Since ancient times, around 1800 BC, settlements of the old Liburnians covered the hills near what is today Kolan. The remains of walls on Gornji Gradac hill and atop Sv. Vid attest to their presence here. Another hillfort, known as Donji Gradac, was used as a settlement of the Liburnians from the same period, but the ancient walls of that settlement were sadly destroyed due to the construction of the road connecting Kolan and Mandre some thirty years ago.
The human settlement of this area is also evidenced by the numerous ancient burial sites (where bronze jewellery was found, among other) scattered across the nearby pastures. The continuity of settlement carries on into the time of Roman rule in these parts, as evidenced by the numerous remains of Roman villae rusticae on the edges of Kolan Field (Kavrle, Ograda, Polačine, Jurevice, Rnakovac, Lazić, Didine, Stomorica). The name Kolan probably comes from the Roman water supply system (Lat. canalis), bringing water from Kolan Field (well) to Cisse near Novalja.
Kolan is first mentioned as a settlement in historical records of a response of the Council of Venice to the Council of Pag dated 2 March 1441, when the Council of Venice gave its permission for the construction of a settlement in an area known as Kolan. The parish church in Kolan dates back from the same year. In the area of the cadastral municipality of Kolan (within the same boundaries of today’s municipality), sit the following partially preserved medieval churches:
- Church of St. Vitus dating back to 1348 and located in the highest point of the island,
- Church of St. Mark dating back to 1493,
- Church of the Holy Spirit dating back to 1391,
- Church of St. Mary dating back to 1393, and
- Church of St. Jerome – built in the late 15th or early 16th century on a small hill in the centre of Kolan Field.
The ruins of old walls built using plaster, and an abundance of Roman pottery and several broken columns, suggest that this was the location of a Roman estate (villa rustica) or rural settlement.
Throughout its history, Kolan was primarily a settlement of workers living off agriculture and sheep farming, as well as fishing in the nearby Mandre and Šimuni. Also, Kolan used to have a mine in the area of Kolan Field (Vele Grbe and Male Grbe) where coal was mined for many years.
Dry stone walls
Dry stone walls are not only part of the cultural heritage of Dalmatia, but also of the island of Pag. They were originally built to separate land into sections, and nowadays they are a must-see tourist attraction on the island. What makes them special is exactly their simplicity – they are built using only natural stone. In our field, you can see the hard work of our ancestors who built these impressive walls thanks to their hard work and patience. Apart from separating land into sections, they also provide a place of shelter for various animals and plants.