Jewel of the romantic towns : RAB

Rab's flag

St. Christopher Patron Saint
town Rab Croatia
town Rab

Promenade Stadt Rab Kroatien
Hl. Christopher Platz Stadt Rab Kroatien
St. Christopher's square
Hafen Rab Kroatien
harbour Rab
This captivating, ancient mediterranean town is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the entire Adriatic. A special feature of the island is the walled old town of Rab with its the numerous Gotik- and renaissance palaces, churches and characteristic 4 belfries.  The integrity of the city in a form of a ship with dominant four belfries  attracts numberless visitors.  The city radiates with the mediterranean spirit and in the summer months it is the liveliest and the most 
frequented place on the island and a center for all possible interests; from gastronomy and shopping to art exhibitions, musical evenings and other street shows to the famous Rab knight games and Medieval festival.

In the narrow streets and medieval alleyways, town Rab has a scattering of welcoming restaurants, cosy cafes and of course picturesque meditteranean houses, churches and palaces. From St. Christopher's square to Lodge, town's main street practically named Srednja ulica ( Middle street) transforms itself into a big gallery. Here people enjoy company amongst others but can easily escape from all the hustle to more secluded parts of the town ( Gornja ulica / Upper street, the Park, the remains of St. John or rest by the St. Mary church to take pleasure in a peaceful Mediterranean surroundings. 
One can also enjoy in open air cinema ( subtitled films).

Since the principal impression about the town is that of historical sight, let's review it.

Town and island Rab has a long history that dates way back to 360 BC when it was first heard of under the 
rule of Illyrians. From 3 ct. BC to 6 ct. Rab became part of the great Roman Empire. The whole region was quite prosperous due to the old amber routes and maritime trade.

Throughout the history until the modern age and shift to steam shipping, Rab flourished due to this important strategicly position on the Adriatic trade routes. Old town Rab ( lat.  Arba ) holds the status of the Municipium  ( status of the self -governing town) for longer  then  2000 years, of which the inhabitants are very proud today.
It was the 1st town of the roman Dalmatia to be given this rare honorary title FELIX ( happy). It is  incrypted on a small amphora; "Felix Arba" and the amphora has a particular importance as the historical artefact dating to 2-3 ct. BC. 

Few artefacts of that time bear witness to present day that Rab was fully developed and highly civilized town, providing amenities such as running water, baths, temples, a theatre and a network of cardo streets. Although little is left to see of the antique roman build, the base - the main town layout and portions of the 
town walls still remain recognisible. The town is one of the oldest dioseses on this  part of the Adriatic, with the bishop seat from 530 AD. 

During the entire medieval period Rab flourished thanks to the trade in natural products with the neighbours on this and other side of the Adriatic; in particular trading the salt, wines, wood and silk. 
It is interesting that silk was known in Rab earlier than in the Wester Europe.  This is also the period when the main monumental buidlings were constructed ( Cathedral and the belltowers). Rab had its society organised after old  the roman partician traditions, clergy, patricians, free citizens, peasants and vasals. Town statutes date way back to 13 ct. and itís patrician families their family trees way back to 9th century.  How important the town was speaks the fact that the Pope Alexander III sanctified Rab's Cathedral  in 1177 on his return to Rome from Zara ( Zadar). 

Patron saint of the town and the island is St. Christopher. 
The legend has it that when the Saint relic ( guarded in Rab - came as a gift from Constantinopole ) was exposed on the towns walls against enemies, his patronage saved the town and the island from the invasion in 11th century  e.g. 09.05.1075. This event was described in  the "St. Christopher's miracles" and recorded by 
the Bishop Juraj de Hermolais in the 13 century. 
Traces of the past glory are read in towns heritage records: for expl. in 1018 the yearly tribute due to Venice was of ten pounds of silk or five pounds of gold. This richness  was the reason why many Venetians gladly came to this  to them remote island to serve the Serrenisima and enjoyed their life on Rab. Under the venetian flags Rab people and their captains took part in the great Lephant battle and lost many good sons.
After often switching rulers, in 1358. Rab came under the rule of the King Ludovic - House of Anjou, who was welcomed on the island as the great liberator.  In remembrance of the great King and gratitude to the patron saint it was decided to annually celebrate  the 9th of May as the Liberation dayor the Town day.

Though never independent like Dubrovnik, Rab had a prosperous and influential  life.
It reached its prosperous peak in 14-15 ct. in reneissance era when the palaces where build.  In the houses, churches, cloisters and towers one can see many details from  the time and sense  the contrasting environment  of the life outside and within the town walls.  Many portals and windows along the Upper and 
sideways streets talk of these prosperous and rich  times  when Rab had a theatre and a rich social life and when Rab ladies enjoyed the latiest fashion. This is also the period when Rab gave two important persons; 
- the famouse cannon and bell founder in bronze, Magister Johannes Baptista Arbensis (1470-1540)  who worked in Dubrovnik and made their defense cannons 
- a philosopher, theologist and natual scientist, Marco Antonio de Dominis, who was known as one of the most influential intelectuals and scolars of his time. 

