Brodarica is a new settlement near Šibenik, where most of the population is engaged in tourism. A large number of private apartments and several holiday houses with swimming pools, camps and boarding houses are located in Brodarica. It has a 4 km long coast with pebble beaches, shops, restaurants and cafés which also serves as a promenade. Brodarica is 300 meters away from the island of Krapanj, which is actually the historical centre of these two places, separated by sea, but still inseparably connected.
The island of Krapanj is the lowest and the smallest inhabited island in the Adriatic. Its highest altitude does not exceed 1.25 m and it is only 300 m away from the mainland. During the 1960s, with more than 1500 inhabitants, it was the most densely populated island in the Adriatic. The surface area of Krapanj is less than half a square kilometre. Today, about 200 people live in Krapanj. Krapanj is the island of a centuries-old tradition of diving, sponge harvesting and processing and fishing.
Krapanj i.e. its centre is composed of mostly stone houses, which form a network of narrow stone streets, characteristic of the Dalmatian landscape. A centuries-old pine forest and the monastery of the Holy Cross must be pointed out. The museum of the monastery houses numerous exhibits that show the life on Krapanj in the past.
The island of Krapanj belonged to the Šibenik’s Chapter, which in 1436 sold it to Toma Jurić, a Šibenik nobleman, the descendant of the Šubić noble family. That same year the owner of the island Toma Jurić started to build the chapel following the approval of Pope Eugene IV. In his last will, Toma Jurić left Krapanj to the Franciscans. The monastery on Krapanj was built in parallel with the church from 1446, and in 1626 (the church was dedicated 5.5.1523) The monastery was upgraded and a well was built in the late-Renaissance style. The monastery was built for the needs of the Bosnian parish. The Last Supper, a painting of Francesco Santacroce (1511-1584) is located in the monastery dining room. The monastic library has 23 incunables. In the church, there are pictures of Our Lady with Jesus, of the Sienese School and Holy Cross with a crucifix made from an olive tree, which was brought from the Holy Land in 1523 and attributed to the Split canon Juraj Petrović. The corpus Christi is similar to that of Badija and Pridvorje. The church was consecrated on 5 May 1523 with the name Holy Cross. In 1652, the monastery was entrusted with the parish.
Although the settling of people on the island, and selling or donating of land was not allowed, the population of Krapanj began as a result of the Turkish invasion and the escaping of the population into safer areas, including the islands. Already around 1500, there were around 200 rural houses in Krapanj. The Ottomans never managed to lay feet on Krapanj. A story of the Ottomans being rejected and sunk in the channel between Krapanj and the mainland is still told today. The Franciscans were also often engaged in the defence of the island, even at the forefront of the armed defence of the island, such as the Franciscan Petar Musalić in 1652.
Settled down on the island without the supply of potable water, pastures and cultivated land, where normal life would be possible, the settlers very quickly turned to the sea. The island was rich in olive groves and there is a portal of St. Lawrence’s oil mill from 1584 in one street. The oil mill was renovated a few years ago and serves as a gallery/museum.
During these centuries, the island Krapanj was ruled by Venice. Venice did not tolerate members of other states, so they forbid the stay of Franciscans from provinces under the Turkish rule in their area. Therefore, the monastery came under the Dalmatian Province of St. Jerome. In 1811, an elementary school (which still operates) was opened on the island, in the monastery classroom. It was established by the Franciscan Ante Vilica. In 1888, it was replaced by the provincial elementary school.
In the Second World War, the island was harmed by the Četniks. There is a memorial plate in Krapanj that says “In this place, on 26th May 1944 a President M.N.O Krapanj Šime Tanfara was slain by the Četniks”. When the Četniks reach the island from the mainland, in May 1944, they began their bloody madness. In mid-1944, they sow fear and death, butchered and devastated, even on the smallest islands in Šibenik. The victims of the Četnik terror rest at the foot of the stone cross at the Krapanj cemetery from 1678.
The islanders also suffered after the war. The communist regime has depopulated Krapanj and sent its inhabitants around the world. As early as 1951, the island’s youth began to flee to Italy. In 1959, the island got electricity, and in 1964 water supply. But the escape from the regime continued. The young men rowed to Italy at night. Some had succeeded, some had disappeared into the depths of the Adriatic, some had been captured and convicted as state enemies of the communist regime. Most locals are now living throughout the world, especially in Australia, Canada, USA and Europe.
Renovation of infrastructure
From second half of the 20th century, large infrastructure works were made on the island, which facilitated the lives of the locals – in addition to acquired electricity, from 1963 to 1964 a water supply was implemented, and from 1967 to 1972 the concreting and asphalting of the roads of the island of Krapanj was done.