severus Aurelianus and headstones bearing the names of 13 of the ancient inhabitants of Baška Voda, the loveliest of which commemorates a boy called Ursinus, who died in a shipwreck between 100 and 150 AD.
Baska Voda first appeared on the “Coranelli” geographical map, produced in 1688, as “Basca”. It was a small village which thrived on agriculture and fishing. The Late Baroque church of St. Lovro (Laurence), built in 1750, probably occupies an Antique site, while the parish church of St. Nikola (Nicholas), the patron saint of travellers and sailors, was built in the early 20th century.
Inherited from God and man, somewhere between the sea and mountains, between deeds and dreams. Since prehistory and the Illyrians, ancient times and Roman Aronia, right up to the modern days, traces have survived and enriched people.
Archeological findings testify about life in the area of today's Baška Voda around 4.000 BC, and the main motif of inhabiting this area was the source of fresh water. In the Bronze age, in the times of cattle farmers moving to the Mediterranean, there comes to conflicts among different tribes around the water source and pasture-grounds, so at the elevation Gradina in the centre of today's town, for the defense of the water source, a forted settlements were formed which bulwark were made of dry-wall.
In the ancient times on the position of Baška Voda there was a settlement called Aronia; besides the archeological findings, scientists corroborate their claim with Tabula Peutingeriana, a map on which a homonymous settlement is marked right on the place of today's Baška Voda. In the late antiquity, from the end of the IV to the VII century there comes to the invasion of the barbaric peoples so the inhabitants rise a fort on Gradina to hide from the attacks, but also to control the entrance to the Brač canal. The residues of the walls of the settlement are visible on Gradina even today, and the numerous findings of amphoras and other ceramic material speak about the trade relations with the north Africa, the east Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Not far-away from Gradina a considerable amount of graves from the late ancient times are found, with multitude of grave supplements (lucernes, jewelery, glass dishes, little statues of Euterpa and Cupid etc). Beside the Roman, some tomb-stone writings state Illyrian names, by which it can be concluded that along with the Romans, there was a numerous autochthonous Illyrian population. Archeological findings on a wider area testify about the existence of multiple villae rusticae. In the VII century there comes to the breakthrough of the Slavs who conquer Aronia and it ceases to exist.
During the subsequent thousand years there are no traces of an urban life by the sea. Only the sheppards from Bast lead their cattle to the seaside and watered them at bascza voda, a source of fresh water and it is needed to be assumed that the first constructions were built as shelters for the sheppard.
In the end of the XVII century, with the disappearance of the danger from the pirates and after the expulsion of the Turks in 1684, the population is returned to the coast and slowly builds a new settlement , which name, Baška Voda, is mentioned for the first time in 1688. The first public construction is the late-baroque St. Lawrence's church, built in 1750, on the foundations of an ancient construction. Along with land farming, the population also turns to the sea, to fishing and navigation. The first school is opened in 1845, the St Nicolas' church in neoromanesque style is built in 1889 and the first post-office in 1900.
With the construction of the pier in 1912, Baška Voda becomes an important harbor of the area and the intensive trade between the islands and the hinterland was led through it.
In the 1930s the Sikavica brothers build the first hotel in Baška Voda called Slavija which in 1936 on The World exhibition in London receives the recognition and gold medals for comfortness, cuisine and fine wine. The society for beautifying the town is founded in 1933, and the considerable development of tourism starts after the Adriatic road was built. Over the last twenty years Baška Voda has been the most popular tourist destination in the Middle Dalmatia, and with the new millennium also one of the best decorated tourist places on the croatian Adriatic and several years in a row Baška Voda is receiving the «Blue flower» with the golden mark, the most prestigious prize for tourism in Croatia.
(SOURCE: tz Baska Voda)
Images: 1) St. Lawrence Chapel (1750), 2) St.Nicholas' Church (1889), 3) The Church of Assumption (1636), 4) St. Rocco Chapel (XV), 5) The Church of All Saints (1999), 6) st. Nikola statue