The history of Krk is full of layers. Early Christian basilicas built on the remains of Roman towns, and late Romanesque monasteries settling above them with their Renaissance churches. Some of Krk's fort walls, on the other hand, have been standing firm in their places since the seventh century BC. The history of the island of Krk has developed together with its buildings, and we bring you a selection of fifteen of them that still testify to the wealth and role of the island of Krk in Croatian history.
1. The Church of Saint Lucy in Jurandvor
Krk’s most famous contribution to the history of Croatia is the Bashka tablet. This important historical and linguistic source was found in 1851, in the church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor near Baška. It dates back to around 1100, and its text is written in the transitional form of the Glagolitic alphabet, in the then Croatian language with elements of the church form of the Slavic language.
The copy of the tablet is still on display in the church, and the original was once a part of one of its partition walls.
2. The Glagolitic trail
If you want to see the Glagolitic alphabet come to life, take a walk along the Baška Glagolitic Trail, created to pay homage to the Baška tablet. It is trail decorated with large stone sculptures in the shape of the letters of this old Croatian alphabet. The sculptures are made of Istrian white stone and Krk stone and are scattered throughout the landscape of Baška. It is interesting that each letter has its sponsor - a certain city or municipality whose name begins with that specific letter (with the letter P sponsored by the Czech city of Prague)
3. Krk Glagolitic square
Four monasteries once stood on this square in the town of Krk: the Franciscan monastery in the northern part, the Benedictine monastery in the east, the Clares monastery on the southern border of the square, and the Benedictine monastery in the west. Today, only the northern and western monasteries remain. Archaeological excavations have found evidence that this site was inhabited as early as the Iron Age.
4. The city walls of Krk
The first sections of the city walls of Krk were built in the seventh and sixth centuries BC. With each new century, the walls grew and developed, got towers and gates, and those parts that still surround the city of Krk were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Today, the walls are one of the longest-lasting monuments on the island of Krk and represent the historical chronology of the city from prehistoric times until the fall of the Venetian Republic.
5. The Frankopan Castle
This castle was built by the most famous of the Croatian aristocratic families, the Frankopans. It is adorned with two towers: a square one, called Sudnica (the Courthouse), and a round one, known as the Venetian Tower. Its original purpose was defensive, but today it serves as a museum, with dozens and dozens of artefacts on display, testifying to its centuries-old history.
6. The main city gates of Krk
The walls of the city of Krk had several city gates that served as starting points for traffic routes between the city and the surrounding areas. The main city gate was part of the road leading to the port, and was built in the fourteenth century.
7. The archaeological site Cickini
The woods near the village of St. Vid hide one of the most important pieces of evidence of the ancient history of Krk - an archaeological site with a church complex, dated to the fifth century AD. It is believed this early Christian church was dedicated to Saint Cyprian. Parts of this complex are fairly well preserved, and the artefacts are kept in the Cickini Archaeological Collection.
8. The Cickini archaeological collection
On display in the house Peknjica in the village of St. Vid near the Cickini site, this collection contains objects found on the site of an early Christian church. It has a large number of stone sculptures, including crosses found in the church. All the artefacts point to the fact that there was a residential complex on the site next to the church.
9. The Franciscan monastery and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene
The Franciscan monastery with the church of St. Mary Magdalene is one of the most important historical sites on the island of Krk. The Franciscans, who still live there today, have been one of the guardians of the Glagolitic alphabet for centuries. They have set up a small museum space inside the monastery where they exhibits a large number of manuscripts and books written in the Glagolitic script. In addition to this, the church is adorned with numerous works of sacred art and stylistic features of the Renaissance and Baroque, so it is definitely worth going to Glavotok, where the monastery is located, and explore this part of Krk's history.
Built during the first century AD, this Roman town was intended for the well-deserved peaceful life of retired Roman soldiers. Archaeological evidence found at the site says the city was a fairly picturesque maritime resort, with a city forum, a temple and taverns. Even after the city was abandoned, a new Christian town (known as Mirine) developed on its ruins during the fifth century.
11. Dubashnica heritage house
Dubashnica heritage house provides a valuable insight into the life of the old inhabitants of the island of Krk, peasants and farmers who lived off the land. It still contains almost all the inventory used by its inhabitants in the 19th century. Its new, cultural life is regularly inspired by the various workshops that are held in it and which are intended to preserve the old traditional skills of the island of Krk.
12. The Church of our Lady of Gorica
This church got its place in the religious history of the island of Krk by being one of the oldest shrines in Croatia. It became a place of pilgrimage in the 16th century. Its most famous detail is its staircase, known as votive stairs, built in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
13. Ethno Museum “The Old House of Vrbnik”
Ethno house in Vrbnik is another house where you can partake in the history of the inhabitants of the island of Krk. Built in the 16th century, this house tells the story of the peaceful life of a typical Vrbnik family - their jobs and daily habits - through the exhibition of original items and furniture found in the house, and its architecture that has been restored but remainsunchanged.
14. The Krk Cathedral
The Krk Cathedral is the most impressive building in the city of Krk, a part of the church complex built around an early Christian basilica. In the 12th century, the Romanesque church of Sv. Quirin was added to it. The entire complex was built on the remains of Roman baths. Although many other historical and ecclesiastical buildings on Krk have been built and upgraded over the centuries, the Krk Cathedral is an excellent example of historical and architectural continuity.
15. The island of Košljun
This small island, just over a thousand meters in diameter, is the location of a Franciscan monastery and the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This building complex is another wonderful example of a mix of different artistic and architectural periods, primarily the Romanesque and the Renaissance styles.
The rich museum collection of the monastery includes archaeological and religious collections, with perhaps the most famous exhibit being the map made by the Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy.