Culture and history:
Lopar boasts an exceptionally rich cultural and historic heritage that dates back to the earliest times. There are traces of ancient settlements on the entire island as well as in Lopar itself. These include numerous prehistoric archaeological sites, forts, burial mounds and artefacts, all of which bear witness to the continuous settlement of the area.
There are several explanations of the origin of the name Lopar. While some believe that its name originates from the Latin word Eporium, meaning protrusion, others believe the name originates from the name of the Greek island of Paros, which was famous in ancient times for its marble. Since this precious stone has been excavated on the Goli otok island and near Lopar for a long time, it is assumed that the settlement closest to the quarry was named Neos Paros (New Paros), Neoparo or Epario, which later evolved to Lopar. Other authors believe that the name is of Slavic origin – lopar is also the name for a trowel or platter and the area reminds us of the shape of these tools.
Lopar is the birthplace of St. Marinus - a stonecutter and founder of the Republic of San Marino. In his honour, a tourist village, autocamp and the Cultural and Artistic Association of Lopar bear the name “San Marino” today, as well as a monument dedicated to St. Marinus that is located in the centre of town. According to a folktale, Marinus was born in Lopar more than 17 centuries ago. After he learned the craft of stonecutting, he sailed to find better fortune across the Adriatic Sea. He docked at the shore of the Apennine Peninsula, near todays city of Rimini. Very soon he became appreciated in the Christian community, but was prosecuted due to his Christian sermons, while fleeing he found refuge at Mount Titan. Very soon the other refugees followed his path, attracted by the safety of Mount Titan and by the fame of the holiness of the eremite Marinus. He was surrounded by numerous believers who then created a small community and the “heart” of their Christian religion was a little church they built there. Those were the beginnings of the Republic of San Marino - the oldest republic in Europe. After his death, Marinus was buried in the chapel personally built by him and his community. Later he was declared saint and patron of San Marino. St. