The island of Cres has been inhabited since the Neolithic...
CRES, an island in the external range of the Kvarner group of islands. It stretches almost along a meridian, from Jablanac Cape (Glavina) in the north to Suha Cape in the south, in the length of 68 km.
The most prominent place on the eastern coast of the bay is Koromana, and on the western coast Creska Luka, Valun, Martinscica and Ustrine port. There are no water streams on the island; in its central part is the large Vransko Lake (5.75 sq km), with its bottom 68 m below sea level. It contains about 200 million cubic metres of water. Vransko Lake is the main source of water for the islands of Cres and Mali Losinj. Along the coasts of the island are numerous submarine springs.
The western part of the island is warmer and more humid than the eastern part, which is exposed to the bora (cold north wind). In the northern part of the island, larger forest complexes have been preserved (oak, hornbeam, pine), while in the southern part forests have been preserved only at some places. East of Vransko Lake are the complexes of pine forests. Most of the settlements are located in the western part of the island; the eastern and central parts are considerably less populated.
The major place on the island is the town of Cres. Steep and inaccessible parts of the eastern coast are the natural habitat of white-headed vulture (ornithological nature park since 1986). Quality building stone is extracted on the island as well, in the vicinity of Osor.
The island of Cres has been inhabited since the Neolithic (cave habitation Jami na Sredi). Older hill-fort settlements on rather inaccessible hilltops, encircled by a circular stone wall, date back to the Bronze Age. Hill-forts of a square ground-plan, Lubenice and Ustrine, date back to the Iron Age, together with the necropolises with barrows (tumuli). The oldest known inhabitants of the island were the Liburnians. Ancient Greek sources mention a common name for the islands of Cres and Losinj, i.e. Apsirtides, which is related with the legend of the Argonauts.
The oldest Croatian monument on the island is the famous Valun Tablet, written in Glagolitic letters in the 11th century. From those times are also other Glagolitic monuments of the island (kept in the Lapidarium - collection of stone monuments and fragments - in Cres and Valun). From 1000 to 1358 the island was under Venice, then under the Croatian-Hungarian kings, and from 1409 to 1797 again under Venice. During the Venetian rule the administrative and political centre of the island was relocated from Osor to Cres. Osor gradually lost its importance and decayed. After the fall of Venice the island of Cres came under Austria and in the period 1918-1943 it was under Italy. In 1945 the island was joined to the mother country Croatia.
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