Traveler, by the voice of my waves I will let you know,
you cannot escape my beauty. I am Rava – Center of the World- created by the God
It was years back, when I was still working with my father on our boats, when I first visited Rava – a small island between Dugi Otok and Iz island. There is something so sad about islands where only 8-12 elderly people live but that seems to be the future off all Croatian islands…
There are only about a dozen inhabitants left on the island. Very few visit in the winter but summers are lovely and lively on Rava. Filled with tourists and locals who return to their island from Zadar for the summer, Rava offers a much different picture than in the cold winters.
The ascent to the village itself is quite steep. No wonder the locals don’t go often to the sea! At their age, some of them would probably stay by the sea for good… The island completely depends on the local boat connection with Zadar which touches the island twice a day and stays overnight.
Most of the Zadar Islands’ villages have been built on the highest hills of the islands to leave them enough time to defend themselves from pirates, Turks and Venetians in the past. The Zadar Islands were the “harvesting grounds” for Venetians for galley’s rowers to that extent that even the archbishop of Zadar begged the “Serenissima” to leave some men on the islands. Back in the 17th century…
The village is some 50 houses… There are two villages Mala (small) and Vela (Big) Rava. Small Rava is mostly few old houses and some ugly new developments. Renault 4 is the preferred vehicle of most islanders of this archipelago! Durable, parts are easy to find, enough “heavy duty” to pull the load of olives or grapes from the distant fields… Usual color is “coffee and cream” light beige to make it virtually invisible on dirt roads :))))
This one is probably the “limo” for show only.
There is a hole in the center of Rava Vela where used to be a big tree. Legend has it that that place is the Center of the World and the locals even had a custom of pouring olive oil into the hole to make the “Earth spin” easier. Legend or not,stand there and close your eyes – the feeling is unique – like you are actually staying in the center of the World!
The most interesting part of the village to me is the old school. Long empty of the children laughing, now is more like a silent monument to the Zadar archipelago. Abandoned, silent…
Maybe most interesting detail I noticed on the buildings were 1940’s graffiti expressing the unity with USSR. Since that unity collapsed in 1948. when Tito refused to become one of the Soviet satellites, that means that those are at least 60 years old…
Kind of interesting historical document.
We got stuck there for two days almost without food that winter evening but the evening boat connection “saved us”. The return was dramatic as we battled the stormy seas with Jugo increasing by the minute. Luckily, Rava is a short sail from Zdrelac and the calm waters of Pašman channel are like a bath tub compared to the rest of the Adriatic.
Rava is well worth the visit. The silence is simply captivating. Maybe best time would be late October when the first rains start. When the scent of the earth and the sea combines in a wonderful perfume…
For more information take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rava_(island) where you can find additional links with images and information…
You can request a visit to Rava to be included to your Adriatic Dreaming sailing itinerary in Dalmatia: http://www.secretdalmatia.com
Great article. I have a friend from Rava, and he tells me their favourite mode of transport is freza! 😀 (for the uninitiated, it’s the little tractor in the photo next to the Renault 4)
Thanks for your page about Rava.
Although your photos of my house are outdated. Was pass thru generations, and over time it was left to deteriorate. After I inherited I restored it to its original state, the inside is more modern for relatives and friends to visit. it is the house on the port, next to the old boat. ( which is not there anymore ) Also our family owns part of the one with the arches… we hope one day to restore it too, and preserve its original architecture.
There are not many tractors as in the past. But they do come down early in the morning and wake me up, as they go to their boats, out to check on their fish traps. its ok… I dont mind, when I am there. I actually wakes me up so I can head out with my kayak.
I wish I was there more often. But I live in the States.
Rava is slowly becoming a labor of love by those who stay there and those of us who live outside but come back and restore it.
Did you know the local olive oil is the purest of that region in Dalmatia? ( Vjecko Bobich private reserves )
@ Gino – Rava was the love at first sight for me! Although visited only twice, it is a place where I will return. Hopefully in one winter afternoon, looking to hide from jugo…
I really appreciate your comment and thanks for the updated information! It is really nice to know that you are taking care of your heritage!
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