Hvar’s location at the center of the Adriatic sailing routes has long made this island an important base for commanding trade up and down the Adriatic. It has been inhabited since pre-historic times, originally by a Neolithic people whose distinctive pottery gave rise to the term Hvar culture and later by the Illyrians. The ancient Greeks founded the colony of Pharos in 384 BC on the site of today’s Stari Grad, making it one of the oldest towns in Europe. They were also responsible for setting out the agricultural field divisions of the Stari Grad Plain, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In medieval times, Hvar Croatia rose to importance within the Venetian Empire as a major naval base. Prosperity brought culture and the arts, with one of the first public theatres in Europe.