Omišalj is the only settlement in the south-western part of the island of Krk, and it is visible from each side from the bay of Rijeka. The town is situated on a hill (85m), with its slopes descending steeply towards the sea, inside a well protected Omišalj bay. This favourable geographical situation has played an important role in the history of Omišalj. It has been inhabited already in the prehistory and in the ancient times. On the spot of a prehistoric castle (Kasteljer), a settlement Omišalj has developed, which is mentioned for the first time in 1153 as "Castri Musculi" (the place at the clams). Below the town a locality Fortica is situated, with the remains of the Late-antique fortifications with a cistern which probably originates from the Byzantine period.

Old photograph representing Voz

In the Middle Ages, at the time of prince Ivan and Nikola Frankopan, Omišalj is fortified with walls, with all the necessary annexes, and in the second half of the 15th c. it also gets a defence tower, which was situated at the southern town entrance. A dense settlement developed around the Frankopanian castle, with irregular street-plan and with lined houses which were adapted to fit the ground configuration. From 1480 until the end of the 18th c. Omišalj is under the Venetian rule. By the beginning of the 19th c. the Frankopanian castle is demolished and had a school-building built on one of its parts (1885). In 1910 the rest of the tower is rebuilt in a residential building, which makes a whole together with the school. An old Frankopanian cistern remained in front of the school, gathering rain-water from the roof of the building. The only memory of the demolished tower is left in the folk's ballad, in the lament of prince Ivan VII, the last Frankopan on Krk, who was, according to the legend, tricked into leaving Omišalj by the Venetians.

Town hall and school building on the place of the former castle

In spite of all the migrations throughout the history, the population remained mostly Croatian, therefore it is not unusual for Omišalj being a distinct Glagolitic centre. This encouraged the Benedictine monks to ask from Pope Inocentus IV the permission to use the Old-Slavic church service and say Glagolitic mass. In 1252 the Pope granted saying Glagolitic mass to the Benedictines in Omišalj, and it lasted until the beginning of the 16th c., the time of the order being abolished. We are reminded to that period with the oldest preserved Croatian Glagolitic missal, which originates between 1317 and 1323, and today it is kept in the Vatican Museum.

church bell-tower
The entrance
to the historical core

Omišalj has preserved its medieval urban structure. The parochial Church of Virgin Mary's Assumption (Stomorina) with a bell-tower, town's lodge and a Sta. Helen's chapel. The residential buildings of a rural character have mostly preserved their original look: characteristic external staircase with first-floor gallery. The main lines of communication lead from the field and the port which is situated at the foot of the town, to the former town's gates and the square.

Omišalj gallery: Details | Ambiance

Important Buildings
Archaeological Zones And Localities
Ethno-Zones And Ethno-Monuments

© Ineco, 1995./2005.