Gajeta Falkuša - Preserving Our Heritage for the Future

written by Joško Božanić


The historical origin of the falkuša


The story of the falkuša is more than a story of a type of fishing boat rescued from oblivion at the last moment. It is the story of an insular world of the most remote inhabited Croatian island of Vis, the story of collective memory preserved in oral tradition of an island which preserves its cultural specificity, but at the same time belongs to the universe of the Mediterranean maritime culture.


As a type of fishing boat, the falkuša came from the ancient Greek tradition, as evidenced in the name of falkuša, from the Greek term falkes – fence, referring to a detachable fence that can be placed on boat sides to protect the boat from waves, or removed to make the boat lower when fishing. The word gajeta was created after the Italian city of Gaeta on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, whereas the city of Gaeta, according to the legend, was named after the Trojan hero Aeneas’ wet nurse. Kaieta, as Virgil sings in the Aeneid, died on the shore where Aeneas’ fleet landed, and Gaeta, a city bearing her name, was built on the site.