Krk - Veglia Island
Cities, Towns and Hamlets

Krk: Golden Island

June 12, 1998, p.8.
Croatian Information Centre
PRESS CUT - Croatian Press News in English - June 26, 1998

Rich in olive-groves and vineyards, nature and monuments, beautiful bays and sand beaches, Krk is attractive not only to sailors, but also to others who can reach the island by land or plane Krk has been called the "golden island" since Roman times for it has always been a symbol of wealth. While abundant olive-groves and luxuriant grapes grew here, cattle were scattered over lush pastures and pubescent oak trees (Quercus pubescens) rose up to the sky. Fish scales shimmered on fishing nets, sea salt smelled of iodine and rich cloths were woven. This is what it was like during the Roman times. Although Krk is proud of other riches today, it still deserves to be called "the golden island."

The largest Croatian island, Krk is situated in the Kvarner region on the northern Adriatic. Connected to land by a bridge, it is easily accessible. In addition, it has a large airport which can receive airplanes from all over the world. Once you reach the island, all you have to decide is where to go. The possibilities are numerous: nautical Punat, monastic Kosljun, the Roman town of Krk, Glagolitic Vrbnik, wooded Malinska, the swimming centre of Baska, gentle Njivice or perhaps the town of Dobrinj, situated on the hill in the interior of the island from where you can see the entire island of Krk.

The town of Krk was already an urbanised settlement during the Roman times, and it has been the island's main town ever since. The remains of the Roman walls can even be seen today. The four twelfth-century towers of the Frankopan castle rise up over the seaside. Meanwhile, the cathedral was built on the remains of Roman baths in the fifth and sixth centuries.

Today's cathedral is the result of multiple reconstruction and rebuilding efforts. St. Quirinus, a two-story Romanesque church, was built besides the cathedral's fašade. The town is described by a fourth-century stone inscription which mentions Krk as "spendissima civitas Curicratum," or the "magnificent town of the Krk residents." The first tourist organisation, the Society for the Embellishment of the City, was already established in this magnificent town in 1866.

The largest marina on the Croatian Adriatic is situated nearby in Punat, a deep bay protected from the wind and capricious winter waves. As a result, Punat is known for being a reliable winter resort for numerous European sailboats and other boats. The oldest Adriatic shipyard for the construction of wooden ships was once located here. A superbly-equipped marina developed out of the shipyard, and it still contains a shipyard which is suitable for the repair of modern boats. In addition to the marina, Punat is also famous for its excellent olive oil which is still produced in the traditional way.

The small island of Kosljun, situated in the middle of Punat Bay, should be visited at all costs. Inhabited since the Roman times, the Franciscans have been living on this island since the fifteenth century. The gothic Franciscan monastery is an important cultural centre, for sacral, ethnographic, library, archaeological, numismatic, scientific and musicological collections have all been gathered here throughout the centuries. In addition to the Ptolemaic Atlas, many other fourteenth-century manuscripts on parchment, incunabula and missals are kept here. A beautiful flora and fauna natural reserve is situated around the monastery.

On the other stony side of the island, facing the land, the town of Vrbnik is nested on a cliff overlooking the sea. This naturally protected position favoured an early development of the settlement, which was founded in prehistoric times. Today's town is the preservation of the features of a medieval settlement which was raised by the Krk dukes of Frankopan. By the fourteenth century, the town had its charter written in the Glagolitic script. In the famous fifteenth-century library of Vrbnik resident Dinko Vitezic, five thousand volumes are held, including the most valuable Glagolitic manuscripts from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as well as several incunabula. Thus, Vrbnik is a strong Glagolitic center; engraved Glagolitic inscriptions can even be found on numerous churches in Vrbnik and in the surrounding areas. At its foot, Vrbnik has a beautiful little port, while deep fertile vineyards and fields are found in the hinterland. 

In the autumn, when young wine is racked, the entire city smells of this golden drink. Vrbnicka Zlahtina is famous in the world. Today, Baska is famous for its two-kilometres of gravel beach. It is considered the most well-known tourist settlement on the island. One of the oldest Croatian-language written monuments, engraved in stone, the Baska Tablet was found nearby in the Benedictine Church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor, in Baska Bay. The Baska Tablet has a special meaning for Croatian culture and literature.

For those who decide to spend their summer by the sea, yet are still looking for some forest shade, they should definitely go to Malinska, which is located in an area called Dubasnica, named after the dub or oak forests.

In the woods surrounding Malinska, sea waves and treetops murmur. This can be enjoyed by the guests of the Haludovo hotel complex, which includes a "Fishing Village" which was built after a model of old island villages by the sea. Omisalj and the remains of the Roman settlement of Fulfinum are situated near Malinska. While Njivice is famous for its culinary specialities, all of these places have beautiful beaches. To reach the isolated picturesque beaches, boats can be rented in some tourist centres.

When you are on Krk, it is important to discover the interior of the island as well as the coast. Green on one side, the other side of the interior offers beautiful sights of the karst areas where the diligent hands of the islanders have been raising dry stone walls for centuries, dividing fields and pastures, as well as arid soil in which natural pools guaranteed survival. The vistas spreading out from the heights of Krk to the Kvarner region will remain in your memory for a long time to come.

 Vesna Kusin


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