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Curicta, Curicum, Ciriatica, Vekia, Veglia, Veja, and Krk – all these are names for the largest island on the Adriatic Sea. The names are pre-Illyrian, Greek, Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine, Italian, and finally the last two Croatian. There is also Bodulija , a popular and respectable name for the native place of the Boduls (Islanders).
The island of Krk presents a complex contrast of natural characteristics – its possesses warm and thick forests, hills, valleys, picturesque coves, multitude of beaches, two lakes, a lot of little brooks and a few surrounding little islands. Looking like a floating triangle Krk is 410 square kilometers with the longest line 40 kms and the shortest 4 kms. The largest beach is 2 kms long. Its different climates are Mediterranean, semiarid, maritime and continental. The winds blow in three main directions: cold north wind (bura), humid south wind (jugo), and warm west wind (maetral). Well – grown vegetation is many of the sub-Mediterranean characteristics. Dating from the Roman period the fig tree and grapevines are well known – a delicate dry wine made from the zlahtina grape from Vrbnek is well known and a must for wine drinkers. Wild life consists of pheasants and deer for hunters and the sea is rich with blue and white fish for the fisherman. Since it is and island seagulls are abundant along with nightingales, blackbirds and other song birds.
Human life began on the Golden Island about 5,000 – 10,000 years ago. The first known inhabitants were the Japods, followed by the Liburnians (one part of the Illyrians). Their ruins can be found in various sites in the towns of Krk, Omisalj, Vrbnek, and others are being unearthed today. Traces of Greek settlements are in the ruins near the town of Baska (Corrinthia). From 9 A.D. the Romans ruled the island and had two town communities: Curicta (today Krk) and Fulvinium near Omisalj. The Frankopan dukes possessed the only castle Gradec (Grac) outside the settlements in the Vrbnek area. During the 15th century there appeared many settlements at Dubasnica and the neighboring areas of the western part of the island. The Romans made the town of Krk the major municipality and it remains so today. It is said that with the help of the local Croats Pompey was able the defeat Caesar in one their sea battle for control of the Roman Empire. The importance of the island can also be seen if we mention Diocesan which was established in the 5th century, and two big basilicas ( in Krk and Fulvinium). When the Croats arrived in the 6th century the Illyrian population completely disappeared: they became Romanized and Croatianized and the Croats have kept their towns until the present day. We can follow their tribe entireties and surnames for centuries; the Croatian characteristics can be checked in the speech, in spite of being chakavians, in their costumes and the like. Being converted to Christianity, they brought their own characteristics which can clearly be seen in their constructions of peculiar old Croatian Churches, in old Slavic divine services, and especially in their Glagolitic alphabet. Today the island of Krk is the richest in the world in the number of original stone and handwritten Glagolitic monuments. In the 11th century a rebellion against the Pope forced him to allow the islanders to use their own language in religious ceremonies.
Supreme rule of the island changed many time over the centuries: Byzantine, Frankish, Croatian, Venetian, Hungaro-Croatian. The Frankopans were the dukes of Krk and at the beginning they were Venetian Lessees of the island who spread their power on the neighboring mainland. They became Viceroys and civil governors of Croatia. They were the protectors of the language and tradition who erected many monuments. Division of large properties, assaults by the Turks, family disagreements, and the occupation of the Venetians in 1480 (the last island in the Adriatic to be occupied), followed by the Hapsburgs succeeded to destroy them (literary: exterminate) them in the 17th century.
During the Venetian rule Krk was a larger source of income from the supply of thousands of rowers (galley slaves) to cattle and most of their forestry. (Since that time a good deal of the areas has been barren.) In the 17th century the people welcomed Napoleon, but it did not change their condition only their ruler. In 1815 Krk came under the Austrian Empire and remained there until after the First World War when they became, along with Croatia, part of Yugoslavia until the breakup in 1995.
Today Krk is a busy tourist Mecca again becoming the “Golden Island” ballooning from 15,000 – 25,000 natives in the off season to 150,000 – 200,000 in season.