The cultural and historical heritage of the island of Krk

With the presentation of the cultural and historical values of the island of Krk we will start from the north, from the current entrance to the island of Krk – from the two extremely valuable monuments which are situated in Omišalj, on the north-western part of the island. This is the same Omišalj, high above the bay, founded in prehistoric times, the town-castle in which the Roman church dates back to the 12th century, and the triptych J. della Fiore inside from the 15th century. Below Omišalj, the Romans have established the town of Fulfinium from which the remains of an early Christian basilica from 5th-6th century are conserved, in the Sepen bay on the Mirinia area.

On the area of the present Dubašnica is (dating back to 1480) in Porto, where along with the church of St. Mary Magdalene is the museum collection together with the library, the ethnographic collection with an authentic machine for olive pressing and the Glagolitic collection of stone fragments. Close to Malinska, in Cickino is an archaeological find where an early Christian complex founded between 5th and 7th century was discovered whilst the oldest parts belong to the cross-period from the 1st into the 2nd century.

A short distance away, in the city of Krk area is also the Glavotok Franciscan Monastery with its glagolithic monuments and works by Girolamo da Santa Croce. Moving further to the south, close to Milohnići we reach the small, old Croatian St Krševan church which probably dates back to the 9th century. A thousand years old and the present island's centre-Krk “the People of Krk's golden city” testified by the rocky epigraph from the 3rd or 4th century which also has a prehistoric foundation, with Iliric, Greek, Roman and medieval supplements: here you can find walls, towers, etc. The Frankopan Family Castle, Roman baths and mosaics, a cathedral from the early Christian period, the Roman churches of St. Quirinus and St. Margharet’s (on two floors) , the early Roman church of the Holy Mary of Health, the early Gothic church of St. Francis; one of the oldest Glagolitic epigraphs in Krk dating back to the 11th century. There is also the Nikola Udina Algarotti library here with his collection of precious musical instruments that he donated to native town in the 19th century. The basilica also has Paolo Veneziano’s polyptych from the 14th century and Koler’s silver altarpiece dating back to the 15th century.

In front of Punat is the small ancient Croatian church of St. Donatus church which also probably dates back to the 9th century. In Punat bay is Košljun – the only one of Krk's small islands to be inhabited; at the same time Košljun is one of the most important natural and geographical, cultural and historical units of the entire Adriatic. On this ancient (and perhaps even prehistoric) foundation (perhaps) came the eremites, followed by regular Benedictine monks, and from the 15th century Franciscan monks; these hard-working monastics managed, to create a natural reserve on the island (with particularly rare plants), in the centre of which is the monastery, the basilica, further collections – ethnographic, art, museum, library, archival, etc. Monuments from the Roman period are exhibited here: for example the Santa Croce polyptych from the 15th century and a series of “Crossways” created by Ivo Dulčićfrom in the last century.

Moving further through Krk, to the east, we reach Baška’s small bay where the mortar – a device used for finishing the solid wool weaving is conserved. Moreover, in a Baškas valley is the Jurandvor in which the most famous Krk and Slavic monument – the Baška tablet can be found, which dates back to 1100 with the name of the 11th century Croatian king, Zvonimir engraved in the Glagolitic alphabet; remains of another tablet have also been found. The monument is now situated in a place of honour, as a special item in the atrium of the Croatian Academy of Science and Art in Zagreb. Baška too conserves Roman mosaics as well as the rare silver Frankopan cross, a work of art by Palma Junior and Krk painter, Franjo Jurić; the village has a homeland museum, and in the Vela Luka bay close by are probably the remains of some settled villages which according to legend are called Korintija and were connected to the Greek tradition.

On the north-eastern part of the island, on the high cliff is Vrbnik, which is also of prehistoric and illyric foundation: the entire settlement is a monument and the most famous Croatian Glagolitic town – castle; it still has a lot of Glagolitic rocky and hand-written monuments of which a large number are conserved in other villages; these include, for example, chapters of hand-written monuments from the 12th century, the Island of Krk's Statute dating back to 1338, codexes, missals, registries, legal and other books and hand-written documents. In the parish church, it is important to mention the Frankopan family “Ružarica”altar probably from the 15th century and Ivo Rendić's altar from the 19th century. The spot is enriched with the large “Vitezić library”, and in the vicinity, a mural from the 13th century with a picture of the oldest Croatian ship was found in the small church of St. George. The origin of Krk’s noble family is probably the same as that of the Vrbnik area - above Vrbnik’s field are the remains of the Gradec (Grac), the only castle-fortification belonging to the Frankopan family which is situated outside the village.

The only town—castle in the island’s interior is Dobrinj; in 1100, the oldest and most famous Croatian Glagolitic document "by the famous Dragoslav" was created; it also includes the ethnographic collection of the whole island; the painting on the wall hanging ( golden embroidery on red silk) was made by P. Veneziano in the 14th century. Monuments of original popular construction – cattle-breeder’s houses mošune, shepherd's and farmer's shelters and komarde, barn floors, sopele (sopile) - the remains of an ancient European musical instrument which disappeared everywhere else should also be noted. The Summer Stomorina in Omišalj, the shepherd's customs of Vrbnika and Dubašnica, the popular costumes and dances indicate events which have in many ways influenced the conservation of the lively island colour and enriched its culture with the islanders' everyday life both in the past and in the present.