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 as 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 its 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 is in an excellent location 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 from 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 and these have been more or less preserved to this day. Inside the town walls lies is a typical mediaeval urban centre, the buildings 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 architecture of its 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 centre is dominated by four recognisable bell towers built in the Romanesque style, the most impressive being the 26 metre 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 centre. In 1883, when senior forester Justus Belia came to Rab, he decided to plant up 12 hectares of pasture land. It is thanks to him that Rab now has a variety of trees and plants: Aleppo pine trees, wild olive trees, exotic palms, cacti and agaves. At the entrance to the park a statue of its founder 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 here is street painting organised in Middle Street - the entire town turns into a gallery. Some of the most significant cultural events organised in the town are Rab Cultural Events held at the Prince’s Castle Gallery and Rab Musical Evenings held at the Church of the Holy Cross (from June to August), but the Rab Knights’ Tournament, which depicts the time when knights defended the town, is by far the most fascinating. This takes place several times throughout the summer. An equally interesting event is the Rab Festival, locally known as Rapska Fjera, in which thousands of participants impersonate historical characters encapsulating the mediaeveal spirit of the town.
Where to stay