When crossing the Pag bridge, we all look down to see the ruins of a small fortress on the very tip of Pag Island. It is called Fortica and it has been standing there since the Middle Ages protecting or guarding the narrow straight between Pag and the mainland.
If coming from Zadar, take first left after crossing the bridge to follow the nice road all the way to the tower.
The main building, as the entire complex is in fairly sad shape but still shows how wonderful and powerful this stronghold once was!
A local legend has it that the people of Pag saw Hungarian King Bela IV fleeing before the Mongols when he hid briefly in this area…
The entire area surrounding it is bare, “moon like”. Due to strong bura wind that is quite common in this area, nothing can grow on the sides open to Velebit mountain – “home of bura wind”. It is not because of the strong winds but because bura covers everything with sea mist and all that is left, after the water dries, is salt. Of grass and bushes, only the most stubborn survive!
Just bellow the Fortica, a ferry connection once connected the Pag island with the mainland. Last time in the early 1990s as the Yugoslav Army bombed the bridge from the air. One of their aircraft was destroyed and the plane fell into the waters of Vrsi nearby. At those days, Pag bridge was the only connection of Dalmatia with the rest of the country as the inner Dalmatian hillside was occupied by the rebel Serbs.
This bridge was built in 1968 and opened on November 17th 1968. It is also recorded that the bura was blowing at 8 knots for 45 straight days driving the workers crazy as they were mostly from inner Croatia not used to crazy winds we have on the coast 🙂
The bridge is 301 meter long and standing 35 meters over the sea level.
I still remember how our high school teacher told us of one of her student skipping class on the day the bridge was opened telling her that he “has to go!” This was a turning point in the history of Pag and it is hard for the rest of us to understand why this bridge was this significant, but just get there when bura blows and covers the sea in white mist and I am sure you will understand!
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