RAB is an
island in the Adriatic Sea forming the northernmost part of Dalmatia
in Croatia. It is separated from the mainland by Podvelebitski
Kanal (the Velebit Channel) with the shortest distance from land of
1.800m. With an area of 91 sq. km, its greatest transverse length of
22km, and its total coastal length of 103.2km, it reaches a maximum
altitude of 408m at Mt. Kamenjak and comprises three ridges of
Rab and all the Dalmatian islands were originally connected with the
mainland; about 20.000 - 30.000 years ago, the lowering and
elevating of the land and the penetration of the sea water into the
basins resulted in the current island chain (see
photo taken by Astronaut Reid Weiseman of Adriatic Sea and Croatian
Islands. Quote: "neat to see how land was ripped apart long
ago"). The origin of the islands can be gleaned from their karst
topography which is identical to that found in the craggy Dinaric
Alps stretching from the eastern Adriatic and down to Greece.
The island is one of the most densely wooded islands in the Adriatic
and is a veritable botanical exhibition, including plants not native
to the island. The Komrčar park, with its laurel, poplar, cypress,
Indian fig-tree, rosemary, pine and hundred-year-old agave is now
the pride of Rab. Its more than 300 freshwater springs provide a
valuable water supply to the population of the island--which, in
contrast to most of the Adriatic islands, is increasing, in part
because of good communications with the mainland. Because of these
numerous springs, Rab is considered to be the greenest island in the
Historically, Rab island had many different names: Arba (Latin =
green, wooded), Arbitana, Arbiana, Arbia, Arbum, Arba and Arva.
"The name itself probably derives from the Illyric word Arb which
means dark, green, forested, which is even today an important
feature of this island" (A. Perinić Lewis,
Ethnohistorical Processes and Demographic Structure of Rab,
Coll. Antropol. 32 (2008)).
After its initial settlement in 360 BC as the colony of Arba by
prehistoric Illyrians, Rab successively came under Greek, Roman,
Croatian, Venetian, Austrian, French, Italian, Yugoslavian, and
again Croatian rule, reflecting the historic fluctuations of power
in the Adriatic. For more on Rab history,
The principal town, Rab, is a walled
town with three parallel main streets built on a steep promontory
along the west coast. At the south end is a 13th-century Romanesque
cathedral, whose campanile is considered the finest example of
Romanesque architecture on the Adriatic littoral. It is the first in
a line of four bell towers on a ridge dominating the old town. The
town with its typical, twisting and narrow Mediterranean streets
preserves many monuments of art; medieval churches, the Loggia,
Venetian patrician palaces with beautiful doorways, etc.
Rab island canton consists of eight
districts: Kampor, Lopar, Mundanije, Palit, Rab, Supetarska Draga,
Banjol and Barbat. These districts, according to the Jan.
1997 law, fall under the Primorje-Gorani County with the seat in the
city of Rijeka (Županija Primorsko-Goranska sa sjedištem u Rijeci).
The main activities and sources of
income of city of Rab and its districts are, first and foremost,
tourism, then fishing, agriculture, and a ready-made clothing
enterprise. Pop. (2011) 8,065.
Many myths and stories surround its
history. One of them is written in the sculptures near the fountain
on the square of St. Christopher. It is the story of the chaste
Draga and the passionate Kalifront. Draga, who had promised herself
to one of the goddesses, could not give her love to Kalifront, so
the goddess turned her to stone to save her from the temptation. We
can only guess what other vows were taken here.
Rab belongs to the group of Kvarner
Archipelago Islands of the North Adriatic. Its winters are pleasant
and mild, and the summers warm, with about 2500 hours of sunshine a
year. The mean air temperature is 26C in the summer and 10C in the
winter. The Kamenjak range (408m) protects the greater part of the
island from cold north-eastern winds (bora or bura), and the
temperature hardly ever drops below zero (centigrade). In the summer
the mistral wind has a cooling effect on the the island. As early as
1889, the city council of Rab, proclaimed it a sea-side and health
resort and established a committee to manage roads, beaches and
rooms for guests. Thereby the people of Rab, famous for their
hospitality, chose their destiny.
King Edward VIII stayed on Rab with his American friend Wallis
Simpson and swam naked there, thus making a substantial
contribution to the popularity of naturist tourism as it is
enthusiastically enjoyed today. Because of its mild Mediterranean
climate, scenery, clear sea, sunshine and clear air made fragrant by
ozone and the island's pine forests, Rab is an ideal holiday resort,
and an internationally renowned health and recreational resort.
Some interesting facts and links:
Rab - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From the third
century BC to the sixth century AD Rab was part of the Roman
Empire, and Emperor Augustus proclaimed it a municipium in 10
BC. It was the first town of Roman Dalmatia to be given the
honorary title "felix".
king Bela IV, of the same house, sought refuge in Rab, in 1241,
while feeing the Mongols.
of Rab reached its peak in the late 14th century; 10,000, of
which 5,000 in the town itself.
disaster in the island's history was an outbreak of the plague
in 1449 and 1456 that decimated its population. The island life
stagnated until the beginning of the 20th century (for
more information, click here). A good reference is "Expelling
the Plague: The Health Office and the Implementation of
Quarantine in Dubrovnik, 1377-1533. Zlata Blazina Tomic Vesna
Blazina 1 April 2015."
Royal nudes: On 11th of August 1936, King Edward and his future
bride arrived to the island of Rab, anchoring right in front of
Island of Rab, History overview.
Mediterannean Mediaval town. By
Rab Island. 2015 PDF booklet published by: Tourist Association
of the Town of Rab. Here is another one published in 2008.
RAB: A HAPPY TOWN AND ISLAND. Vesna Kusin, Croatia Weekly -
On-line, Zagreb, July 3, 1998.
A VOTIVE RETURN TO RAB. CROATIA WEEKLY Zagreb, February 18,
Road and tourist map of Croatia, 2009.
Ethnohistorical Processes and Demographic Structure of the
Island of Rab, Croatia. Ana Perinić Lewis. Institute for
Anthropological Research, Zagreb, Croatia.
Here is a short dictionary of some of the more important words used
BODUL is a person living on an island, where it is
usual to spend an evening in front of KONOBA (a local tavern)
playing BALOTE (bocce
balls) and where BEVANDA (red wine with water) is
enjoyed together with fresh RIBA (fish) from GRADELE (grill) and
music from KLAPA (male vocal group) whose songs are usually about
MORE (sea) and LJUBAV (love).
Some fish types you will find around Rab