About Rab Island
The ancient settlement of Arnia (Arba, Arva) was first mentioned in the 1st century BC, in a document in which Tsar Octavius Augustus proclaims it a town and municipality. The Croatian name Rab first appeared in the records documenting the establishment of the Franciscan Monastery in 1446.
There is just the one main town on the island; set on a narrow isthmus Rab Town is instantly recognisable for the four church bell towers that pierce the skyline. In fact, Rab has one of the densest concentrations of fine buildings in Croatia - monasteries, churches, palaces, showcasing a wealth of European architectural styles from early mediaeval to Baroque.
In the north of the island, Kampor has an excellent setting and a Franciscan monastery; Lopar, set on some fine beaches is a growing resort. Ferries and catamaran services allow the visitor to arrive and depart the mainland (Rijeka and Jablanac) and nearby islands (Cres, Krk and Pag).
Situated on a peninsula-shaped cliff, the town is encircled by walls built in the 8th century during the Byzantine period. Additional walls were built during the Venetian Republic. The town walls have been more or less preserved to this day. Inside the town walls, there is a typical mediaeval urban center. The condensed buildings are separated by three main roads: Upper Street, Middle Street and Lower Street. Mutually intertwined by small, narrow streets, these roads lead to the oldest part of the town, the town walls and the fortress of Kaldanac. The magnificent architectural design of stone paved squares, fountains, town palaces, numerous sacral buildings and portals with coats of arms of noble families bear witness to the rich and famous history of the town. The old town centre is dominated by four recognizable bell towers built in the Romanesque style, the most impressive being the 26 meter high bell tower of the Church of St Mary.
The Komrčar Park, the pride and joy of the town of Rab, is located in the immediate vicinity to the town center. In 1883, when senior forester Justus Belia came to Rab, a green maze of authentic vegetation was planted on 12 hectares of what used to be pasture land, such as the Aleppo pine and wild olive trees, in harmony with exotic palms, cacti and agaves. At the entrance to the park, a statue of the founder of this one-of-a-kind park and also one of the most beautiful parks in the Adriatic, was erected by the people of Rab. A long walkway and the town beach extend along the park in the shade of hundred-year-old pine trees.
One of the special summer events that creates an exquisite atmosphere is street painting organized in Middle Street when the entire town turns into a gallery. Some of the most significant cultural events organized in the town are the Rab Cultural Events held at the Prince’s Castle Gallery and the Rab Musical Evenings held at the Church of the Holy Cross (from June to August), but the Rab Knights’ Tournament, a restored event depicting the fight in which the knights defended the town in the past, is by far the most fascinating and attractive one. It is organized on several occasions during the summer. An equally interesting event is the Rab Festival, locally known as Rapska fjera, gathering thousands of participants engaged in old crafts and impersonating historical characters, thus evoking the medieval spirit of the old town.
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