Island of Cres (Cherso)
Cities, Towns and Hamlets

Belej (Beli)

Belej (Beli) is a village on the northeastern coast of the island of Cres (Cherso); population 107 (in 1972). Perched on an isolated, wooded hill (130 meters) it is exposed to south and northeasterly winds. Down by the sea, below the village, is the small port of Odbeli with a single beach which can be reached by a steep footpath. Beli has poor communications with the rest of the island; the inhabitants are chiefly occupied in farming and livestock production.

The circular form of the village and its location on an isolated hilltop suggest its prehistoric origin. The ancient name of the settlement Caput insulae became in the Romanic dialect La Fisole (about 1000). In the early Middle Ages Beli was a fortified Croatian town (castrum) and independent commune. The present settlement still has the character of a medieval fortification, with an irregular layout. The highest point of the village is taken up by a large square and the parish church (built on the foundations of an earlier Romanesque building and enlarged in the 18th century), a Romanesque spire, a small Romanesque chapel (St. Mary's), the city Loggia, with an interlacery relief fragment built into the wall, and a cistern in the center of the square. The sacristy of the parish church contains Romanesque copper crosses (13-14th centuries). There are several Romanesque chapels in teh surrounding area; the chapel at the cemetery is built in the style of folk Gothic (early 15th century).



  • The Yugoslav Coast, Guide and Atlas, Jugoslavenski Leksikografski Zavod, Zagreb (1972) 

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Created: Tuesday, August 24, 1999; Last updated: Friday, June 24, 2016
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