The oldest part of town centre is situated to the east of the port and the tract called Zagrad, on a completely levelled and flat ground, so that the coastal part of the settlement (Placa and Riva) is regularly flooded during high tides. During the Middle Ages that restricted area was enclosed in a wall.
The old centre, surrounded with walls in a rectangular shape with five towers and several town gates, was formed before the end of Venetian rule and except for several later annexes, it has mainly kept its former appearance.
At the beginning of the previous century the town is still enclosed in walls, and outside the town there are only two monasteries. The town was entered from the sea side through the main town gate, which were renovated in the Renaissance style in the 16th ct. A Venetian lion was standing in an empty niche above the gate, and was removed after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.
The urban structure of the town is characterized by a cluster of interwining streets, expanding and forming minor squares, which laterally branch out into yards, serving as public communicational spaces to adjoining houses. In the dense building of the town area, there are one- and two-storey houses. Upper storeys are somewhere built above public passages. Houses of commoners - farmers ("diggers"), have wine-cellars at the ground-floor; whereas artisans, houses use the ground-floor as a shop or a workshop. Doors and windows are joined into one opening in order to gain more light. Living quarters are upstairs.
Towers surrounding the entrance to the port were pulled down around 1823., and at the beginning of this century also the major part of town walls with the remaining towers. Houses on the left and right side to the main gate occupied the line of the old medieval town wall, and former towers from both sides of the entrance to the port were rebuilt into residential buldings.
The old town centre preserved parts of the wall, three town gates and a round tower in the northwestern side of the town, which was the highest peak of Venetian defense system. At the southern and northern end of the former wall two terrestrial town gates dating from the 16th ct. were spared from destruction. The Little Gate (Mala vrata) or "vrata Bragadina" is that at the southern side of the wall, and the northern one is Town gate (Gradska Vrata) or "vrata Marcella", named after Venetian nobleman who reigned Cres and Osor at the time it was built. That is the reason why there is a symbol of Venetian Republic - St. Marc,s lion, placed on the gates, as well as the armorial bearings of Venetian doges and noblemen who ruled Cres. On the western line of the wall there are remains of the third gate - gate of St. Mikula (Nicholas).
The younger part of the town centre is situated on a slope on the other side of town port, in that northern and western districts were suburbs till the 16th ct. (Drivenik and Varožina).
© Ineco, 1995./2005.