Revitalisation implies reanimation, revival, and each revitalisation begins with focussing on the problem. In the case of Cres, it concerns the folk architecture and contemporary life which is still framed by it.

“Kantuni” (corners), “dvori” (courtyards) and “kale” (alleys) are starting points for the Dialogue with the Community – meetings, conversations and workshops on conservation and revitalisation, during which experts and the community will discuss space together. The People Make the Island, an exhibition of photographs of the men and women of Cres, will be enhanced with “klapa” songs rendered the old way. Our daily laundry will show visitors where they need to go. You will no longer get lost in the historical centre because the Štorije (Stories) will be your guides and the European dimension will be expanded by introducing the Swedish collective DIS/ORDER.

Presentation of the process behind the footbridge initiative

Introduction of the European partners from Sweden
DIS/ORDER Collective
(the collective will be introduced with videos and a presentation in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines)

Time: 3 p.m.
Venue: Italian Community – Cres – 14 Frane Petrić Square

Opening ceremony and handover of the time capsule from the Crikvenica Neighbourhood
(the programme will be opened by representatives of the Town of Cres, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the City of Rijeka, and Rijeka 2020)
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Arsan Square – Cres – 7 Ribarska Street

Štorije – circular walk
Time: 4.45 p.m.
Location: Old Town

Our Daily Laundry
Exhibition by the Ruta Association
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Old Town

People Make the Island
Exhibition of portraits of men and women from Cres
Time: 5.30 p.m.
Location: Old Town

Cres jazz performed by Filip Flego
Socialising over Cres biscuits
Time: 6.30 p.m.
Location: Arsan Square – Cres – 7 Ribarska Street


The town of Cres is the urban centre of the eponymous island and home to 3/4 of the island’s population. The demographic make-up and trends are quite negative with an ageing population and declining population growth as young people tend to stay on the mainland after completing their education. And yet the population (roughly 2250) has not changed significantly in recent decades due to the positive migration trend spurred by the influx of new residents. Today, over 40% of Cres’ inhabitants are transplants, a third of whom were born abroad.

Cres is a Renaissance town with a well-preserved and densely structured historical centre that mostly took shape during Venetian rule, which is noticeably reflected in its heritage. Over the last 30 years, the town has rapidly expanded with the construction of apartments and family houses, without disrupting the town’s grid plan. The town is situated in a sheltered cove and is nestled amid vast olive groves dotting the dry stone terraces in the hinterland. Almost all production plants have been closed down in the past decades, making tourism the dominant industry. The natives still practice traditional olive growing and sheep farming, but only as an ancillary activity.  In recent years, collective awareness of the economic and social value of the town’s and the entire island’s cultural and natural heritage has increased among a portion of the local community. Since there are no other larger settlements on the island, the town’s inhabitants identify with the whole island and proudly promote its authenticity and unspoiled nature.

The town of Cres boasts a long tradition of cultural production, which has varied in terms of interest and organisation throughout history – ranging from brass bands, the town choir and the amateur theatre troupe, to pop-rock bands and “klapa” (a capella homophonic singing) groups. Currently active in the town are the Teha women’s “klapa” and the Burin men’s “klapa”. The largest organisation is the Vežgani carnival association, which brings together up to 100 locals each year for the organised participation in the Rijeka Carnival. The Ruta and Naša Djeca (“Our Children”) associations foster children’s creativity, with occasional assistance from the Frane Petrić Town Library. In their youth, a number of Cres natives were active in cultural groups that no longer exist. With some incentive, many would surely become involved again. In the summer, cultural events are organised in the town squares, the summer cinema and the cloisters of the Franciscan monastery. The premises of the primary school and the Italian Community are used in the winter. The winter cinema complex, which houses two multi-purpose halls, has been closed for several years due to dilapidation.


The People Make the Island is a Cres neighbourhood initiative that centres on the promotion and presentation of Cres’ historical centre with the aim of protecting and preserving it for future generations. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of heritage and its protection from decay and damage by emphasising the beauty and value of the old town. The new content will take a modern and witty approach to awaken the senses of passers-by. Lights, sounds, sculptures and quotes, among other things, will highlight the contrast between the modern and the old as you take a stroll through the town. The rundown area of Cres’ historical centre will be upgraded with new amenities in order to make it more interesting and available to the locals and visitors to Cres all year round.

