Secret Frmic Island

Numerous are places on our coast that were important in the past but are now completely forgotten. Probably the best example is the town of Osor between Cres and Losinj islands that was once a big city and nothing more than just a tiny hamlet today…with huge ruins.
One of the places like that is tiny Frmić Island just off the coast of Biograd.

Pašman channel - Frmic

This island is rarely visited as it is nothing but a small rock in Pašman channel but this is a great place for swimming and sunbathing as the islands’ shores are mostly flat rocks. The island is not even 100 meters wide and it is of round shape probably due to interventions in the past. Island was once surrounded by walls and numerous constructions can still be seen.

Ancient walls

The Pašman channel has 16 small picturesque islands and is by far one of the most unique parts of the coastline. Like most of the Zadar region, it is still unknown destination.
But this was the main sailing route for over a 1000 years!
All the ships sailing to Zadar, and further north to Venice, sailed through this part of the Adriatic since it had several nice size islands and offered good protection from pirates with numerous strongholds on the mainland.
However, Pasman channel has some of the strongest sea currents in the Adriatic as it is quite narrow and it was difficult to navigate it only rowing or sailing. The currents in the Adriatic are normally about 0,5 knots but here they daily reach 3 to even 5 knots in certain parts. Another issue here is that currents change directions several times during the day…

Ancient walls

So, some wise folks back in the days of Roman empire (and maybe earlier) decided to make a place where ships and boats stop till the currents change to more favorable – depending if they are traveling south or north. They chose to make it on Frmic as it was the smallest island in the channel and easy to sail out from no matter what direction one is taking. In Italian, ferma means stop and that’s how the Island got its today’s name Frmić.

Roman cistern

The fragment’s of ancient buildings and walls are everywhere and this is just a spectacular place probably still keeping numerous secrets. There was also a big pier that collapsed during the centuries and the only thing still telling us of once important site is the ruin of an ancient cistern. I still remember some local people keeping their sheep on Frmic and they would all hide in this half ruined cistern in rain…

Roman in tall grass

So the sailors had the cistern for fresh water and, judging by the walls, probably some taverns or shops. Watching this flat, tiny rock now makes it look quite improbable but layers of ancient settlement are bellow our feet as we walk. Frmic probably lost its importance only after the better vessels started sailing this channel and the entire area lost its significance. However, the island served another purpose as well…

Ancient remains are everywhere

Back in the 17th century, plague struck Dalmatia and most cities and villages were nearly wiped out. That happened to Pasman town (on the nearby Pasman Island ) as well. So, the people of Pasman used to bury their dead (or burn) on Frmic as it was far away enough to keep the plague from spreading. And, when I was 15, I was always digging all over the place with some friends so we dug one hole on Frmic finding scull of a child with some “toys” and metal coin with a hole in it. We did not realize that we were digging in a plague grave yard so we got pretty scared after we realized that (from the books). However, plague is spread by the bacteria and cannot live for centuries… So, no worries when you go digging graves! (Beware only of Anthrax as he Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax bacteria, can form spores and survive tens to hundreds of years. Nasty one!)

Once, sailors walked this shores

Now Frmić is a tiny, quiet little island and only few enjoy its beauty. Maybe its better this way.
But if sailing this archipelago, make sure you stop here. Just like hundreds of ancient sailors once did…

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  1. Rada says:

    No wonder, you are a restless boy!!

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