The Arsenal is a most impressive example of secular architecture. The present building was built between 1579 and 1611 on the site of a building from the 13th century which had been destroyed by the Turks in 1571. With its 10 m span arched doorway this building served as a store for war galleys. Whilst renovating the Arsenal Count Pietro Semitecolo of Hvar had a theatre built on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. This was one of the ﬁrst community theatres in Europe. In terms of time, it comes between the theatre in Vicenza (Palladios Teatro Olimpico) of 1580 and the theatre in Parma (Teatro Farnese, 1618).
The theatre has been renovated several times, but two rows of the present boxes date from 1800. Apart from dramas, tragedies and comedies, pastorals were also performed in the Hvar theatre. Theatrical life in Hvar did not begin when the theatre was built.; even before, performances took place, in front of the cathedral. Hvar also had its own writers who have an important place in the national culture. These include Hanibal Lucic (c.1485-1553) the author of The Slave Girl (Robinja) and Martin Benetovic (died 1607) who wrote The Girl from Hvar (Hvarkinja). The theatrical life of Hvar is not just a historical concept, and it is still such an important part of the national culture that in the theatre building performances are still often given by many professional and amateur ensembles.
The Gallery of Contemporary Art
This contains some 40 paintings and sculptures, among which the most important names of Croatian modern art are represented (Emanuel Vidovic, Frano Simunovic, Ivo Dulcic, Miljenko Stancic and others).
The City Loggia
Right next to the arsenal there is a Renaissance building which some have attributed to the Veronese architect Girolamo Sanmicheli, but which was in fact built later by, amongst others, the Koréulan master Tripun Bokanié. Beside the loggia there is a clock tower. lt was at one time a tower linking the wall around the Count’s palace, which was demolished in the 19th century. The tower received its present appearance in the 18th century.