The Island of Korcula is the largest of the green islands of the Adriatic. From time immemorial it has been forested, which was why it was given the name Black Korcula during the colonisation of the ancient Greeks. The forests have for centuries been carefully protected as the timber was necessary for the valuable shipbuilding industry. Maritime contact with other parts of the Mediterranean existed two to three centuries before the time of Christ. Artisans of the ancient world used the famed stone from the small island of Vrnik. This stone was used to build many lovely Dalmatian cities as well as some of the most famous buildings such as the Basilica of St.Sofie in Carigrad, the parliament in Vienna and the townhall in Stockholm. And of course the town of Korcula was built from this same stone. The ancient heart of the city lies on a peninsula. The reason for this position was so that from the city towers the population could more effectively monitor the navigation of galleys and sailing boats from the eastern coast of the Adriatic. The fortifications and narrow streets prove irresistible to todays visitor just as it impressed medieval writers and travel writers. One of the most famous travel writers, Marco Polo, began his lifes journey in this town. The house in which he was born has been restored and preserved, and it was also in this town that he lost his freedom. In the battle near Korcula he ws captured and taken to Genoa and then sentenced to prison. It was in prison that he wrote his book Milion about his travels to China which caused a sensation in western civilised society as they were brought into shock contact with the Far East. The villagers on the island are renowned olive growers, fishermen, and wine producers. In some localities such produce is known to have been served during the time of the ancient Greeks. Vineyards of Blato, Lumbarda, Carsko poje and Smokvisko poje have been familiar to the wine drinking world for many, many years, and the names of some wines, for example Posip, Grk and Rukatac with their excellent quality, have been synonymous with the identity of this island.