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Island Cres in Adriatic see Editorial Stock Photo

To establish the origins of the archipelago's name, which encompasses Cres, Losinj, and around thirty smaller islands, we need to examine the myths of the Greek Classical period and in particular the story of Apsyrtus. While searching for the Golden Fleece, he found death on these shores from the hand of Jason, betrayed by his own sister Medea. Because of the story the islands were named - Apsyrtides. Not counting the Neolithic settlements, the first people that found their homes here were the Liburnian-Illyrian tribes, followed by Greek seamen. Durig its long, distinguished history, this region experienced not only all the splendour and opulence of the Roman civilization, but also the tragic consequences of the Roman Empire's demise and the emergence of the Byzantine Empire. However, the Croat migrations to the area and the later serfdom to the Republic of Mljet, left the most indelible marks on the spiritual and material culture of these islands. Despite these historical events, it is the interwined relationship between man and nature, which can be cruel and generous at the same time, that accounts for this strange symbiosis, making the human endeavour look like the natural progression of nature itself. Everywhere you can feel the magical effects of this relationship. Beginning with the island's northern ridges, impassable, and worn down by the wind, continuing by way of the central plateau, wrinkled, rocky and barren, and finally, arriving to the southern edges of the island, open to the maestral wind and the sea washing its shores. One can also see these effects on the stone walls called gromacas, and moreover on the houses and ancient churches. Stone to stone, stone that reaches towards the velvet sky where the white-headed condor flies proudly and defiantly in all its boundless freedom.

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