The Bay of Mali Ston, enclosed by the Pelješac peninsula and the mainland on Croatia’s southern coast. has been a perfect place for shellfish farming since ancient times due to its favourable conditions.
This passage is also home to a picturesque little island called Otok Života, or Island of Life of Life. It is also locally known as Govan or Govanj.
The island is covered with Mediterranean vegetation, primarily Aleppo pine, olive trees, and maquis.
Otok Života belongs to the municipality of Ston and spans only 0.011 square kilometres in the Bay of Mali Ston. Despite its very limited space, over the years, 11 structures have been built here for both private and public purposes.
The island once housed a shipyard, a children’s resort, and some buildings were adapted for research and scientific work by the Institute of Marine Research from Split.
In the last hundred years, the island has changed several owners – it belonged to the Bandur family from Mali Ston, and in the 1930s, it was purchased by wealthy banker and shipowner Božo Banac from Dubrovnik, who built a house for himself and his guests. After World War II, it became the property of the state, namely the municipality of Ston.
Today, only one person lives on the island – Prospera Pavić – who has spent more than 80 years on the island and has no plans to leave.
“Thank God, I have everything here, much more than I need,” she told RTL.
She enjoys the peace and quiet, the stunning views of the surrounding area, and occasional visits from her family on the mainland.