About island Murter
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Settlements on Murter island
There are four towns located on the Island Murter – the older ones, Murter and Jezera, and the newer ones, Tisno and Betina. Most of the island is covered with age – old olive trees and fig-trees, which are the main traditional crops grown by the natives..
Murter is the largest and the oldest town on the island of Murter. It is ofter referred to as the “capital” of Kornati, since its residents own almost all of the Kornati and the neighbouring islands. Seeing that Murter’s residents own every seventh island in Croatia, it would be impossible to understand both their lives and the island’s development without taking into consideration their bond with the sea, which is centuries-old.
The exceptionally valuable archeological findings of the old Roman town of Colentum, located on the hill Gradina, bear witness to the importance of Murter’s location ever since ancient times. The old part of the town, Selo (the Village), is located near the hill Raduč and closer to the island’s interior. Due to residents’ growing concentration on the sea, the newer part of Murter was built on the coast of a large bay called Hramina. In the course of time the town grew bigger until it reached Slanica bay, located in the south-west of the island. This is where the most beautiful beach in the whole Šibenik riviera can be found – the famous Slanica beach.
For a long time it has been thought that the name of Murter is connected with “death”. Still, it is most likely that it was named after “mortarium” – a concave trough made of stone, which used to be a part of the oil-press. The origin of the name bears witness to an old tradition of olive growing in this area. The olive oil from Murter is known by far. Over 170,000 olive trees used to be cultivated here and 60 wagons a year of the famous olive oil used to be produced. It was in 1913 when the oil from Murter received a Gold Medal in Quality at the prestigeous international oil exhibition in Eix, France.
Since the Kornati islands are mostily owned by residents of Murter, it is from Murter that the best and most exciting excursions to those “island pearls” start from.
Thanks to its location and well- kept architecture, Betina is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the Adriatic.
The central historical part of Betina was built on the eastern slopes of Cape Artić, located on the northern gate to the Murter passage. In the course of time, the town grew bigger until it reached the bay of Zdrače, where Betina and Murter joined. Nowadays there is no visible border between these two towns and the only thing separating one place from the other is – the name plate.
The town is overlooked by a bell tower of the parish church of St. Francis of Assisi, built in 1736., work of Ivan Skok, a master-builder from Šibenik. There is a whole web of small streets leading from the church to the old town core.
According to the legend, the name of the town Betina comes from an ancient Celtic word “bet” – which means “the mouth” – and it vividly describes the Betina port. In other words, approaching Betina from the sea, you can see that the peninsula, on which the old Betina lies, forms a natural port resembling the mouth. It protects fishing boats from the raging sea and the storm, which can be very strong in this area.
BBetina is by far famous for its caulkers – ship-builders, who make ships out of wood. The first ship-yard was built here in 1848 and it was a very modern one for that time. Nowadays, when caulking in the Adriatic is slowly dying out and giving way to plastic boats, with its old caulkers and a few small family ship-yards, Betina became the centre of caulking.
Jezera (the Lakes) is the smallest town on the island of Murter. It was named after large pools of water which flow into the valley during autumn and wintertime and look like real lakes. Although these “lakes” usually disappear with the first rays of spring sun, it is this natural phenomenon that the region has always been famous for.
The first settlers came here in 1298. It is said they had been attracted by a well-hidden friendly bay in the north-east of the island. There are many churches and religious monuments here, mostly from the 17th and the 18th century. The church of Our Lady of the Health (Gospe od zdravlja), built in 1720. is probably the most beautiful one.
It was probably due to mean soil that residents of Jezera became such excellent fishermen and seamen. Even today the town still looks like a typical Dalmatian fishing village, although it has turned into one of the largest fishing centres in Central Dalmatia.
UIn case you would like to have fresh fish, calamari, shrimps or mussels – Jezera is the right place for you! Coming to town quay at dusk and buying sea food directly from fishermen, who just came back from sea, will be an unforgettable experience!
Tisno is the newest town on the island of Murter. It developed in the place where the island almost reaches land and was therefore named after this narrow strait.
The town of Tisno was mentioned in 1474 for the first time, but it was mostly settled during the Cyprus and Cretan wars – the wars between Venetians and the Ottoman Empire. During French reign (1806-1813) Tisno was the largest town on the island and therefore the center of the county. In the early 18th century, after there was no danger of Turkish attacks any more, a bridge was built across the strait and the town started to spread on land as well.
The centre of the old part is located on the island, south-east from the bascule bridge. Behind the last row of houses and the church of St. Andrew there is a stony beach, overlooked by woods, and a nice promenade almost 1,000 meters long. The new part of the town was built on land, in the region called Gomilica.
Unlike most other Dalmatian towns and villages, Tisno is very rich in green vegetation, it has got unusually spacious squares and a long promenade, perfect for a refreshing summer stroll. Lately, the onshore part of Tisno has started to develop rapidly, especially its south-western part and the region around the Artić bay. Many summer houses, suites, restaurants and small family hotels were built here.
Tisno is also known for its big feast of Our Lady of Caravaggio (Gospe od Karavaja), which takes place on May 26th. This is when the local congregation gathers here.