Susak (Sansego) Island
Cities, Towns and Hamlets


Susak is a small islet formed from sand deposits (total area 6.3 sq. km) in the Kvarner Bay, southest of the Istrian peninsula and west of Lošinj. The northern part of the islet is slightly higher (Garba, 98 m).

The name Sansego comes from the Greek word Sansegus meaning oregano which grows in abundance on the island. A small percentage of natives still reside on the island which has increasingly become a popular tourist destination—especially during the peak summer months. Many of the people from Susak currently live in the United States, settling in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Almost the whole islet is covered with terraced vineyards. The only settlement is the village of the same name on the east coast. It consists of an older part situated at the edge of a sand plateau and a more recent part by the sea. In addition to wine growing (wine cellars and distillery) the inhabitants are engaged in fishing and fish processing; the surrounding sea offers good fishing grounds, particularly for sardines. By the village a sandy beach. Susak is a favourite excursion point for visitors to Lošinj and Cres. Communications via Mali Lošinj.

Mythical origins

"In Antiquity, when the archipelago was home to a Greek colony, the islands were called the Absyrtides. This is because, according to an episode in the legend of the Argonauts, Jason and Medea were said to have taken refuge here to escape pursuit by Absyrtus, the sorceress's brother, after they had stolen the golden fleece. Medea's brother found them, however, and fell into a trap she had laid: he was chopped into pieces and thrown into the sea where his body parts formed the many islets surrounding Cres and Losinj."[1]

Susak was already inhabited in Roman times. A Benedictine abbey (remains north of the church) stood beside the present village church in the 11th century. An 11th century cross is built into the wall above the side door; inside the church a Romanesque crucifix from the 12th century.

The inhabitants of the islet differ considerably from the inhabitants of the neighbouring islands in language, customs and costume. They still observe extremely interesting traditional customs connected with weddings, the wine harvest and the carnival, and the women still wear traditional folk costumes.

Notes:

  1. Knopf, Alfred (2005). Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast. Knopf Guides.

Sources:

  • The Yugoslav Coast, Jugoslavenski Leksikografski Zavod (Zagreb, 1972)
  • Image - Roman Klementschitz, Vienna, Austria

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Created: Sunday, March 30, 2008; Last updated: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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