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About Rab

GospaThe town of Rab also boasts with a long recorded history that dates back to the year 10 BC, when it is mentioned in an old Roman document by which the Roman emperor Octavian Augustus proclaims it a muncipium and grants it independence. Before long it was given another rare honorary title, that of FELIX (happy); it bears witness to the fact that Rab was already a fully developed and civilised at the time, providing amenities such as running water, baths, temples, a theatre, and a network of streets, to mention just a few.


The legend of St. Marin
MarinoMore than 17 centuries ago a boy by the name Marin was born at Lopar. He later learned the craft of stonemason and in search of a job left his home, crossed the Adriatic Sea and landed at a place near today's Rimini on the Apennine peninsula.

The small case with the relies of St. Cristophorus, the patron saint of the island of Rab
His diligence and virtue soon earned him the sympathy of the Christian community he was living in, so eventually bishop Gaudentium made him his deacon. Presecuted because of his propogation of Christianity, Marin fled to the hardly accessible hill Titan and built a small church there. It was to become the foundation of a new city and state - San Marino - in which the remains of the saint are still kept.
The small case with the relies St. Christophorus, the patron saint of the island of Rab. (the legend of st. marin).

Mapa grada

StrAmong numerous historical events, the inhabitants of Rab have reintroduced the old knights games, established in Rab as far back as 1364. Since their reintroduction in 1995 the games have become the central cultural event of this island.

The knights' competition is preceded by a medieval ceremony, announced the day before by a herald by means of proclamation and drums. The ceremony starts in the overcrowded town with the arrival of the Prince and his escort to the town loggia where they are welcomed by cross-bowers, musicians and ensigns. Accompanied by strong drum beating, by the sound of fanfares and bell- ringing the participants pass through the streets of the town towards the Cathedral, to get the blessing. On St. Christopher's square, before the Town gates, the Games are solemnly opened by the Prince. The town's flag is hoisted on the mast accompanied by sound of fanfares and at the sign of the "honourable judge" the knights start their competition. By predefined order twelve knights draw the cross-bow, directing the arrow to the target. The winner is the competitor whose arrow hits the point nearest to the centre of the target. The Rab Prince proclaims the winner of the Games and hands the prize "Felix" over to him. The Rab knights games conclude with the musicians' and ensigns' program and with the solemn march-past of all participants, in Renaissance costumes.

Rab2The antique cross-bow - nowadays still used only by the "balestrieri" from San Marino in their games - is a peculiarity of the Rab knights games. In the Middle Ages it was used by the Rab people to defend their town from attackers , so that the games were introduced in honour of this defence and of their patron, St. Christopher. They games used to be held twice a year: on May 9 (Dies Victoriae) and on July 27 (Dies Natalis). These were the biggest celebrations which lasted for seven full days. The re-established games are also held on May 30 and July 27, while a solemn march-past in the town is organised on Assumption day, too. On these occasions Rab offers to its visitors a whole series of programs worth seeing.


KlimaThe island of Rab has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, warm summers and mild winters. The mountain chain Kamenjak (408 meters) protects the greatest part of the island from the cold northeastern wind bura (bora), the most frequent wind blowing in winter and early spring, so that the temperature almost never falls below 0°C. Besides the bura a warm and humid wind - the jugo (scirocco) blows from the southeast, mostly in autumn, regularly bringing rain with it.
In summer months, during the day, usually the maestral (mistral) blows, a pleasant breeze which starts to blow as early as 10.a.m. and calms down only with the sunset, making midday sultriness bearable and offering real pleasure to the sailors. Other winds and storms are rare phenomena here.
The snow, which covers the brows of Velebit throughout the winter, is a real rarity on the island of Rab. Those people who regularly visit Rab in periods when some European towns are literally snow and ice-bound, know that even in January the sky above Rab is blue......

Church monuments

SvandrijaIf we enter the town through one of the town gates, e. g. the "Zlatna vrata" (Golden Gate) we will be attracted by the uncommon peace of the "Gornja ulica" (Upper street). To the right, towards the way out to the park Komrčar there is a "belvedere" on the old tower and the Church of St. Christopher - the Saint patron of the town and the island- now a lapidary and, to the left, a street with its churches and four bell-towers. The only remains of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, a unique Romanesque basilica, are the Romanesque bell-tower, the foundations and parts of the columns of the three-naval church as well as the restored deambulatory. Close by the ruins of the old basilica of St John the Evangelist, stands the Church of the Holy Weeping Cross where, according to records a miracle happened, i.e. the cross started to weep..

On the "Trg Slobode" (Square of Liberty) stands a bell-tower and the St. Justine's Church, built in the 16th century for the Benedictine convent, which has been now transformed into a sacral art museum. Not far from St. Justine's Church stands the St. Andrija's church and bell-tower together with the Benedictine nuns' convent. The Church was built in Romanesque three-naval style and has a magnificent baroque altar. The bell-tower is from the year 1181 and it is the oldest bell-tower in Rab.

JustinaAt the end of "Gornja ulica", close to the monastery erected on a cliff which precipitates towards the sea, stands the Church of the Assumption, the former cathedral. Its building began in 1118 and it was consecrated by Pope Alexander III in person. It is a sumptuous Romanesque basilica and what particularly attracts attention is the altar with ciborium from the 8th century, the Late Gothic chorus seats and St. Christopher's statue from the 12th century.The bell-tower of this basilica is detached from the church, it dominates the town and ranks among the most beautiful buildings in Late Romanesque style in our country.
Let us also mention the St. Francis' Church situated near the local cemetery, near which the monastery of Franciscans of the Third order (Glagolitic priests) was also erected.

Kampor is famous for its Francisan monastery and St. Euphemia's Church. They were founded in 1446. The valuable museum and gallery of fra Amroz Testen are situated in the monastery.

In Supetarska Draga stays the St. Peter's Church close to the abandoned Benedictine convent, built in Romanesque style by the middle of the 11th century, one of the most important buildings from that period on Croatian soil.

Other monuments

DominisAt the way out to the main street "Srednja ulica" (Central Street) from St. Christopher's square the patrician palace Dominis-Nimira stands out with its ornamented Renaissance windows and the Gothic portal with the coat of arms of the Dominis family, built in the 15th century.
Not far from this Palace, at the beginning of "Donja ulica" (Lower Street) stays the wonderful portal of the former fashionable aristocratic Nimira palace. On the upper part of the portal stands the coat of arms of the Nimira family. One of the most valuable monuments in Rab is the Prince's Palace, situated in the square of the Rab Municipium. The Palace's construction started as early as the 12th century but its most characteristic parts date form the 15th and the 16th centuries. The square Town loggia from 1509, constructed in Renaissance style, with beautiful stone columns, has been recently restored to guard it against destruction.
In the Town of Rab there is also a whole series of valuable portals, balconies, windows and the like with picturesque details and decorations.
Each stone, coat-of-arms and inscription reminds us about the famous Rab past history. Try to explore it, Rab will always reveal some new secret, but never all of them !

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