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The town of Pag, founded in 1443, had been planned symmetrically according to the principles of Mediterranean urbanism with the main square and a net of parallel streets. A part of this harmony is transferred in the needle work of the women of Pag. The unique beauty of the lace tells a story about the island of its origin, and the centuries' long wish of its people to preserve this beauty.

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Saturday 20 Jan 2018
The Old Town

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Stari grad is about one kilometre away from the old town's centre, however, it has been a part of the town from the twenty seventies. Once Stari grad was a big and wealthy town, surrounded by mighty walls. Košljun, a settlement on the west side of the island, was its harbour. Exploiting of the salt was the main occupation. There also existed a harbour for the middle-sized boats.

There are many remains of houses and walls in Stari grad as well as the remains of paths and fortresses. However, the best preserved are the parts of the Franciscan monastery and the Romanic church of St. Marija. The church is mentioned for the first time in 1192.

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The explorers have discovered the remains of the antique monuments and the parts of the foundations in Stari grad that point to the possibility that this town had existed already in the Hellenistic times. The contemporary church of St. Marija in all likelihood was constructed on the foundations of the Old Croatian basilica from the 8th century. Pag has often been attacked because of the salt-pans. For this very reason, fierce fighting was going on between the two powerful ecclesiastical, economical and military centres, Zadar and Rab. Besides, Pag was constantly struggling for the autonomy, and because of that, several combats took place in Stari grad. The most disastrous one happened on 30. May, 1393, when the mercenaries attacked the town, plundered it and burnt it down.

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After the resettlement in 1467, the Franciscans built a monastery next to the existing church in 1589. The characteristics of Stari grad are the monastery well and the statue of the other of God of Stari grad. The monastery well is located in the middle of the yard. According to a legend, during a terrible drought endangering the whole population of the island, the inhabitants prayed to the Mother of God and She filled up the monastery well with water. There was so much water, it was pouring over the rim, even after everyone had quenched their thirst, had given cattle to drink and had made the supplies. Since then, says the legend, this well can not run dry even during the worst droughts. The citizens of Pag carry the statue of the Mother of God in a solemn procession to the town of Pag every year on the day of the Assumption (15th August). They place it in the Church of the Assumption where it stays until the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 8. September, when they carry it back to its sanctuary also in a solemn procession.

 

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