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Cres (pronounced "Tsres" in Croatian, , , , Greek: Chèrsos, Χερσος) is an Adriaticmarker island in Croatiamarker. It is one of the northern island in the Kvarner Gulfmarker and can be reached via ferry from the island Krkmarker or from the Istrianmarker peninsula (line Brestova-Porozina).

With an area of 405.78 km², Cres is, together with Krkmarker which is the same size (but thought to be the largest for years), the largest Croatian island. The island has a population of 3,184 (2001).

Cres and the neighbouring island of Lošinjmarker once used to be one island, but were divided by a channel and connected with a bridge at the town of Osormarker. Cres's only fresh water source is the Lake Vrana.


Cres has been inhabited since Paleolithic time period and was later ruled by the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire the island was taken over and became a part of the Byzantine Empire, and remained this way for centuries. In the 7th Century the Croats invaded the island, and the other islands around it, and took the islands over, however the Croats returned the islands in the eary 800's (believed to be somewhere around 812).

Around 822 Croatia became an independent state, while on the island Croat-Roman tensions grew. Then, around 866 the inhabitants saw the first conflicts between the Croats and Venetians. The Venetians eventually set up their rule of the islands in the 10th and 11th centuries.

However the Croats regain the islands and the islands goes through a changing of rulers for Centuries, being ruled by Croats, Hungarians, and for 400 years the Venetians take control of the islands. However, Napoleon's victory over the Venetians created Austrian rule on the island, which quickly changed hands again to French Rule.

After the fall of Napoleon, Austria once again takes control of the island for 100 years, during this time we see the rising economy on the island with olive trees, sage, and other plants becoming key to the success of the island. At the end of World War I, with the Treaty of Rapallo signed in 1920, the island was once again handed over to Italian Rule. This lasted until 1947 when the Islands, along with Istrian Peninsula, were assigned to Croatia.

The island has gone through an agricultural downturn as many residents left the island in search of a better life on the mainland and abroad. This has resulted in many former agricultural areas becoming overgrown with local vegetation. Recently people, primarily retirees, have been returning to live on the island. Tourism has become an increasingly important industry and the population experiences significant seasonal variation.

Towns of Cres

The island has many towns, all of them connected by a road that runs down the middle of the island. On one side is the ferry from the mainland (around the city of Pulamarker); on the other is the bridge to Lošinjmarker, which was once linked the two but is now separated by a waterway. Approaching the island from Pula, you will first come to Porozina.
A list of the towns with descriptions is below:
  • Porozina - A small town comprising the ferry terminal and a few shops.
  • Beli - This small town, at the end of a long and very narrow road, is home to a famed bird species, the endangered Griffon vulture.
  • Cresmarker
  • Orlec - Another small town at the end of a narrow road, also home to the endangered vulture.
  • Valun - Visible on the way to Lubenice (see below), this town does not permit cars. A fee is charged for parking.
  • Lubenicemarker - An ancient mountain village with a great view of the sea and neighboring islands. A restaurant and bar operate during the warmer months. Weekly musical concerts take place during the peak tourist season.
  • Belej
  • Stivan - On a side street this small town of 16 people is features a very private beach, old houses and a church, and is on the way to many other towns.
  • Miholašćica - A small town with a small church which shares the same name as the community (St. Michael). Tourism has grown here since the arrival of the Zaglav community nearby.
  • Martinšćica - The home of a large vacation complex, Slatina, along with beaches and cafes.
  • Osormarker - A town on the "border" between two islands. Founded by the Romans who also dug the channel thus dividing what was then known as the Osor island into Cres and Lošinj. Then a major port and commercial centre started to fade with coming of larger ships that could not pass the narrow channel or dock in the shallow port.
  • Pernat - The westernmost village on Cape Pernat. A quaint and rustic village forming a gateway to numerous walking trails and secluded beaches.
  • Podol - Between Lubenice and Valun. A tiny hamlet that resembles a large farmhouse. Its key feature is the mulberry tree located in the middle of the road.
  • Punta Kriza - The southernmost part of Cres. FKK resort is here.
  • Vidovici - A short distance uphill from Martinšćica. A village with an extraordinary view of the Istrian Peninsula and numerous islands including Zeča, Lošinj and Unije forming part of the archipelago. A restaurant operates in the evenings during the warmer months.

The Town of Cres

For a full article please see Cres marker

The town of Cres is more like a city and is a great one at that, its centre filled with shops where tourists can buy Cres' specialties, home made olive oil and wine. The town is not made for cars, it is a walking city, and can be related to many Italian cities due to its narrow streets. Cres also has a marina nearby, which has recently been awarded the blue flag status, with many boats in it. A picture of the town's port can be seen below.
Cres Port

Construction and Improvements

A massive work effort is taking place on the main road, it is being widened and is being brought further away from the cliffs, the road is also cutting out dangerous turns and other threats to drivers. It is also keeping trucks and cars away from Lake Vrana, to keep it clean. As of July 2007, the work is about 30-40% complete. The work, being done by construction company GP Krk is not only allowing a safer driving network, but is also allowing more tourism and traffic to move faster around the island, while still protecting the public.

Lake Vrana

Lake Vrana
Cres has its very own fresh water lake, which is very highly guarded and illegal to swim and fish in. It supplies water to neighboring Lošinjmarker as well. It is one of the deepest fresh water lakes in Eastern Europe, going down 76 meters at its deepest point (>50 m below sea-level).

Myth of Lake Vrana

Lake Vrana myth or legend states that there is a castle under the lake. The rich sister that lived in the castle would not give her poor sister money or food. As a result she was punished by her castle being flooded during a severe thunderstorm which caused Lake Vrana to be created. The story goes on and tells that on some windy days if one listens very carefully even today, the tower bells can still be heard ringing.

External links


  1. Roland Schmidt, Jens Müller, Ruth Drescher-Schneider, Robert Krisai, Krystyna Szeroczyńska, Ante Barić; Changes in lake level and trophy at Lake Vrana, a large karstic lake on the Island of Cres (Croatia), with respect to palaeoclimate and anthropogenic impacts during the last approx. 16,000 years, J. Limnol., 59(2), 2000, 113-130.

  • "Cres and Losinj: Strolling through the islands and islets" Nadir Mavrovic, Nerezine 1997. Televrina d.o.o. Nerezine

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