Photograph of Vrbnik, or its characteristic ground plan of the old core, shows all features of a Medieval scheme. However, soil requirements created special settlement of dense quarters with prominent bell tower of the Church of Our Lady at the highest point of cone-like ground.
At the ground plan disposition still now one can notice two centers towards which narrow and very often covered small streets gravitate. There are also two squares, so called church and populus ones. On the first square, perhaps the older one, by its north edge of the settlement, there are, besides the parochial church and bell tower, also the church loggia - meeting place of the clergy, and Frankopan castle, while at the south square called “Square”, nearby the main entrance into the town, there is populus loggia and “Podestery” (principal administrative building). That square belonged to general population where ceremonies took place along with “dances”.
Long ago, people could enter the City through two portals: “Big Portals” - Dvera and “Small Portals” - Dverca. The Church of St. John was located by the entrance Portal. At its front there was a huge picture of St Christopher, which is a very rare example for Croatia, and on Kvarner islands the only known example of such iconography.
Vrbnik is a typical ancient city, organized on typically coastal pattern, which means that on a small area all the buildings are bound together. The city resembles a cone, with houses condensed as bunch of grapes, which were built for safety of inhabitants within the walls. The evidence is partially preserved city ramparts with damaged tower.
The city was built on a live rock, which still today can be seen in majority of objects as a part of dumbbell walls of the lowest floor. It is interrupted with narrow and winding streets, with numerous “blind alleys”, narrow passages with lots of arches, on which the old compact houses are arisen. The buildings in Vrbnik were built in rows, and because of used architectonic elements, their frontispieces are very modest almost without exception with characteristic outside stairs and balconies.
|Objects’ roofs are more often solved by characteristic construction of Mediterranean culture circle, as a leaning double roof, or double mansard roof, and less usual are single or plane roofs. Historic partitioning and building of additional stories on the object, as well as realization of the “right to view” or “longing for sun”, very often resulted in unexpected geometrization of roof planes, which contribute to the general impression of a picturesque city.|
Crowded area and requirements of steep terrene left very little freedom to architectonic articulation, therefore a chimney as independent building elements became pointedly emphasized as a sculpture which marks and places the object. Striving for artistic expression and confirmation of individuality were fulfilled in form of the end part of the chimney, which represents protective sign of the house - fireplaces.
At the beginning of 19th century Vrbnik expanded outside its old walls. So the new city square, called Skujica was created, building of houses of bigger dimensions with spacious yards (court) began.
© Ineco, 1995./2005.