Croatia, Beli

Croatia, Beli

Beli is a small, but truly unique village located on the island of Cres. It is one of the oldest settlements on the Kvarner Islands, people settled here four thousand years ago. The village of Beli is located on a rocky shore at an altitude of 130 meters. This arrangement is not accidental, it was chosen for strategic reasons. In the ancient period, this place was called Caput insulae – “the head of the island”, which turned into the original name of the settlement Caisole. The current name “Beli” is associated with the time of the Hungarian king Bela IV, who was seeking refuge here from a horde of Tatar invaders.

Here, much indicates the rich history of these places: the ruins of the Roman period and the remains of medieval fortifications, Gothic churches, beautiful old balconies and decorated facades of houses, inscriptions on the Glagun on gravestones. On the hillside there is an interesting place – a cemented area, similar to the entrance to the amphitheater, which is surrounded by stone seats. Here, villagers met at meetings during the ancient and very short period of democracy, when Beli was an independent commune about a thousand years ago.

The village is divided into two parts – Beli on the hill and Pod Beli on the coast. Between them there is a rather steep road, which, however, is quite a carriageway.

There are several cultural monuments in Beli, among them: a parish church with a semi-circular apse, preserving several valuable verb documents, the church of St. Mary with a museum collection, the chapel of St. Anthony in the local cemetery, prehistoric stables at the entrance to the village, the stone head of King Abel, and also the famous Roman bridge is the only surviving bridge of the Roman period in the east of the Adriatic.

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In Beli, there is the eco-center Caput insulae, which is part of the Kruna nature reserve. The activity of the center is aimed at protecting the nests of the bald vulture and promoting ecotourism on the island. The center constantly operates several expositions demonstrating the biological diversity of the island of Cres and the Losinj archipelago. There is also a nursery for wounded birds, which can be visited by anyone.

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