O S O R (Apsoros) - HISTORY


Osor at the beginning of the 17th century
("Viaggio da Venetia a Constantinopoli" G. Rosacio")

Osor is the oldest coastal settlement on the island of Cres. Its historic significance was closely related to its traffic and geographical position along with artificially dug canal which once had an important maritime and traffic function. With the disappearance of this function the basis for prosperity also disappeared, and economic decline was followed by demographic regress intensified with the appearance of malaria. The appearance of malaria was connected with the sea bay, a big silty shallow called Jaz, which was later for the most part filled up. Salt-works were situated here in the past times.

The traces of settling date already from the prehistoric times (graves from the Bronze Age, megalithic walls, a number of ruins of Illyrian castles in the surroundings, necropolis). In the antique times the town was in contact with Greek colonies in the Adriatic (the find of money from Korkyra); it developed especially in the Roman period.

Osor, as an important transit spot on the line of the oldest known maritime-terrestrial transit from Aegean Sea to the Baltic, was in the Roman times a municipium - an autonomous county district and it had "about 25000 citizens of various nationalities, natives, Illyrians, Italians, Greeks and others".

The town'sgate - a relief detail Bishop's palace - a detail of coat of arms


Evangelistary from Osor
Rome, Library of Vatican

Osor was the centre of civil government, until Venetian prince-captain moved to Osor, first temporarily, and from the 15th ct. (1450) definitely. In the time of late antiquity the town becomes the centre of ecclesiastical government - diocese (6th ct.) until the 19th ct. (1828), when the diocese of Osor is abrogated. During the Middle Ages it is still a big and significant town, although much smaller in expanse than the antique one, a vivid centre with developed trade and a crucial point for navigation in the Adriatic Sea. From the 15th ct. on, when navigation starts taking place on open sea, Osor loses its significance and has been stagnating ever since.

With the fall of the Venetian Republic (1797), Venice and Venetian countries together with Istria and the islands of Kvarner come under the rule of Austria, and by the beginning of 1806. they are given over to Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy. These conditions will last until 1813. when all those countries ("Illyrian counties") once again come under Austrian rule (until 1918).

Position Cultural - Historical Heritage Significant Buildings The Town of Mali Lošinj

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