Cres is an Adriatic island in Croatia. It's one of the northern islands in the Kvarner Gulf and biggest in Croatia, with rich history.
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Last updated on: 19 May 2020
Cres has been inhabited since the Paleolithic time period. Its name predates classical antiquity and has Proto-Indo-European roots. Although this is one view, another more historically correct is from classical antiquity, when the town was founded and inhabited by ancient Greeks, and called it Chersos which in Greek language means "barren land", "uncultivated land" and "dry heaths". Later, "Chersos" was resounded to "Cresta", from which eventually the modern name "Cherso-Cres" is derived.
Cres was later ruled by the Greeks and, since the 1st century B.C., the Roman Empire make province of Liburnia. After the fall of the Roman Empire the island was taken over and became a part of the Byzantine Empire, and remained this way for centuries. Slavics came to the islands in the early 9th century.
Then, around 866 the romans inhabitants saw the first conflicts with the Republic of Venice. The Venetians eventually took control of Cres and the neighboring islands in the 10th and 11th centuries.
However, in the islands is being ruled for 400 years the Venetians took control. After Napoleon's victory over the Venetians, the island came under Austrian rule. After the defeat of Austria by Napoleon in 1809 the islands became part of the French Empire.
After the fall of Napoleon, Austria once again took control of the Cres island for 100 years. During this time the economy developed with olive trees, sage, and other plants becoming key to the success of the island. At the end of World War I, with the Treaty of Rapallo signed in 1920, the island Cres was once again handed over to Italy. This lasted until 1947 when the island Cres, along with Istrian Peninsula, were assigned to Yugoslavia.
The island Cres has gone through an agricultural downturn as many residents left the island in search of a better life on the mainland and abroad. This has resulted in many former agricultural areas becoming overgrown with local vegetation. Recently people, primarily retirees, have been returning to live on the island. Tourism has become an increasingly important industry and the population experiences significant seasonal variation.
Cres has its own fresh water lake, Lake Vrana, which is very highly guarded and illegal to swim or fish in. It is the largest lake in Croatia by volume and one of the deepest fresh water lakes in Eastern Europe, going down 76 meters at its deepest point, more than 50 m below sea-level.
The lake Vrana was formed by very heavy tectonic movements along a longitudinal relaxation fault which now contains 220 million m3 of fresh water. Comprising an area of 5.8 square kilometers, the depression reaches a depth of around 60 m below the sea level, but its surface lies about 14 m above it, oscillating by about half a meter, meaning the maximum depth is 74 meters.
Myth of Lake Vrana. There is a local legend that there is a castle under the lake. According to the legend, a rich sister who lived in the castle would not give her much poorer sister money or food. As a result, she was punished by having her castle flooded during a severe thunderstorm which caused Lake Vrana to be created. The story goes on to tell that on some windy days, if one is to listen very carefully the tower bells can still be heard ringing to this day.
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