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Lošinj ( ; ; , , Αψωρος) is a Croatianmarker island in the northern Adriatic Seamarker, in the Kvarner Gulfmarker. It is almost due south of the city of Rijekamarker and part of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar countymarker.

The settlements on Lošinj include Nerezine, Sveti Jakov, Ćunskimarker, Artaturi, Mali Lošinjmarker and Veli Lošinjmarker.

A regional road runs the length of the island; ferry connections (via the island of Cresmarker) include Brestova - Porozina, Merag - Valbiska, Mali Lošinjmarker - Zadarmarker, Mali Lošinjmarker - Pulamarker. There is also an airport on the island of Lošinj.


Lošinj is part of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago. The Cres-Lošinj archipelago includes Cresmarker and Lošinj, and the smaller islands of Unijemarker, Ilovikmarker, Susakmarker, Vele Srakanemarker, Male Srakanemarker and a number of uninhabited small islands. Cresmarker is the biggest by area, Lošinj is second. Cresmarker and Lošinj are connected by a small bridge at the town of Osormarker on Cres. The highest elevations are the mountains Televrin (also called Osoršćica) (588 m) and Sv. Nikola (557 m). The towns of Nerezine and Sveti Jakov lie at their base. The island is formed predominantly of chalk limestone and dolomite rocks. There are sand deposits in the western part of the Kurila peninsula.

Lošinj is the 11th largest Adriatic island by area, 33 km long, with the width varying from 4.75 km in the north and middle of the island, to 0.25 km near the town of Mali Lošinjmarker. The total coastline of the island is 112.7 km .

With around 2600 hours of sunshine a year, the island has become a popular destination for Slovenianmarker, Germanmarker and Italianmarker tourists in the summer months. Average air humidity is 70%, and the average summer temperature is 24 °C (75 °F) and 7 °C (45 °F) during the winter .

The old town of Veli Lošinj
The island has a mild climate and evergreen vegetation (like myrtle, holm oak, and laurel). The highest elevations in the north have more sparse vegetation. Veli Lošinjmarker, Čikat and the south-western coast are ringed by pine forests.


Settlement on nearby Cres is known to date back around 12,000 years , and the island of Lošinj is also thought to have been inhabited since prehistoric times. This is evidenced by hill-forts at the foot of Osoršćica and around the port of Mali Lošinjmarker. According to Ptolemy, the Romans called this island Apsorrus , and referred to the islands of Lošinj and Cresmarker collectively as Apsirtides. In several places, ruins of Roman villas have been excavated (villae rusticae: Liski, Sveti Jakov, and Studenčić near Ćunskimarker). Several small eremitic churches dating from the Roman era have been preserved (St. Lovreć near Osormarker, and St. James in Sveti Jakov).In the Middle Ages, Lošinj was the property of the clerical and secular nobility of Osormarker and unpopulated.

The first evidence of settlers from the mainland was in 1280. Pursuant to a contract with Osormarker, their settlements gained self-governance in 1389. The name Lošinj was first mentioned in 1384. Parallel with the gradual decline of Osormarker from the 15th century onwards, the settlements Veli Lošinjmarker and Mali Lošinjmarker played an increasingly important role.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, trade, shipbuilding and seafaring on the island developed more intensely. After the fall of the Republic of Venicemarker in 1797, Lošinj became part of the Austrian province (crown land) of Istria under the Treaty of Campo Formio. By 1900 the population had reached 11,615.

In 1919, Lošinj, with its mainly Italian population, became part of Italymarker under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, as confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo. It was held by them until 1943 when it was occupied by German Wehrmacht and Croatiamarker troops during World War II as part of the Operational Zone Adriatic Coast. In 1945 the island and the rest of Croatia became part of Yugoslaviamarker, until Croatia declared independence from the Yugoslav Federation in 1991.

The post-Second World War period saw a substantial exodus of its Italian-speaking population to Italy and to other countries, due to their unwillingness to live under Yugoslav rule. These expatriates today are a vibrant 'community' living in Italy and around the world, and publish a newsletter which keeps their memories and traditions alive.

People and art

The bronze apoxyomenos, found and recovered off Vele Orjule, Croatia
  • Gaudentius of Ossero: Born c. 1000 AD and presided over the Diocese of Ossero (Osormarker) as bishop and later became a saint and patron of the island. Legend has it that he banished all venomous snakes from the islands while hiding in a cave from his persecutors. His remains now lie in the altar of the church bearing his name in Osormarker.

  • The Cosulich family of shipbuilders originated in Lošinj probably prior to the 1700s and rose to prominence in the region, eventually establishing a successful shipping business in Venice and around the world, where the Cosulich Line became renowned.

  • The Croatian Apoxyomenos: (the "Scraper") is a bronze statue that dates back to the 1st or 2nd century BC. This type of figure was first developed by the Greekmarker sculptor Lysippos of the 4th century BC. It was discovered underwater in the Lošinj archipelago near the uninhabited island of Vele Orjule. The Lošinj Channel was a frequent navigational route leading to the northern part of the Adriatic, to Istria and Italy. It is believed to be from a Roman shipwreck although there are no other apparent remnants . Apoxyomenos is one of the Greek conventions in representing an athlete, caught in the familiar act of scraping sweat and dust from his body with the small curved instrument that the Greeks called a strigil. The statue now resides temporarily in the Archeological Museum in Zagreb while the Lošinj museum where it is to be permanently housed from 2009 undergoes renovation .


  7. Marie-Eve Sténuit, Robert Sténuit, Marijan Orlić, Smiljan Gluščevi; A preliminary report on the discovery and recovery of a bronze apoxyomenos, off Vele Orjule, Croatia, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 30(2), 2001, 196-210.

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