• POVLJANA / History of Povljana

History of Povljana

Municipality of Povljana on the island of Pag abounds in prehistoric archaeological localities. So far, the oldest item found is a fragment of a stone axe from copper-stone age (Eneolithic). Liburnians and Romans left an indelible mark in the history of Pag, and the Povljana territory is here to prove that (browse our site for an article on results of the project “Archaeological Map of the Povljana municipality”).The name of Povljana comes from the Roman name PAULUS by adding the Latin suffix – ANA, which forms: PAULINIANA. The Croats began to build their settlements on the territory of Pag quite early. Several medieval graveyards (Stara Povljana, Grušna, Belotine ograde and Gomilica) and churches give evidence of their presence on the Povljana territory. The name Povljana (referring to Stara (Old) Povljana) is mentioned in historical resources in relation to the construction of St.Martin’s Church on February 13, 1345, and also later in 1452 and 1492, but the settlement is older than that. In Stara Povljana Bay, there was a settlement by the name of Povljana up until the 17th century. Since the settlement was abandoned, it has been called Stara Povljana. Its inhabitants were moved to a bay on the opposing side, the present Povljana. In the year 1750, 90 inhabitants lived in Nova (New) Povljana, and by the end of the 19th century – 181.With a view to sacral buildings special attention must be given to the church of St. Nikola (Nicholas) mentioned in literature many years ago. Academician Ivo Petricioli described it in detail in 1963. In the meantime, archaeological research was carried out in the church and the church has been conserved. It was first believed that it dated back to the 9th until the 11th century, but lately only 9thcentury is mentioned. Some experts, however, date it back to the early Christian period, noting that the church was renewed during the medieval period, which resulted in a more lavish interior. Excavations at the church discovered some ten graves dating back to the 16th and 17th century. Two connecting gable fragmentsof the altar division that served as covers on two graves were found on the site. The gable is adorned with a cross, plant motifs and one four-legged animal (possibly a deer), with a four-twig braid beneath its feet. It is worth noting that on more than 70 gables discovered on the territory of Dalmatia, so far there haven’t been any records of a four-legged animal portrayal under the cross, and a four-twig motif is very rare. This church item dates from the 11th century.The church was restored in the first half of the 15th century. Further research is planned to determine whether the church of St. Nikola was built on the ruins of an older building.St. Martin’s Churchis first mentioned in the testament of its establisher Dižilav Radogostić Vučo (1335). The church is surrounded by a graveyardwhere excavations have been carried out since the end of 2007. St. Martin’s Church has recently been entirely conserved and hence temporarily saved, and it is an exceptionally important monument of Croatian medieval architecture. During medieval period there were 18 salt pans in the bay outside the settlement, as mentioned in a historical document datingfrom 1411. As confirmed by a document dating from April 28, 1341, a number of salt pans also existed on the territory of Seline Bay, in one part of Prutno peninsula. During very low tides the preserved remnants of the medieval saltpans can still be seen. The present parish church of St. Juraj, first dedicated to St. Nikola the Benedictine was established in the 17th century. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th century, the inhabitants of the town of Pag also migrated to the Povljana territory. The present last names and local legends support this theory.