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Rab Town Review
Sitting on a narrow peninsula halfway up the island's southern coast, the compact, well-preserved medieval village is best known for its distinctive skyline of four elegant bell towers, and its many churches. Author Rebecca West, who traveled through Yugoslavia in the 1930s, called Rab Town "one of the most beautiful cities of the world" in her masterpiece, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Closed to traffic, the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town, which are lined with Romanesque churches and patrician palaces, can be explored in an hour's leisurely stroll. The urban layout is simple: three longitudinal streets run parallel to the waterfront promenade and are linked together by steep passages traversing the hillside. The lower street is Donja ulica, the middle street Srednja ulica, and the upper street Gornji ulica.
The oldest part of Rab Town is Kaldanac, the very tip of the narrow peninsula that juts into the sea. From here the ancient city grew in the 15th century to include Varos, farther north, and later was widened and fortified by walls during a brief Venetian rule.
Sveta Marija Velika. The Romanesque Sveta Marija Velika, built in the 12th century and consecrated by the pope in 1177, is the biggest church in Rab Town, and was built on the site of Roman ruins. Ivana Rabljanina, 51280. June-Sept., daily 9-1 and 7-9; Oct.-May, on request.
Veli Zvonik. The tallest and most beautiful of Rab's campaniles, the freestanding Veli Zvonik forms part of the former cathedral complex and dominates the southwest side of the peninsula. Built in the 12th century, it stands 85 feet high. A climb to the top offers breathtaking views over the town and sea. Gornja ulica, Rab Town, 51280. 10 kn. June-Sept., daily 9-1 and 7-9; Oct.-May, by request through Town Hall.
Komrcar Park. On the edge of town, the green expanse of Komrcar Park, laid out in the 19th century, offers avenues lined with pine trees for gentle strolling and access down to the sea. Although the Old Town and its immediate surroundings are Rab's chief treasures, the city is also a gateway to the great stretches of beach that rim the towns of Kampor, Suha Punta, Lopar, and neighboring islands. Northwest of the Old Town, just behind the seafront promenade, Obala Kralja Petra Kresimira IV, 51280.
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