The island of Krk has been inhabited since the prehistorical times. The masters of the island were the Illyrians - Liburns, at least four hundred years before Christ. They were conquered by the Romans in 9 AD., so that the whole island got within the complex of the Roman Empire and remained until 480 AD., until the collapse of the Roman Empire.
After the Illyrian tribe of the Liburns and the Romans, from the end of the 6th c. the island is inhabited by the Croats, mostly in the northwestern and southeastern part. The political and ecclesiastical centre was Krk, the small town.
While the prehistorical man built his setlements in the valleys, the Illyrians constructed them on the hill tops dominating the surroundings, fertile fields and the sea. The Romans introduced their laws here, too, erected military camps, built roads, constructed town Fulfinium, remolded the town Krk according to their customs, created rural economies. According to the contemporary living standard they have also erected thermae and temples in these two towns, as well as other cultural establishments.
With the arrival of the Croats, the rest of the Roman population together with Romanized Liburns descend towards fortified Krk. The Croats took possession of the most part of the island and developed four central settlements, castles; Omišalj, Dobrinj, Vrbnik, Baška.
Krk is one of the oldest continually inhabited places in the whole Kvarner region, and from the 4th c. it has been bishop`s seat.
On the inscription dating from the beginning of the 4th c., Krk is named as "Splendissima civitas Curictarum". The Croatian name derives from the Roman name (Curicum, Curicta), while the younger title Vecla – Vegla – Veglia (meaning "Old Town") was created in the medieval Romanesque period.
The origins of Krk appear in as early as the prehistoric times. The town is urbanized in the ancient times, and in the period of Roman domination it has a municipal system of government and is encircled in ramparts, which were reconstructed and enlarged in the course of the Middle Ages. The town has mostly preserved its Roman urbanistic base in the ground plan, with streets crossing at the right angle (Cardo – Decumanus).
After conquering Illyricum in 9 BC., and dominating the town Krk, the Romans have found an organized town. The town`s walls were built in the pre-Roman times, and have managed to survive in the same place. The town`s gates in the walls, dictated the interior srrsngement of the town. The Romans had their own schema of town`s ground plan, which was adapted to the given situation in every town they conquered. The pattern of streets, squares, locations for temples, thermae, theatrea, racecourses, etc., was already established.
The town`s walls exhibited places which were better fortified – towers, situated above each gate, entrance to the town. There are three fortified places which have been preserved until today: Kaštel on Kamplin, Kula on the coast and Vijećnica on the square. The town had four, well controlled gates: the gate of Pizan, Velika vrata (Great gate), Gornja vrata (Upper gate), Mala vrata (Little gate). The street descending from the Upper gate to Bishop`s court, separating the town into the eastern and western part, is actually Roman Cardo. The street which binds the gate of Pizan to the main square, which once held the main town`s gate, and separates the town into northern and southern part, is actually a Roman Decumanus.
Inside the town`s walls, on the same streets, Krk has been living for more than two thousand years. Almost all of the buildings are very old, although most of them haven`t preserved the original appearance and structure. At any rate, it is justifiable to say that Krk inside the town`s walls is a monument of culture in its entirety.
The old town`s core is dominated by the complex of the Cathedral of Virgin Mary`s Assumption, and next to it is the Church of St. Quirinal. The church and the monastery, together with the Church of Mother of God of Health, which was once Benedictine, is situated on the top of Krk`s hill, near the town`s walls. Here can also be found the monastery of the Benedictine nuns, probably dating from the beginning of the 13th c. In the vicinity to the monastery there is the Franciscan monastery and a one-nave Church of St. Francis from the 13th c. The church is constructed in the Gothic style, having a bell-tower with a quadratic roof. Two additional monasteries can be fould outside the town`s walls.
There are several monuments which stand apart: the Frankopanian castle, along with many other buildings: Bishop`s court, and several palaces with Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and later elements of style. These building, whose owners were Croatian and Italian nobility, present a great monumental value and significance for the town of Krk.
© Ineco, 1995./2005.