Rab has rich history with many historical figures. Settled by Illyrians in 350BC, Rab became ancient Roman municipality in the 1st century BC and developed into center of the eastern coast of Adriatic, called Felix Arba ( Arb is Illyric for dark, lush). Its glory days began between the second half of the XI. century all the way to XIII century, when it was governed by the Croatian rulers, as well as members of Venetian republic in a form of a free Adriatic comune. It was later sold to Venice in the 15th century and remained in their rule all the way to the 1798. when Napoleon came to these parts.
Among the fun facts is the story of the local stone mason, St. Marino, who moved to the Apenine peninsula to start the Republic of San Marino in the 4th century. He is the saint patron of Lopar and very important to locals.
City walls – Tower of the bold (Kula smjelih) – Tower of St. Christopher
Built in the 15 century with the intention to strengthen the fort, these two towers stand on the ruins of previous, medieval walls built in the 12th or 13th century.
Construction began in the 13th century, however most part was built in the 15th and 16th century. Gothic and Renaissance style tower dominates the Palace. Nowadays it is a home to the offices of Rab municipality and the City Hall.
The City Lodge
Built in the Renaissance style 1509. it is a spacious hall with a roof held by numerous columns. The Lodge was the center of Rab until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.
Built at the same time as the lodge, it still works fine.
Dominis Nimira palace
Dating back to the 15th century, Dominis Nimira is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings on the island, known for its Renaissance windows and the portal with the coat of arms of the Dominis family who taught people how to read and write in this very palace.
Surrounded by a garden wall with a portal built in the Venetian Gothic style, palace Bakota is very beautiful.
Monastery of St.Anthony Abbot
This Franciscan Monastery is located in the old town (Kladanac) and was founded in 11th century as a refuge for aristocrats. Today it serves as a gallery for antique oil paintings of Rab from the 1638. Nuns still inhabit it, tend to the gardens and make various souvenirs.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Probably built in the 4th century as an early Christian church, to be adapted into a Romanesque style church and consecrated by Pope Alexander III. in the 12th century. It was last renovated in the 15th century. Ciborium above the main altar combines a variety of architectural styles, which is why the church has great significance. The front of the canteen is decorated with marble statue of St. Christopher with a child on his shoulders walking through water.
This church is a treasure trove of valuable paintings, various relics and reliquaries among which the most revered is the skull of St. Christopher, who saved the island and its inhabitants only to be guillotined.
Cathedral bell tower
The most beautiful building of its kind on the Croatian coast, this bell tower was built in the Romanesque style sometime in the 13th century. 26 meters high original four-dome was destroyed by a lightning and later reconstructed as a six-sided pyramid.
Monastery of St. Andrew
This Benedictine Monastery has been in use since the early 11th century with the three-nave church part of the monastery rebuilt in the 18th century, so you have Romanesque elements hidden underneath Baroque ornamentation. St. Andrew’s bell tower is the oldest on the island and combined with the other four bell towers it creates a memorable city panorama.
Church of St. Justine
The church and Benedictine monastery were built between the 1573. and 1578. Monastery was closed in 1808. and now serves as a museum of sacral objects, among which a Titian school painting depicting the death of St. Joseph, hanged above the altar.
Church of St. Cross
Built in the 13th century and later rebuilt, it serves as a stage for Rab Musical Evenings.
Bell tower and the ruins of church of St. John the Evangelist
Monastery and Church of St. John the Evangelist is the only medieval sacred building with procession around the altar. Probably built in the pre-Christian period, and restored during the Romanesque period when the 20 m bell tower was added. The basilica changed hands, starting out as a Benedictine monastery to be given to the Franciscans in the 13th century. It was completely ruined in the 19th century.
Church of St. Christopher – Lapidary
A reconstructed chapel of the patron saint of the island of Rab, St Christopher, this church now serves as a museum and a lapidary.
The new permanent exhibition of the Town Lapidarium was opened in 2014, 35 years after the exhibition first opened. The new Town Lapidarium exhibition presents the historical and architectural heritage of the town in a new way. The author of the exhibition, Mr Miljenko Domijan, explains that “the exhibition was renovated and modernised both in terms of technology and the information it provides. The collection now includes new artefacts, especially from early Christian times, such as a stone reliquary from the 4th century. Since this exhibition is the only information about the architectural development of the town, it also includes information boards that explain its history from Antiquity to the present day. Every historical period (Antiquity, Early Christianity, Pre-Romanesque, 11th century, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque) is illustrated by corresponding architectural monuments, texts and drawings. The introductory informative scheme includes texts and the layout of the town with marked areas that are further explained on individual information boards.”
Church of St. Francis at the cemetery
Only preserved Glagolitic Franciscans (Third Order) building in existence. According to the inscription on the façade it was built 1490. using the transitional style between Gothic and Renaissance.
Church of St. Damien in Barbat
A path up the hill leads to the ruins of the church on Brdo sv. Damjana (St. Damien’s Hill), 223m above Barbat. Recent research has confirmed the theory that there was once a building there with three functions: that of a church sanctuary, a vanguard and watchtower, which was also a refuge from enemy attack. A floor plan of the fortress opens up the possibility that this was the location of the largest Justinian fortress.