KRK: "Splendidissima Civitas Kuryctarum"
"History of Krk"
The town of Krk, which is the main settlement on the island, is a typical Adriatic and Mediterranean town of Croatia, where traces of an ancient past are evident at every step.
Even the name of the town, KRK, can be traced back to a pre-Roman, Illyrian civilization that used the name K(u)R(y)K(ta), i.e. Kurycta, for the town and island. With the expansion of the Roman Empire to the eastern Adriatic coast, Krk became a prominent Roman settlement, a "municipium", proudly called by its inhabitants "Splendidissima Civitas Kuryctarum" - The glorious town of Krk, as inscribed on a stone monument from the beginning of the 4th c. The town had thermal baths with decorated mosaic floors at that time, which has been confirmed by recent archeological findings.
With the advent of Christianity in the coastal area, Krk became a bishopric very early and has remained so till today. Numerous sacral monuments testify a longstanding Christian culture. Within this Roman town, the first Christian community had their oratorio (a place for prayer), which was transformed into an early Christian basilica in the 5th century.
This church houses remains of an early Christian baptistery, a floor mosaic, stone ornaments and a unique capital with the motive of birds feeding on fish, a Eucharistic symbol. A major reconstruction of the basilica took place in the 12th century, resulting in today's Romanesque Cathedral. Within the Cathedral there is the outstanding Frankopan Gothic chapel, built in the 15th century. The Renaissance altar screens and two side ambos date from the 15th and 16th century. The Cathedral forms a unique sacral complex together with the church of St.Quirinus, the patron saint of the town of Krk and the bishopric. The church of St.Quirinus has a nave and two aisles, each ending in a semicircular apse. It was built in the 12th century and presents a unique two-storey church on the eastern Adriatic coast. Its ground floor (crypt), dedicated to St.Margaret, is a vaulted church with massive arches. The adjoining bell tower built in the 16th century and restored in the 18th century, completed this exceptional sacral complex built throughout the centuries.
On the hill within the old town walls there is a Benedictine convent. In its vicinity, there was once a convent of St.Clare's order. In the nearby Franciscan monastery glagolitic-Slav culture had been nourished for centuries. The Krk inscription from the 11th century, written in glagolitic script, is considered one of the oldest of the kind. Nearby is the Romanesque church of St.Michael with a nave and two aisles, today a much visited shrine of Holy Mary, Lady of Health.
All these churches house numerous works of art of Venetian and local masters, among which the most valuable is the silver altar relief, ordered by Count Ivan Frankopan and made in Venice in 1477. It was a gift to the Cathedral in Krk where it is kept today.
The Middle Ages have left their traces in countless little town streets, small squares, portals with ornamental coats-of-arms of patrician families and the unique defence walls with layers dating from different periods: pre-Roman, Roman and the Middle Ages, and mostly from the period of Venetian dominance.
In the 12th century, the Frankopan Counts, the medieval rulers of the island and the town of Krk, erected a fortified defence castle with four towers by the sea. Today, every summer, this ancient castle, as well as the Cathedral and other churches, stage outstanding concerts and performances organized by the "Krk Summer Festival".
Text: Dr. Franjo Velèiæ
"The buildings of the Old Town"
In the middle of the old town, you can see:
1) the complex of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, with the churches of St Margaret and St Quirinus, patron saint of the town (11th / 12th centuries). The bell tower was built in the 18th century.
2) A well-preserved urban unit from the Roman period within the city walls, which obtained their current appearance between the 12th and the 15th century.
3) Kamplin Square (trg), with its Frankopan castle, with 4 Square Towers from 1191, and a round tower from the Venetian period.
4) The main city square, called Vela placa, with the building of the Town Hall from the 15th century and a Renaissance fountain.
The Frankopan castle in the town of Krk is currently used for open-air performances in the summer months.