otok cres, island cres, beli


The Roman settlement of Caput Insulae, located in the place of the present-day Beli, was founded at the site of a pre-historic hillfort which had a significant role in controlling the sea territory between the islands of Cres and Krk. The Roman settlement was probably founded as a veteran colony, and judging by a discovered inscription it was founded during the rule of Emperor Tiberius. The existence of a significant Roman settlement at the location of present-day Beli is evidenced by the collection of Roman epigraphs compiled by bishop Dinarizio in the 18th century, by the remains of a temple and a forum discovered on the site, and by the remains of the city walls that were still visible until recently. The bridge over a deep gully just west of the town dates back to the Roman period, so it is known as the “Roman bridge”. The bridge is a part of an old road which once lead from the city gate towards south. The bridge is 8 metres long, 4.7 metres wide, and 12 metres high. The bridge and the road underwent a reconstruction in 1878. Random excavations revealed numerous graves from the Roman period, some of which had plenty of artefacts.
Beli, the former Roman settlement of Caput Insulae (Latin for “the Head of the Island”), is the centre of the north part of the island. The little ancient settlement is located on a hilltop above the sea, with a great view of the surroundings. At the foot of the hill lies a small cove with a shingle beach and a campsite. Beli is filled with architectural gems dating from various historical periods. Here you can find remains from the Roman Age, medieval forts, Gothic churches, Glagolitic inscriptions, and varied colours and ornaments on house facades. Make sure you visit the Beli Visitor Centre, dedicated to the main natural attraction of the island: griffon vultures. The centre also functions as a rescue centre with a recuperation area for injured birds. The centre tells the story of one of the biggest birds in the sky, with a 2.8-metre wingspan. Griffon vultures are true adventurers: they explore the world for the first five years of their lives, before returning to the island to settle down, find a mate and build a nest. Cres is one of the last remaining natural nesting habitats for these rare and endangered birds.
In terms of tourism, Beli and its lovely beach next to a safe harbour are oriented towards family tourism and camping. It is also the starting point for a number of bike and hike trails leading through the surrounding Tramontana woodland.