The island of Rab
Rab, the island, and Rab, the town, are located in the Kvarner Gulf, in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea. Rab and the islets which surround it are situated in a very favourable position in relation to European and Croatian tourists. Therefore, Rab was recognised as a tourist destination as early as 1889. The municipal council declared it a tourist destination and summer resort. This was the incentive in the opening of Rab's first hotels. Today, Rab is known for and proud of its tourism tradition, which has already lasted for 120 years.
Island of Rab
The island of Rab is 22 kilometres long, and its widest part is 10 kilometres. The microclimatic conditions are extremely favourable for the development of tourism. The mean annual temperature is 14.9 °C, which is characteristic of a region at the meeting point of the continental and Mediterranean climates. The number of average annual sunshine hours is 2,417.
On the island of Rab, there are seven villages: Banjol, Barbat, Kampor, Lopar, Mundanije, Palit, the town of Rab and Supetarska Draga, and characteristically they are all face the south west and are located in areas protected from the north wind know as bora.
The name Rab derives from the Illyrian Arba which means “forested“, “green”. This characteristic of the island is relevant today, as a quarter of its surface consists of forests.
Lopar stands out as a tourist destination, popular because of its sandy beaches amongst which is the especially well-known Rajska plaža (Paradise Beach) of San Marino.
History of Rab
Today a part of Croatia, the island of Rab had a number of conquerors and rulers in the past. Inhabited in prehistoric times, the town of Rab is first mentioned in 360 BC, when it was inhabited by the Illyrians. At that time, the island was on the border of the provinces of Liburnia and Dalmatia. From the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD it was part of the Roman Empire, and in 10 BC Emperor Augustus granted it the status of municipium. At that time, the town was named Arba and it was the first town of the Roman provinces to receive the prefix of “felix”. Felix Arba – Happy Rab.
The Rab-born St. Marinus escaped the persecution of Christians during the period of the Roman Empire and established the city-state of San Marino on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.
In late Antiquity, the island of Rab was part of the Byzantine Empire, and then the Kingdom of Croatia. From the 14th to 18th centuries Rab was under the Venetian government, and then that of the Habsburg Monarchy (with a short French rule at the beginning of the 19th century) until its collapse in 1918. From 1921, Rab was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This was followed by Socialist Yugoslavia, and since 1991 Rab has been part of the Republic of Croatia.
There are very few preserved traces of ancient Rab, and the town which we know today originated in the Middle Ages. From that period there came the four towers, which give the town its distinctive image and have become a symbol of the town as well as the island of Rab.