Although it has for the most part kept its mediaeval core with its urban structure, Osor has in a functional sense long ago been reduced to a category of a small town. The administrative function was transferred to Cres already in the Middle Ages, and by the beginning of the 19th ct. the old diocese of Osor finally ceased to exist.
Osor is enclosed in town walls, which in their size continue the line of dry wall dating from the Bronze Age; walls continue with annexes from prehistoric and early-antique periods, they are reconstructed in the antique times, and in the Middle Ages their route goes through the centre of the settlement, reducing their extent to a half. The widest expanse is accomplished in the time of antique urbanization, when it includes the area from the sea canal ("Cavanella") to the cove of Bijar, what is evident from the remains of bulwark and preserved town-plan with eccentrically (to the south) routed decumanus.
Osor is famous for endemic plant Cordialys acaulis, which grows only on the old walls of Osor. This interesting and rare plant was displaced after the renewal of cathedral and other old walls, reducing it to a small number of specimens.
The dominant presence of archaeological remains is due to the abandonment of wide area of antique and mediaeval settlement and the contraction of town's area with scattered buildings. Antique town walls were found, the remains of public buildings with mosaics, the foundations of the temple, houses, the cemetery. Archaeological finds of the complex of the first early-Christian cathedral with five naves dating from the 6th ct., were found on the place of today's St. Mary's church, situated in the cemetery.
A number of remains of architecture and architectural plastic art give evidence of significant architectural activity throughout the Middle Ages. A large Benedictine abbey is built in the 11th ct.: there are visible remains of a big early-Romanesque church with three naves and a vaulted annexe. From the same period is also most of public buildings on the main town square, also many patrician houses with rare stylish details and with large garden areas, as well as popular houses of a modest shape.
During the 15th ct., under Venetian rule, a new line of town's wall is built, which encompasses considerably smaller area of the town. On the spot where once stood Roman forum, today we have a central town's area - the square, formed in the 15th and 16th ct. with historical buildings: in the middle of the square there is a big town cistern, on the eastern side there is the townhall and the lodge vaulted with semicircular vault, on the western side opposite to the townhall there is former bishop's court, now a rectory from the 15th ct. A dominant element of the square makes the new cathedral of Mary's Assumption, one of the most beautiful Renaissance monuments in our country, which closes the square from the southern side. Church of St. Gaudencius is situated on the western side to the cathedral.
(cathedral, townhall and lodge, church of St. Gaudencius)
There are several Romanesque churches in Osor and its surroundings: churches of St. Marc and St. Catherine, church of St. Lawrence on the hill south-west to the town, St. Peter's chapel at the foot of Osoršćica, early-Romanesque one-nave church of St. Plato on the peninsula Supatonski, lavishly decorated in intertwining ornaments, and in the cove of Bijar there are remains of Franciscan monastery with the church from the 15th ct.
In the museum in Osor, situated in the old townhall, in the atrium of the lapidary there are Roman, early-Christian, early-mediaeval and Venetian epigraphic monuments, also the fragments of intertwining ornaments, and in the first floor there is a collection of prehistoric and Roman grave inventory.
In the middle of the island of Cres, in the area of Osor's rectory, about 5 km away from Osor, there is a church Mother of God of Loza, a Gothic building reconstructed in baroque style with trefoil front on the model of the cathedral of Osor.
© Ineco, 1995./2005.