Thanks to its position, its history, its great aquatorium, the island of Murter is one of the most special Croatian islands. Even though the island of Murter is connected to the land by a bridge, because of its estates and farms, by its organization it is an island above all islands. The island is divided in two counties: the bigger one is called Murter, and the smaller Tisno. Although inhabitants of Murter wanted their own county since the 19th century (since foundation of the Tisno county), their wish didn’t came true until 1999. Since the borders of the district mainly correspond with the borders of land-registry, the islands of Kornatiare also belonging to the county of Murter. That is why the county of Murter is one of the biggest island county in the Mediterranean, the county with more than 160 islands and with a coast line longer than 400km.
On the peninsula of Gradina there are ruins of one of the largest castles on the soil of the southern Liburnia, and on its foot there are ruins of ancient town Colentum. Colentum is also the oldest name of the island. It was mentioned by Ptholomeus and Plinius in the 1st century and also by the cosmographist from Ravenna in the 7th century. Porfirogenet in the 10th century doesn’t mention Colentum, which means – considering the emperors knowledge of the coast and the islands – that it should have existed by then. It is difficult to say with certainty when have Croatians set their foot on the island. It happened very early, according to findings of cultural materials and linguistic remnants in the toponyms, but the first written record of a name is from 1285 „Parish of Srimac has in 1298 has villages: Veliko selo (Villa magna) and Jezera on Murter, and Žirje and Zlarin” – claims don Krsto Stošić.
Croatians built a new settlement called Srimac in the spirit of their understanding and using island area, further from the sea, near the brow of a rich field and on the foot of the mountains Vršina and Raduc, from which the situations and threats from the sea could have been controlled. At the same tame(1318) on the first nautical charts the name Mortar is mentioned for the first time, later formed in the spirit of local dialect into today’s Murter. Both names were coexisting in the use for centuries, until today’s linguistic form finally prevailed.Due to a great proximity of the land, the island was so populated during the Turkish raid of the outback that it couldn’t feed its population. That is why at the beginning of the 17th century the population of Murter (Murterini) were colonated by the renters of the pastures on the islands of Kornati, and they stayed that way until their repurchase in the second half of the 19th century. Since then they are the owners of Murter. Until 1952 the archipelago was in the administrative and catastar county Sala, and since then in the Tisno county, followed by Šibenik , then again Tisno and finally, since 1999 in the Murter countyNeither past nor present of the island of Murter cannot be understood without knowing the situation on Kornati: first and foremost, great land of Kornati has stopped emigration at the time when most Croatian islands, because of the deterioration of grape growing, have literally become deserted. The second fact is urbanization of Murter. After buying Kornati, Murter is expanding towards the sea and the Hramina bay, which becomes the terminal of Kornati. In today’s language – the first real Mediterranean marine in the 19th century.
SAccording to the fact that the oversea land could be reached only by sea, the then farmers had to become mariners, fishermen and masons. Nevertheless, they stayed exquisite workers with great olive-groves on hundreds of islands. Because of that, in 1911 the then largest factory for oil processing on the Mediterranean was built by combined efforts of local inhabitants.
Although Murter is a village, during its existence it has preserved high standards of cultural, folk and spiritual expression. Firstly they established early a Public school (1845), then they formed one of the first Croatian libraries in Dalmatia (1866), established a church choir (1900) and an amateur drama group (1922). Special characteristic is friendliness and sincerity of local people, their love towards singing and drama expression.
Vast and colorful aquatorium, skills and crafts, folk and spiritual form of expression, have prepared the County of Murter for activity which combines tradition and modernity, individually and globally, old and new, natural and human – for tourism.