The town of Pag have a rich offer of the ancient monuments, culinary delights and an entirely different nature with magically beautiful stone scenery.
Medieval Pag emerged near the salterns where the abandoned Old Town used to be, 3 kilometres (2 miles) south of the present location. According to historical documents, the name Pag was mentioned for the first time in the 10th century. In 976, the Croatian king Stjepan Držislav took Pag from the Byzantine authority and appointed a Croatian district Prefect as the administrator of the town.
In 1244 Hungarian-Croatian king Béla IV granted Pag the status of a free royal town. After the rebellion against Zadar, Pag obtained partial autonomy, and Ludovic I acknowledged its full autonomy in 1376 as to all other Dalmatian towns. In the battles against Zadar which took place in 1394 Pag suffered a heavy defeat and devastation, and the inhabitants moved to a new location, where the present Pag was founded.
In 1403, King Ladislav sold his share of Dalmatia, Pag included, to Venice and thus sentenced Pag to a centuries-long life under Venetian rule. In 1433 Pag received the Town Statute, one of the first documents of that sort in Croatia.
In the middle of the 15th century, the Ottoman threat kept rising and therefore the inhabitants of Pag decided to build a new town. The construction works began on today’s location of the town, on 18 May 1443. The urban plans of the new town were developed in Venice respecting the principles of architecture and urbanism of that time. Giorgio da Sebenico, a great constructor and sculptor participated in the development of the urban plan.
In the 19th century, the town was ruled by the Austrian monarchy, Dalmatia Province, until the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, under the bilingual name Pag-Pago.
In the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the town of Pag had 4700 inhabitants. In later years, and especially in 1905, following the emergence of a blight, which had destroyed the vineyards, the population started declining. Many inhabitants emigrated, mostly to the USA, Canada and Australia.
Another wave of depopulation of Pag town and island took place at the end of the Second World War. In this period, the nobility completely ceased to exist.
During the Croatian War of Independence in 1991, the only link between southern and northern Croatia was the island Pag, thanks to the bridge that connects it to the mainland on the south and a ferry line on the north of Pag.
In 1443 the new town was founded and built according to new principles of town-planning. The longitudinal and the transversal streets, the latter known as Vela ulica, intersect at a right angle, forming in this way a rectangular square with the Collegiate Church, the Duke’s Palace and the unfinished Bishop’s Palace, which, as well as the town walls, were built by the famous mason and sculptor Giorgio da Sebenico.
The Collegiate Church is a three-nave basilica with three apses. The simple front is decorated with a Gothic portal, a Renaissance rosette and unfinished figures of the saints. In 1466 Juraj Dalmatinac became supervisor of the construction works on the church, while the building itself was carried out by his disciples; finished not before the beginning of the 16th century; restored in the 18th century, when the stucco work on the ceiling was performed. The church accommodates valuable works of art: the altar painting Our Lady of the Rosary, the Gothic wooden cross, and the silver processional crucifix and reliquaries are safeguarded in the treasury. The bell tower with its present height was erected in 1526.
In the Benedictine church of St. Marguerite, constructed after the plan of Juraj Dalmatinac, a silver processional cross and reliquaries are kept. The church of St. George, bearing Renaissance features, is a work of local masons from the 16th century.
There are several houses and smaller palaces with Renaissance façades, portals and coats of arms of local noble families in the town.
The Old Town includes partially preserved walls and the main church, a three-nave basilica built in the Romanesque style; the fronts of the Romanesque and Gothic styles were built in 1392 by the sculptor Paul from Sulmona. The ruins of a Franciscan monastery from 1589 are near the church.
Pag Town is also the place of origin of Paška čipka, the famous lacework whose first mention is related to sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict in 1579.
(Source: tzpag.hr, wikipedia.org)