The revitalisation of Cres’ historical centre is an idea powered by the vast potential of Cres that contributes to the removal of identified deficiencies. This initiative will restart abandoned processes through various stages and features:

Dialogues with the Community are envisioned as a platform for meetings, discussion and workshops aimed at the local population in cooperation with the municipal authorities and expert conservator-restorers, who play a pivotal role in the process of revitalising the old town. The aim is to encourage, stimulate and motivate the local residents through discussions and meetings to engage in the creation of social life and daily content by focusing on the needs of the locals, while adhering to conservation guidelines and the views of the municipal authorities.

The People Make the Island – Portraits of Men and Women from Cres – photographs of the town’s real inhabitants that bear witness to a time and life in the historical centre will be displayed in corners and courtyards, while the songs of “klapas” will take chance travellers back to a time when songs were “sung the old way”.

The exhibition The People Make the Island, which is set up in advance, will take you on a stroll through the town’s narrow streets with the aid of photographs from old photo albums and chests and are scattered along the narrow alleys of Cres, which will resound with traditional local songs rendered by the Teha “klapa”.

Our Daily Laundry – white laundry, sheets, linen, blankets and tablecloths will hang in front of the windows and over the narrow alleys in order to provide a slice of everyday life in Cres.

Štorije (Stories) – the idea is to place educational information boards that tell stories about the town and its residents, which will be collected in person by talking with the townspeople who live in the historical centre. The aim of the initiative is to reveal the town’s hidden history and values that are preserved in the memories of its residents and present a vision of how to preserve the culture of living.

The old historical centre and the empty streets will be discreetly marked with educational “signs” so that the Town Museum could expand into the town itself and reach the townspeople (for example, a sign that says “No urinating or defecating!” will be put up near the church with the explanation that this was a provision of the Statute of Cres from the 16th century that regulated residential conduct in the town). In addition to information signs, a map showing the layout of the town and basic information will also be displayed. A dozen such boards are expected to be installed in the town streets. The stories were created in cooperation with the townspeople, who decided on the topics and stories about themselves and their town.

The neighbourhood of the historical centre participated in various activities, such as staging theatrical performances at Pjaceta.

Most / Bridge – in cooperation with the EU Japan Fest. The architects Hideyuki Nakayama and Tetsuo Kondo have contributed designs for the proposed footbridge at Cres port. It is a necessity for the residents of Cres due to impeded communication and crowding. The townspeople can vote for their preferred version of the footbridge. Following presentations of the conceptual designs, public surveys and consultations with local institutions and local conservator-restorers, Tetsuo Kondo’s design was selected.

The conceptual designs by these first-rate Japanese architects were displayed in the atrium of the Italian Community building in Cres in 2019, after which the public voted on the construction of the footbridge in a survey whose results will be shown in the Cress Living Room.

Japanese architect (1975). Graduated from the Nagoya Institute of Technology.

Founder of the Tetsuo Kondo Architects studio (Tokyo). In addition to working in his studio, he is also a professor at the Tokyo University of Science, Japan Women’s University and Hosei University. He has won a slew of awards, including: the 2008 Residential Architecture Award given by the Tokyo Society of Architects and Building Engineers, the 2009 Grand Prix Award for his chair design in the Landscape with Chair competition and was runner-up in the 2011 AR House Awards competition.

Another project by the Tetsuo Kondo Architects studio is A Path in the Forest (2011), which is a path that cuts through the 300-year-old Kadriorg forest in Estonia. He also participated in the 2010 Venice Biennale of Architecture with the installation Cloudscapes, designed the green infrastructure in Valletta, Malta and was a guest at architectural workshops on Vis Island.

Green infrastructure is also in the works in order to make the bleak and gloomy town brighter and give it a more human touch. One possibility is to plant miniature green oases of Mediterranean vegetation or large and easy-to-handle pot plants, such as oleanders or olive trees.

It has been suggested that good neighbours could bring the flowers (pot plants) when visiting Cres, which would pay this forward to other neighbours with presents that suit their desires and needs.

The purpose of the aforementioned features is to attract people to the historical centre, increase identification with the town and promote a new type of tourism and culture, which truly permeates the lives of the people of Cres.

You can enjoy jazz performed by Filip Flego while mingling and trying Cres delicacies.