[ IMAGE: The façade of the gothis palace (1473) in Porec ] Upper Adriatic water-colours (...continued)

The stone from Brijuni has been used since Roman times in many buildings in Pula, Trieste, Venice and Vienna. It provides the backbone to an island where you will find deep shade under rich pine vegetation. Where centuries-old olive trees have resisted the storms of nature and the swarms of ancient invaders. Where you don't need a well-stuffed wallet to discover a world you believed existed only in the movies and where movie stars found privacy, too.

Where the thumb of Istria meets the palm of Croatia lies Kvarner with its totally different landscape and most discerning tourists. It has natural beauty, a remarkable micro-climate and elegant buildings, all brought together in the stately town of Opatija. The tourist tradition of this old, fashionable summer resort, whose beauty inspired many of the rich, powerful and famous, has seen the brightest moments in the history of tourism in Croatia.

Standing off from this curving coastline is Krk, the biggest of the islands. It is an island, yet it is not. It is an island by nature and psychological distance from everyday life. But it has its own airport and is connected to the mainland by a bridge (Krcki most) which, at the time of its construction, was virtually unrivalled in the world.

Some say the Island of Krk is golden, others green. Both are right. The former look at its tourist values. The latter see its rich vegetation. You will find your own island on Krk. It has immense variety in its villages large and small, gentle green promenades, bare rock wildernesses, tiny islands and hundreds of hidden bays and beaches.

The islands of Plavnik, Kormat, Galun, Prvic and Zec are very special to certain tourists. They may not offer the vivacity and variety of the more famous resorts like Baska, Punat, Malinska, Omisalj, Njivice or Krk, but they do possess that rarity of pristine nature which many prefer to the tourist buzz of Krk itself.

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Njivice on the Island of Krk

The record of the thousand-year history of Krk lies in the mosaics of the Roman thermal baths and the simplicity of old Croatian churches, the wealth of Glagolitic monuments, the heritage of the Frankopan counts of Krk and the paintings of the Venetian masters. The Island of Krk has a special meaning for Croatia. For centuries it was the centre of Croatian literacy and the craddle of the Croatian language. The Baska Tablet (Bascanska ploca), one of the oldest Croatian written documents, is evidence of it. There are famous tourist centres: Malinska with its wealth of historic monuments dating from Illyrian, Greek and Roman times, Punat with the largest marina on the Adriatic, and Vrbik located on a 50 m high cliff and a real attraction for painters. The best preserved fortified town in Croatia, Vrbik abounds in Glagolitic monuments, carved in stone or inscribed in manuscripts. For centuries it was the centre of Glagolitic literature on Krk. Baska is also an important tourist centre on Krk with a history from the early years of this century.

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Kosljun, a small island in the Krk archipelago, is known for its Renaissance Franciscan monastery, hundred-year-old school, collections and rarities.

Kosljun, the only inhabited island in the Krk archipelago, lies close to the main island. So small and yet so rich in history, it is known for its Franciscan monastery, its hundred-year-old high school, the grand library, and other collections and rarities. Moreover, the Lending House of Kosljun, which operated between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, was among the first financial institutions in Europe. Its purpose was to provide financial assistance to the poor, to protect them against usurers. You will find many signs of everyday life: a slide projector that runs on paraffin, a wooden flatiron and a collection of women's scarves which indicate where she comes from and whether she is married, single or widowed.

[ Croatia - the country of a thousand islands ]