Hvar is a city and port on the island of Hvar, part of Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia. The municipality has a population of 4,138 (2001) while the city itself is inhabited by 3,672 people, making it the largest settlement on the island of Hvar. It is situated on a bay in the south coast of the island, opposite from the other nearby towns of Stari Grad and Jelsa.
The city of Hvar has a long and distinguished history as center for trade and culture in the Adriatic. An independent commune within the Venetian Empire during the 13th to 18th centuries, it was an important naval base with a strong fortress above, encircling town walls and protected port. Cultural life thrived as prosperity grew, and Hvar is the site of one of the oldest surviving theatres in Europe, opened in 1612. The seven-century old walls still survive, as do many of the noble houses and public buildings from 15th - 17th centuries.
By the 19th century, the port of Hvar was no longer a military base, and The Hygienic Society of Hvar took the economy of the city and the island in a new direction. As one of the earliest "tourist boards" in Europe, it was founded in 1868 with the purpose of providing "good care for visitors". Today, the city has a variety of hotels, galleries, museums, and exhibitions, including the Arsenal, Loggia, the Croatian Institute, and the Hvar Heritage Museum with its art and archaeological collections.