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Date of Submission: 01/02/2005
Criteria: (v)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture
Coordinates: N 44°53'15'' E 14°15'14''
Ref.: 2017

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Lubenice is a fortified urban settlement from prehistoric times which is confirmed by the surrounding tumuli from the Bronze and Iron ages that have been found. It has continuously been settled throughout the ancient times and middle Ages. Among the existing built structures, along with medieval sacral buildings, a dominant role is played by structures that have a high ambience quality and are mostly from the period of the baroque. However, in the substructures and details of the houses, as well as in their proportions a medieval layer is visible. Of special value are the remains of the medieval fortifications and two city gates, as well as the preserved historic core and the land composition of the settlement. Historically, Lubenice is a prehistoric, well fortified and strategically very important city. In ancient times it was mentioned as Hibernitia (a winter, cold settlement) to which a branch road of the main Roman road from Osor to Beli led. At that time it was one of the four most important settlements on the island of Cres with a fully formed center that was urban in character. At the foot of the settlement there is an important villa rustica with a broader agricultural area and a port that belonged to the settlement and wider region. Numerous archaeological material finds (sarcophagus, Egyptian inscriptions, ....., amphora and other building materials, as well as coins, jewelry, etc.) undoubtedly date the origins of this settlement to ancient time. In the middle Ages the city was fortified once again and became the center of the parish. The settlement is of an irregular, elongated, oval layout with a number of house agglomerations. Two longitudinal streets transversely connected with small, covered arched passages stand out. The city fortress wall with occasional structures incorporated within it is preserved on the eastern side as are the northern and southern city gates. The communication lines are uneven, sporadically paved with broken stones. A number of structures are organized around courtyards which are entered into through stone portals. Today, Lubenice is a small local center with approximately 40 buildings and 24 permanent inhabitants. The monumental vernacular architecture with stone water reservoirs that are accessed by stone stairs is exceptionally well preserved. An example of a water reservoir located on second floor level is likewise preserved. In addition, there are monumental chimneys of exceptional dimensions and shapes as well as other elements of rural architecture (bread stoves, horns for drying fruit, traditionally shaped eaves and wooden pergolas). The specific character of this settlement, as an urban-rural complex is reflected in certain urban style houses with urban water reservoirs and facade distinctions. The other urban elements also include the city loggia situated along the bell tower of the parish church, a square with a communal cistern and already mentioned city gates, parish church, cemetery and a number of medieval chapels (chapel of St. Dominic, restored chapel of St. Anthony of the Desert, chapel of St James and St Barbara and chapel of St Stephen in the cemetery). The fusion of the settlement into the surrounding humanized landscape is certainly one of its more important aspects. The settlement is situated on a high cliff and constructed of the same material making it an almost natural amalgamation of man-made and natural elements while the natural characteristics of the area are reflected in the very name of the city (Hibernitia – cold, winter settlement).