Crikvenica is a town in western Croatia, more precisely in the
Kvarner Bay. Administratively it belongs to the Primorje-Gorski
Kotar County. The settlement originated at the confluence of the
Dubračina and the sea, on the site of the Roman station Ad turres,
in the past it served as a port for smaller Vinodol settlements in
the interior, the Frankapan centers of Bribir, Grižane, Drivenik,
Tribalj and others.
Crikvenica is within easy reach of visitors from Central Europe. It is located in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, known as the Croatian Littoral, in the part of the Kvarner Bay, only 35 kilometers from the city of Rijeka, the center of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. This large traffic hub and the largest Croatian port is also the closest exit to the sea of the whole of Central Croatia and a large part of Central Europe.
The town of Crikvenica, as a local self-government, consists of places (from north to south): Jadranovo, Dramalj, Crikvenica and Selce.
It borders the City of Kraljevica, the Municipality of Vinodol and the City of Novi Vinodolski.
Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Church of St. Anthony
Sundial (award for the best tourist place in the Radio Zagreb survey in 1977)
Zvonko Car Memorial Studio
Crikvenica City Museum
Near Crikvenica there is a freshwater Kavranovo lake
Old Crikvenica is considered to be the settlement of Kotor,
located on the top of a nearby hill of the same name. The oldest
material traces of human life were left by the Illyrian population,
and the name Ad turres remained from the Romans, which the Croats
translated as Kod tor (near the towers) after settling in these
It was a large settlement with a parish church and five smaller churches. In 1776, a strong fire destroyed the whole of Kotor. The pastor and part of the church values found refuge in the Pauline monastery in Crikvenica. Most of the population moved closer to the sea, and after the fire only a few families returned to Kotor. Today it is demolished and abandoned.
The history of Crikvenica is connected and conditioned by the history of the neighboring fertile valley Vinodol. From this great green cradle, over the centuries, settlements along the coast have grown, first as trading ports and then as fishing villages and especially towns and tourist resorts.
The continuity of human life in this area can be traced back more than 30 centuries. Archaeological finds of swords, spears, jewelry and the remains of numerous prehistoric settlements, located on the flattened tops of hills near the sea, testify to such a long population. Their builders and inhabitants, first the Japods, and from the 4th century BC the Liburnians, from these heights controlled the narrow channel between the mainland and the island of Krk, and on the other hand controlled the ancient traffic route through Vinodol.
Naturally protected bays also provided refuge for Roman merchant ships, and one such safe harbor was located in the once navigable, wide mouth of the Crikvenica river Dubračina. Only superficial archaeological assessments of the discovered finds suggest that the port and the settlement are at least 2000 years old.
In late Antiquity, a branch of an important Roman road ran along the coast, departing from Aquileia in northern Italy, across the Senia to the Roman province of Dalmatia and inland.
The late antique geographer Peutinger (4th century AD) recorded the settlement of Ad Turres in this area, after which the famous tourist settlement in Crikvenica has recently been named.
In the 8th century, these areas were inhabited by Croats and in Vinodol they organized their own parish, which consisted of free municipalities. They bring their spiritual and material culture to their new homeland, the achievements of which are evidenced by exceptional examples of personal equipment and jewelry, found in the old Croatian necropolis of Stranče - Gorica near Crikvenica. They were engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing, and from the found Roman population they accepted the skill of growing vines and translated the Latin name of the fertile valley, Vallis vinearia, into Croatian Vinodol, the valley of wine. In ancient times, vinodol was called not only a valley, as it is today, but a much wider area, including areas along the coast.
In the Middle Ages, the area of today's Crikvenica belonged to the parish of Vinodol, which was ruled for almost 450 years by the princes of Krk known as the Frankapans. In 1225, this princely family came into the possession of the Vinodol Parish and ruled it until the execution of the Croatian nobles Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan in Wiener Neustadt in Vienna in 1671.
Under the auspices of the Frankapan princes, and thanks to the free inhabitants of the Vinodol towns, the Vinodol law was created in 1288. It is the first legal document in Croatia and one of the oldest in Europe, created at a time when most of Europe is still widely called barbaric. The Vinodol law was applied in the area of the Vinodol Parish, and was written in the vernacular and the Croatian alphabet - Glagolitic.
Glagolitic is an Old Slavic alphabet created in 863, and has been in use in Vinodol since the 11th century. This letter was written by all social strata, educated commoners, clergy and nobility. All major historical documents were written in Glagolitic. In 1248, the Pope officially confirmed the use of the Glagolitic alphabet in the liturgical rite. The priests who were engaged in copying books and important documents during the Middle Ages contributed the most to the cultivation of the Glagolitic alphabet. Glagolitic was used in this area until the 17th-18th centuries. century, when it is suppressed by the Latin alphabet.
The founder of today's Crikvenica is considered to be Prince Nikola IV. Frankapan. On August 14, 1412, he signed a grant allowing the construction of a monastery for the monks of St. Pavle Pustinjak at the mouth of the river Dubračina into the sea, next to a medieval church - from which the name Crikvenica is derived, and that day is taken as the birthday of Crikvenica. The monastery building connected the surrounding fishing villages and became a center of public and cultural life. The Church of the Assumption of Mary, with which Prince Nikola Frankopan built a Pauline monastery in 1412, was built between 1381 and 1393. Recently, Hotel Kaštel has been decorated in this historic building.
Julije Klović, the
world's most famous small painter of all time, received his
first education in the Crikvenica monastery. He was born in 1498
in Vinodol, near Crikvenica. Legend has it that as a boy he
painted scenes of his homeland on - a nail! He spent most of his
life in Italy. He taught painting to the great El Greco, and
contemporaries called him "little Michelangello" and ranked him
at the very top of painting, alongside Michelangello, Rafael,
Leonardo and Giorgione.
In the Middle Ages, Crikvenica was the port of the Frankopan castle Grižane. Its inhabitants were mainly engaged in fishing, and a document from 1609 mentions tuna fishing along the Dubračina stream. For centuries, Crikvenica fishermen fished in Kvarner, and in the middle of the 19th century, in search of new hunting grounds, they began to emigrate to other continents. A group of fishermen who settled in San Pedro, California, USA, and in Seattle, Washington, gained world fame for their achievements and innovations.