Beli. Island Cres, Croatia

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A gorgeous little village on top of a seaside hill. To me it looks very Italian. In fact this part of Croatia was occupied by the Italians not so long ago.  It is a typical sea town settled since prehistoric times, and its heyday was during the Roman Empire. Today the few residents main source of income is tourism, renting rooms to hikers and holiday makers. 

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140 homes, now very few are occupied, with a population of 35, a third of which are children. The school bus, an eight seater takes the children to school in Cres everyday, only 20 km away. The other children are too young for school.  Streets are cobbled and very narrow, no cars are allowed in the village.

carparking is outside the village 

carparking is outside the village 

Entrance to delightful village of Beli 

Entrance to delightful village of Beli 

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There are two Churches, one old, another older and it houses one of the four black Madonna in existence. The cemetery only has a handful of surnames. All Italian sounding. I met a 93 y o gentlman, Mr Bandera, he looked much younger than his years.  He told us he comes from a very long line of flag bearers. Maybe Josip Bandera, a Roman Catholic priest appointed by the Pope was one of his forbares.  Another Domenico Bandera was a leader of the fascist militia, also from old Beli, maybe flag waving for Mussolini?? 

Older of the two Churches on the right. Both have Romanesque naves. 

Older of the two Churches on the right. Both have Romanesque naves. 

Beli has one shop, the bakery and its open from 9-10 am everyday. That's it!! 

The narrow road down to the beach is steep. 18'. Easy going down, a bit tough coming back up again. The white pebbly beach has a few boat sheds, two shacks and a small camping area that is kept clean and tidy by the local sheep. 

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My Keen sandals, an absolute gift to have them, this summer they are my go everywhere shoe. Here they are on Beli beach after tramping 10 km through beech and oak forests to visit a labyrinth. 

My Keen sandals, an absolute gift to have them, this summer they are my go everywhere shoe. Here they are on Beli beach after tramping 10 km through beech and oak forests to visit a labyrinth. 


On the outskirts of town I found the old Roman bridge - dated so according to the analysis of plaster and construction technique comes from the Roman age. It is completely preserved and represents a rare example of Roman architecture. The bridge has an arc of 6.60 and a height of 4.70 meters. It was probably built at the time of Emperor Tiberius, because in his time Beli was the fort of Roman legionaries.

 

Part of the Roman bridge. Further upstream are two Roman wells. 

Part of the Roman bridge. Further upstream are two Roman wells. 

one of the Bandera household wells, I took this photo before I met Mr Bandera Senior. 

one of the Bandera household wells, I took this photo before I met Mr Bandera Senior. 

Living on a hill top, access to water was important. Each house in the village appears to have its own well. I doubt they are in use now as there is black poly pipe running all through the village now, along with electricity wiring and satellite dishes.