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Island of Cres - CroatiaCres

An island in the external range of the Kvarner group of islands. It stretches almost along a meridian, from Jablanac Cape (Glavina) in the north to Suha Cape in the south, in the length of 68 km; area 404.33 sq km; population 3,238.

The highest peak on the island is Gorice (650 m). Along poorly indented coasts, the most prominent place on the eastern coast of the bay is Koromacna, and on the western coast Creska Luka, Valun, Martinscica and Ustrine port. In front of the western coast are the islets Zaglav, Galiola, Zeca and Visoki, in front of the south-eastern coast Trstenik and in front of the north-eastern the island of Plavnik. There are no water streams on the island; in its central part is the large Vransko Lake (5.75 sq km), with its bottom 68 m below sea level. It contains about 200 million cubic metres of water. Vransko Lake is the main source of water for the islands of Cres and Mali Losinj. Along the coasts of the island are numerous submarine springs. Typical for the climate of the island are differences between the northern part, in which an average temperature in January is 5-6 °C, and the southern part, where an average temperature reaches 6-7 °C. The northern part of the island has an annual rainfall of 900-1,000 mm, while the southern part has 800-900 mm. The western part of the island is warmer and more humid than the eastern part, which is exposed to the bora (cold north wind). In the northern part of the island, larger forest complexes have been preserved (oak, hornbeam, pine), while in the southern part forests have been preserved only at some places. East of Vransko Lake are the complexes of pine forests. Most of the settlements are located in the western part of the island; the eastern and central parts are considerably less populated. The major place on the island is the town of Cres. Chief occupations include farming (olive, vine, vegetables), seafaring and fishing (fish canning in Cres and Martinscica). Steep and inaccessible parts of the eastern coast are the natural habitat of white-headed vulture (ornithological nature park since 1986). Quality building stone is extracted on the island as well, in the vicinity of Osor. Along the island runs a regional road, as the main traffic artery, which connects all villages and towns of the island of Cres. It runs from Porozina in the north to Osor in the south and continues toward Losinj. In the southern part of the Osor Strait (100 m long, 6-8 m wide, about 2.5 m deep) a lift railway bridge with a road connecting the islands of Cres and Losinj has been constructed. Regular ship lines connect the island of Cres with Losinj, Rijeka, Pula and Zadar. Ferry lines are Porozina - Brestova, Porozina - Rijeka and Merag - Valbiska (Krk island). In recent times the island has become attractive to a number of tourists due to its improved communications.

The island of Cres has been inhabited since the Neolithic (cave habitation Jami na Sredi). Older hill-fort settlements on rather inaccessible hilltops, encircled by a circular stone wall, date back to the Bronze Age. Hill-forts of a square ground-plan, Lubenice and Ustrine, date back to the Iron Age, together with the necropolises with barrows (tumuli). The oldest known inhabitants of the island were the Liburnians. Ancient Greek sources mention a common name for the islands of Cres and Losinj, i.e. Apsirtides, which is related with the legend of the Argonauts. Among other ancient settlements mentioned are Krepsa (Cres) and Apsoros (Osor). The Romans conquered Cres during the reign of Emperor Augustus. On the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the island became part of the Byzantine properties on the Adriatic, and in the early Middle Ages it was gradually inhabited by the Slavs. The oldest Croatian monument on the island is the famous Valun Tablet, written in Glagolitic letters in the 11th century. From those times are also other Glagolitic monuments of the island (kept in the Lapidarium - collection of stone monuments and fragments - in Cres and Valun). From 1000 to 1358 the island was under Venice, then under the Croatian-Hungarian kings, and from 1409 to 1797 again under Venice. During the Venetian rule the administrative and political centre of the island was relocated from Osor to Cres. Osor gradually lost its importance and decayed. After the fall of Venice the island of Cres came under Austria and in the period 1918-1943 it was under Italy. In 1945 the island was joined to the mother country Croatia.