Rab was also a birthplace of one of the saint: Marino - founder of the Republic of San Marino.

After the fall of Venice, Rab came for a short while under the rule of Napoleon. After the 1st industrial revolution, the island was rediscovered again by austrian, hungarian and czech industrailists  as a tourist destination. In 1889 it was declared by the austrian local council as  the sea bath and spa resort and shortly 
after that started the construction of first hotels on the island of Rab.  By 1940-ties Rab became very popular with the european elite. Let us just mention a few of the important guests of the time;
- Emperor Franz Josef 1875, Prinz of Lichtenstein, 1910, Austrian heir Franz 
Ferdinand 1911, Mayor of Wiena dr. Lueger 1909, legendary film director  Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau 1924, 
british Heir  Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson 1936.

After the 2 nd World. War it took several years of reconstruction until the tourism recovered. Tourism stayed
 the main island orientation until present day.

Nowdays Rab is enchanting and sharming place, visited throughout the whole year.

- 2nd week after Easter - Krizi ( "Crosses") - procession
- 09.May - Town Rab Day ( Victory day - see legend )
- 25 - 27. July. - St. Christopher's Fest, with knight's tournament and Medieval Festival
- 15. August - Knight's tournament
- summer Musical evenings; classical music concerts
- art exhibitions
- folks fests / bank holidays, local festivities
- pop concerts ( irregular, on announcement)

The patron saint of the town and the island is St. Christopher. The Saint's intercession freed Rab from the siege and in his honour are organized Rab's festive days ( 25.07.-27.07.) when many tourists can enjoy in the medieval crossbow tournament and medieval workshops of various kind ( traditional pottery, weaving, medieval singing, traditional crafts).

Tournament dates: Dates: 09.05.; 25.06.; 27.07.; 15.08.;


  • The legend of St. Christopher
  • Rab's chivalry tournament

  • Markantun de Dominis - ecclesiastic, apostate, and man of science

    See photo albums of the events here:

    - Tournament and Medieval Festival 2002-2003
    - Crossbow tournament May 2004

    Attractions in the old town Rab:

    Churches ( dating 11. to 16 century):

    - St. Justine ( 13 ct.) with the belfry ( 17 ct.) - museum of christian sacred works of art - closed for renovations
    - remains of St. John's Basilika ( 5 ct.), St. John Evangelist bell tower ( 12 Ct.)
    - previously a cathedral, St. Mary's church 12 ct. ( early cristian base) with the beautiful romanesque St. Mary belfry, 12 ct.
    - franciscan convent St. Andrew ( 15 ct.)
    - benedictine convent St. Anthony with the bell tower ( 11, renovated 15 ct.)
    - Church of the Holy Cross - 13 ct. - today a hall for Rab Musical Evenings
    - St. Christopher's church - today a museum and lapidarium

    Palaces 15 ct.:
    - Rector's court ( now towns hall), Nimira palace, Dominis palace, Tudorini palace, Dominis- Nimira 

    Other sites:
    - Park Komrcar with the monument of the forester Belia
    - Park Dorka with the monument of St. Marino - the founder of the Republic of San Marino
    - the town walls; the tower of the brave - St. Christopher's tower
    - towns lodge, town's clock
    - St. Christopehr's square with Draga fountain and monument of Kalifront

    Rector's court, Pik, Zubak, Kelava, Arba, Nimira

    Restaurants: Labirint, Santa Maria, Riva, Alibaba, Mali Gaj, Astoria, Grand 
    Fast food Buza 
    Konoba / Taverns: Kod Kineza and Konoba Rab, Kaldanac
    Pizzeria: Paradiso, Mare

    We recommend: Pizzeria MARE, tavern KALDANAC, Restaurant ASTORIA

    Island of Rab Croatia

    Accommodation in the old town of Rab:
    - hotels
    - private accommodation

    Beaches in & near town:

  • Padova 1 & Padova 2 in Banjol
  • Promenade beaches bellow old town
  • Taxi line to Naturist beach Kandalora 



    Beaches on the island


    Mittelalter Fest Insel Rab Kroatien
    Medieval dancing
    Veduta Rab

    Town Rab roofs

    Seaside promenade

    Taxi Boat
    Hauptstrasse stadt Rab auf Insel Rab Kroatien
    Middle street Rab

    Portal Nimira

    de Dominis Bbust

    Art on the streets

    St. Justine
    View Larger Map
    RAB Photo Album 



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