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These pages are dedicated to Rab Island and hamlet Kampor in Croatia.

Why should I create a Rab page? There is an easy answer. My father was born there and still lives there with many of my close and distant relatives. I lived on the island, specifically in Kampor, during my childhood and have some treasured memories of the island; its beaches, clear-blue waters, great fishing spots and fresh smell of its centenary pinetree forests. Rab has been visited since ancient times; ancient Illyrians made it their home, Greeks have left their mark, Romans, Venetians, Austrians, French and Italians all wanted it for their own. When you visit Rab, it will remain a part of you forever. That much I can promise you.

Rab Island Map
For bigger picture (3989x2505pix) click on the map below.

Map produced by:Tourism Association Island of Rab.
Map authors: Prof. Dr. Paško Lovrić prof. Dr. K. Šimičić, S. Štefanac, A. Čala , V. Barić and Mr. S. Frangeš.

RAB is an island in the Adriatic Sea forming the northernmost part of Dalmatia in Croatia. It is separated from the mainland by Podvelebitski Kanal (the Velebit Channel) with the shortest distance from land of 1.800m. With an area of 91 sq. km, its greatest transverse length of 22km, and its total coastal length of 103.2km, it reaches a maximum altitude of 408m at Mt. Kamenjak and comprises three ridges of limestone.

Rab and all the Dalmatian islands were originally connected with the mainland; about 20.000 - 30.000 years ago, the lowering and elevating of the land and the penetration of the sea water into the basins resulted in the current island chain (see photo taken by Astronaut Reid Weiseman of Adriatic Sea and Croatian Islands. Quote: "neat to see how land was ripped apart long ago"). The origin of the islands can be gleaned from their karst topography which is identical to that found in the craggy Dinaric Alps stretching from the eastern Adriatic and down to Greece.

The island is one of the most densely wooded islands in the Adriatic and is a veritable botanical exhibition, including plants not native to the island. The Komrčar park, with its laurel, poplar, cypress, Indian fig-tree, rosemary, pine and hundred-year-old agave is now the pride of Rab. Its more than 300 freshwater springs provide a valuable water supply to the population of the island--which, in contrast to most of the Adriatic islands, is increasing, in part because of good communications with the mainland. Because of these numerous springs, Rab is considered to be the greenest island in the Adriatic.

Historically, Rab island had many different names: Arba (Latin = green, wooded), Arbitana, Arbiana, Arbia, Arbum, Arba and Arva. "The name itself probably derives from the Illyric word Arb which means dark, green, forested, which is even today an important feature of this island" (A. Perinić Lewis, Ethnohistorical Processes and Demographic Structure of Rab, Coll. Antropol. 32 (2008)).

After its initial settlement in 360 BC as the colony of Arba by prehistoric Illyrians, Rab successively came under Greek, Roman, Croatian, Venetian, Austrian, French, Italian, Yugoslavian, and again Croatian rule, reflecting the historic fluctuations of power in the Adriatic. For more on Rab history, click here.

The principal town, Rab, is a walled town with three parallel main streets built on a steep promontory along the west coast. At the south end is a 13th-century Romanesque cathedral, whose campanile is considered the finest example of Romanesque architecture on the Adriatic littoral. It is the first in a line of four bell towers on a ridge dominating the old town. The town with its typical, twisting and narrow Mediterranean streets preserves many monuments of art; medieval churches, the Loggia, Venetian patrician palaces with beautiful doorways, etc.

Rab island canton consists of eight districts: Kampor, Lopar, Mundanije, Palit, Rab, Supetarska Draga, Banjol and Barbat. These districts, according to the Jan. 1997 law, fall under the Primorje-Gorani County with the seat in the city of Rijeka (Županija Primorsko-Goranska sa sjedištem u Rijeci).

The main activities and sources of income of city of Rab and its districts are, first and foremost, tourism, then fishing, agriculture, and a ready-made clothing enterprise. Pop. (2011) 8,065.

Many myths and stories surround its history. One of them is written in the sculptures near the fountain on the square of St. Christopher. It is the story of the chaste Draga and the passionate Kalifront. Draga, who had promised herself to one of the goddesses, could not give her love to Kalifront, so the goddess turned her to stone to save her from the temptation. We can only guess what other vows were taken here.

Rab belongs to the group of Kvarner Archipelago Islands of the North Adriatic. Its winters are pleasant and mild, and the summers warm, with about 2500 hours of sunshine a year. The mean air temperature is 26C in the summer and 10C in the winter. The Kamenjak range (408m) protects the greater part of the island from cold north-eastern winds (bora or bura), and the temperature hardly ever drops below zero (centigrade). In the summer the mistral wind has a cooling effect on the the island. As early as 1889, the city council of Rab, proclaimed it a sea-side and health resort and established a committee to manage roads, beaches and rooms for guests. Thereby the people of Rab, famous for their hospitality, chose their destiny. The British King Edward VIII stayed on Rab with his American friend Wallis Simpson and swam naked there, thus making a substantial contribution to the popularity of naturist tourism as it is enthusiastically enjoyed today. Because of its mild Mediterranean climate, scenery, clear sea, sunshine and clear air made fragrant by ozone and the island's pine forests, Rab is an ideal holiday resort, and an internationally renowned health and recreational resort.

Some interesting facts and links:

Here is a short dictionary of some of the more important words used on Rab:
BODUL is a person living on an island, where it is usual to spend an evening in front of KONOBA (a local tavern) playing BALOTE (bocce balls) and where BEVANDA (red wine with water) is enjoyed together with fresh RIBA (fish) from GRADELE (grill) and music from KLAPA (male vocal group) whose songs are usually about MORE (sea) and LJUBAV (love).

Some fish types you will find around Rab

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Last update: August 29, 2016

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Željko Jack Lupić

The first Rab Island page on the Internet. Since March 20, 1996.