• Island of Pag Croatia tourist attractions Pag lace Pag stone walls amphorae
  • Island of Pag Croatia tourist attractions Pag lace Pag stone walls amphorae
  • Island of Pag Croatia tourist attractions Pag lace Pag stone walls amphorae
  • Island of Pag Croatia tourist attractions Pag lace Pag stone walls amphorae


Traces of life on the island of Pag reach far back into history. The coast and the islands were inhabited as early as the Stone Age, the proof of which are also the archaeological findings from the times when the stone was a used both as tool and a weapon.

The island of Pag was inhabited by the Illyrians, more specifically by a tribe called Liburni who at that time lived in northern Dalmatia but also on the island of Pag. On the island various remains of the Liburni forts were found, as well as some fortified settlements, a cemetery and numerous other remains in stone.

The importance of the position of the island of Pag has been recognized by the Roman conquerors, under whose authority, at beginning of a new era fell the whole region of Liburnija.

The first written mention of Pag was made by the Roman geographer Plinius the Elder in the first century, and in his writing he calls Pag with the name Cissa (Kisa). Experts assume that name was the name of a place situated in between what is today the city of Novalja and Caska. In the great earthquake of 361, the Roman settlement in the area where today the village of Caska is located largely sunk into the sea. After the earthquake, Navalia ( located where today is situated the city of Novalja) begun its rapid development and it became the center of the island of Pag. This is also evidenced by the remains of this town's great basilica, which is a monumental reliquary and by the underground Roman aqueduct ("Talijanova buža" -The Italian's Hole).

The island of Pag was inhabited by the Croats shortly after their arrival to the coast firstly from the southern side and later on they started expanding to the north. This is best proved by the Slavic names given to the southern villages of this island: Dinjiška, Stara Vasa and Vlašići. Starting from the 9th century the Croatian state begun acquiring substantial power, the adjoining city of Nin became one of its centers, and therefore the island of Pag became a part of this country. Far-reaching consequences for the whole island will have the Charter from 1071 signed by King Petar Kresimir IV as the middle and the northern part of the island was placed under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rab, while the southern part of the island was given to the bishop of Nin. Once the division took place Pag was involved in centuries-old clash for supremacy on the island between Zadar and Rab. In one of these skirmishes, Navalia was invaded and devastated as well as the medieval city of Kissa, and starting from the 14th century on the site was firstly mentioned the settlement of Novalja. Since that time Novalja loses its importance, and in the southern part of the island Pag started his fast development process and it soon became the center of the island.

During the Venetian Republic the city of Pag, in the southern part of the island was evolving and growing as a free royal city. King Ladislav, in 1403, sold his part of Dalmatia to Venice, which included the city of Pag.

In 1433 Pag got its municipal statute, one of the first document of its kind in Croatia. In the mid 15th century as the Turkish threat started increasing, the local people on May 18th 1443 started the construction of a new city, on the same spot where this city is located today.

The urban design of the new city respected the principles of Renaissance architecture and urban planning, and the plans for the construction of the city were all made in Venice. The great architect and sculptor Juraj Matejev Dalmatinac took part in the process of developing urban plans for this city. On September 18th 1474 the local people moved to the new city.

Despite the relocation, local people have not forgotten the old town. The Franciscans in the year 1589 built their monastery there. The remains of that monastery still exist and can be seen.

During the Habsburg monarchy Pag finally become an administrative unit and started showing economic progress, that is the time when roads around the whole island were built as well as docks and ports.

In the late 19th century the National Party in Pag suppressed the autonomists from the municipal council, and thus became the Croatian language the official language in schools and institutions.

After the beginning of the 20th century the disease phylloxera devastated the vineyards throughout Dalmatia, and same thing happened on the island of Pag, at that time Pag whitenesses a large emigration of its population, its people primarily emigrated to the U.S., Canada and Australia. During the thirties, as a result of the agrarian reform, a division of land occurred and nobility lost their economic power in the city of Pag therefore they slowly and gradually started leaving the island.

Residents of the northwestern part of the island, dissatisfied by the joint municipality, advocated for their own municipality and they manage to get it in 1924, but only for a short while, as already in 1955 Novalja once again found itself being part of the common municipality. In the fifties tourism started gaining importance and that is when its development started to intensify.

Tourism, as a new industry, gave a new swing to the overall development of the island, and the whole island started to grow and develop, they started fixing up the beaches, building roads, hotels and restaurants.

After the establishment of the independent Republic of Croatian Novalja got its own municipality and it soon got the status of a city and became the most developed resort on the island of Pag