Krk (lat. Curicta, ital. Veglia) is a Croatian island in the Mediterranean Sea and according to recent measurements, with 405.78 km², it is the largest island in the Adriatic besides Cres of the same size. It lies in the Kvarner Bay southeast of Rijeka. Krk has been connected to the mainland by the Krk Bridge since 1980. About 20,000 people live on the island.
The Krk Bridge (Croatian: Krčki most) connects the Croatian island Krk with the mainland.
The road bridge is an arch bridge made of reinforced concrete with the roadway on top and consists of two partial bridges with the small island of Sveti Marko in the middle. The larger of the two bridges goes from the mainland over the Tihi kanal (German “(Wind-) Silent Channel”) to Sveti Marko, the smaller one from Sveti Marko over the Burni kanal (German for example: “Windy Channel”, named after Bora) to Krk. The spans are 390m and 244m. If the underwater fighter foundations are added, the longer arch spans a distance of 416m. When it was opened, it was the most widely spanned concrete arch bridge on earth and 85m longer than the Gladesville Bridge near Sydney, Australia. It was only surpassed in 1996 by the Wanxiang Bridge in China with 420m. Both bridges together with all access roads are 1.450m long. The maximum arch height is 67m.
The arches of the respective bridges were built from July 1976 to 1980 with prefabricated box segments in free cantilevered construction with auxiliary bracing. The two halves of the bridge approached each other from both sides and were finally joined in the middle. They are designed for wind speeds of 142 km/h. 20,500m³ of concrete, 130 t of prestressing steel and 4,500 t of reinforcing steel were used. An average of 350 workers worked on the construction site.
The bridge was opened on July 19, 1980 in honour of the Yugoslavian president under the name Tito Bridge. From 1980 to 2000, 27.2 million cars were counted crossing the bridge. Use of the bridge is subject to toll.
The first known settlers were the Japods, who belonged to the Illyrian tribe. From this period comes the present name of the island, whose roots lie in the Illyrian name Kurik. The Greek poet Homer mentions Koureten in his Iliad, some of whom believe that they are the inhabitants of the island of Krk. The connection between the sorceress Kirke from Greek mythology (in the Odyssey she turned Ulysses’ companions into pigs and lived on the island of Aiaia) and the island of Krk is disputed. Ancient writers called the island Kyriktike, Kurikta, Kurikon, K(u)R(y)K(ta), or Kuryeta, with the Romans it was called Insula aurea (“golden island”) because of its natural wealth, and the city of Krk proudly called itself Splendidissima civitas Curictarum (“Most Radiant City of Krk”). During the Roman Civil War the bay of the island was the scene of a naval battle between the troops of Caesar and Pompeius. Near Njivice there are still ruins of the Roman settlement Fulfininium.
The Illyrians were later ousted by the Liburnians, who were excellent shipbuilders and sailors, and used this skill for their own purposes. They established good relations throughout the Mediterranean, with contacts with Greek traders. The Liburnians took advantage of the favourable location of the city and the island for themselves, as the Amber Road from the Baltic to the Mediterranean passed through this area. The Greek trade routes from the Black Sea towards the northern Adriatic could also be controlled very well from here. At that time, however, the town of Krk had not yet developed as the centre of the island.
Since then, the island has been occupied over the centuries by various occupying powers, namely the Romans, Venetians, Hungarians, Austrians, French and Italians. In 1919 Krk, together with the rest of Croatia, became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was incorporated into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929.
Krk was one of the centres of Croatian culture in its history. One of the most important written testimonies of the Croatian language is the Baška tablet from 1100, which was discovered in the Romanesque chapel of St. Lucija near the village of Baška and bears an inscription in Glagolitic script. It describes the sovereignty of the Croatian King Zvonimir I as the founder of the chapel. The Frankopan noble family, very important in the history of Croatia, was originally elevated to the rank of princes on the island of Krk.
Because the island belonged to the Republic of Venice for centuries, vegliotic was spoken in parts of the island until the 19th century, an independent idiom that was a variety of the Dalmatian language.
Flora & Fauna
There are about 1300 different plant species on the island, including characteristic tree species such as holm oak and downy oak as well as European hop hornbeam and oriental hornbeam.
More than 220 bird species have been recorded so far. The island serves as a resting place for many Central and Northern European birds both during their transit and as a place where some species spend the winter. Griffon vultures nest on the south-eastern cliffs, which is why the coastal strip between Glavina and Mala Luka was declared an ornithological reserve as early as 1969.
However, the number of mammal species on the island is relatively small, and most of them have been introduced by man. It happens that brown bears from the mainland reach the island by swimming through the Velebit Channel to gain new territory.
A single author was able to register a total of 852 determinable butterfly species between 1984 and the end of 1988.
Including the find data from BRUNO and SOCHUREK, Krk has the richest herpetofauna of all Mediterranean islands with 32 species, just ahead of Cres with 30 and Sicily with 27 species. A particularly characteristic feature is the almost ubiquitous sand lizard, which probably immigrated from Italy only a few thousand years ago and has largely replaced the old-established Adriatic wall lizard. Among the twelve snake species on the island, the only poisonous snake is the European Horned Otter, but far more common are the Balkan Wrathful Snake, the Yellow-green Wrathful Snake and the Aesculapian Snake.