The main island settlement bearing the same name is of Liburnian provenience, and the root of the name comes from Illyrian "Arb" (dark, green, wooded) and is simply transposed into antique names of Arba, Arva, Arbia which are mentioned by the cosmographers of the time. In the time of emperor August's reign the town has a status of a Roman municipium, and epigraphy mentions forts, aqueduct, porticos and baths. Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphirogenetus calls it Arbe in the 10th c., and later, Italian name is also the same.
Croatian name - Rab is for the first time mentioned in 1446 in the document about the founding of the Franciscan monastery of Sta. Euphemia in Kampor. The town preserves the municipal tradition throughout the Middle Ages (as a Roman community during the time of Byzantine Theme Dalmatia, in the short Venetian rule by the beginning of the 11th c., and also in the structure of the Croatian state), and king Koloman confirms its privileges in 1107. It functions as a commune (a political formation characteristic of Dalmatia) with peace and economic prosperity until the period of almost four hundred years long Venetian rule (1409), and then it slowly declines up to the threshold of the 20th c.
From the 11th to the 15th c. a series of public and residential buildings is constructed: Prince's Palace, palaces Dominis, Nimira, Crnota, Galzigna and Marinelis, and on numerous public buildings we have the remains of details and wall layers from the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance period.
The historical core of Rab is still a good deal enclosed in town walls, which are partly dating from the 8th c., from the period of the Byzantine rule, and partly from the Venetian period when they were sporadically rebuilt, enlarged and strengthened.
Rab still fosters its tradition and history. Every year in May and July knightly games take place here, which were founded already in 1364. The specialty of these games is the antique crossbow with which the town was defended from the attackers in the Middle Ages. The games were introduced in honour of that prevention and in honour of Rab's patron St. Christopher.
THE ISLAND OF RAB: Position,
© Ineco, 1995./2005.