Thursday 23 Nov 2017


The island Rab was inhabited by Illyrian Liburns in the prehistory. It is mentioned for the first time in 360 BC. The Romans conquered it under the name of Arba in the 2nd century BC. After the fall of the Roman Empire a period of insecurity and gradual changes arose. With the division of the Roman Empire in an Eastern and Western part, the town and the island of Rab came into power of the Western Roman Empire.
Roman rule existed until 493. After shorter interregnum, during comparatively short-lived rule of Eastern Goths (493 - 544), Rab and whole Dalmatia came under the jurisdiction of the Byzantine Empire, whose government left strong impact of its longtime presence on the economical strengthening and fortification of the towns, as well as on the building of architectural structures. At that time Rab gained the status of an autonomous district and was organized like a former municipium, named Felix Arba, which means that, like other Roman towns, it had its temples, squares, courts, public baths, aqueducts, theatres. . From this period on began for the island a very tumultuous and restless time of unexpected shifts and frequent changes of the government.
By the end of the second half of the first millennium the Croats came to the islands. First they inhabited smaller fertile valleys inside the island, especially at places with water springs. Former district prefects became princes whose power reached beyond the tight tribal borders. In the beginning these princes were Frankish vassals, but in time they became independent, so that in 852 Croatian king Trpimir called himself "Croatian prince", and already in 880 Croatia became a completely autonomous state under prince Branimir. In the 10th century Croatian king Zvonimir united Croatia and proclaimed himself a king and Croatia a kingdom in 925.
With the decline of the Croatian state the fighting for Dalmatia between Venice, Byzantine Empire and Hungary took place, and after the Croatian-Hungarian agreement in 1102, the Hungarian king Koloman was declared a Croatian king. Rab didn't stayed long under the jurisdiction of the Croatian-Hungarian kings but often changed the rulers trying to keep all the privileges that it had during the Byzantine period and the reign of Hungarian-Croatian kings. That condition lasted until 1409 when Venice took over the island and the town of Rab, which stayed under its rule until the fall of Venice in 1797. After Napoleon's short reign, with the decree of Wienna Congress in 1815 the island of Rab shifted to the jurisdiction of Austrian-Hungarian state.
With the downfall of Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy by the end of the WWI, a new government - the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed in 1918.


The island of Rab is rightly referred to as the pioneer of naturism on the Adriatic. The month of August 1936 is frequently mentioned as the official beginning of naturism in Rab, i.e. when the English king Edward VIII stayed there and the Rab authorities allowed him and his wife to take a nude swim in the bay of Kandarola. However it is certain that naturism on the island started long before that. The article "Trade in nakedness", published in the Austrian economic journal "Trend" no. 11/83 reports that the naturist beach in Rab was officially opened as early as at the transition to this century and that 50 beds in the hotels were reserved for naturists. The same article mentions that the first naturist beach in Rab was opened personally by Richard Ehrman, the president of the International Naturist Federation from Vienna in 1934. Naturism in Rab is also mentioned in the article of the Czech Josef Herman, in 1907 and of professor Günther in 1912, which proves that the Rab people had understood long ago the bright prospects of this movement which, at that time, was a very bold attitude.
The possibility to swim without clothes attracts for a lot of tourists, so that many of them choose to spend their holidays in Rab. While nudists used to be very rare earlier, there are thousands of them nowadays.

Barbat -ruins of the Church of St. Damian

a bay at Rab

vieuw over Rab

a village at Rab

air vieuw of Rab

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