Novalja developed on the site of the ancient settlement Novalia which represented the southern port of the Roman settlement Cissa (today Caska). From the Roman times parts of the aqueduct, several inscriptions and architectural plastic forms have been preserved. In the early Christian times there was a large basilica urbana in the centre of the town, with a semicircular apse and mosaics (remains of architecture, plastic forms, inscriptions).

 

In 1971 two decorated reliquaries were found there: a bronze one from the 4th century and a silver one, from a later period. On the same place the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Gothic style was erected, annexed in the Baroque period, which holds the painting of Our Lady with Childfrom the 16th century. The present parish church of St. Catherine was built in 1906.

 

The Pag triangle

In 1999, an amazing phenomenon was discovered in the Novalja's hinterland - 32 by 32 by 22 meters large imprint in rocky terrain.The origin of this phenomenon remains unexplained and for this very reason it attracts the attention of lots of tourists, various inquisitive people, people from the media and scientists.

A theory of UFO visit had soon become widespread among the people, increasing the phenomenon popularity even further.During summer, experts lead the excursions, an exhibition dedicated to the triangle has been set up and there are even plans for opening a UFO centre.

Discovery

Mr. Drazen Peranic, deputy county supervisor from Old Novalja, informed us in March 2004 of an intact archeological site containing Roman amphorae off the eastern coast of the island of Pag. This fabulous news was soon confirmed by an expert archeological expedition, which was organized by the former Department for Protection of the Underwater Archeological Heritage of the Ministry of Culture (now Department for Underwater Archeology of the Croatian Preservation Institute).

The expert team confirmed that fifty meters off the shore the northern cape of Vlaska Mala inlet and some 24 to 29 meters in depth, and only a mile from Zigljen ferry port, a well preserved remains of Roman merchant ship from the first century BC were found. .

 

The Novalja's region rich ancient history presupposes a dynamic seafaring, evidence of which should be found on its seabed. Unfortunately, just like the cultural heritage found on land, the underwater heritage of the island of Pag is not thoroughly explored. The underwater remnants found so far were mostly items accidentally found in the shallow coastal areas off Caska. However, the not so extensive archeological works suggested that this underwater region still holds many surprises, therefore, an intact Roman shipwreck in the Velebit Channel is just one of those serendipitous finds.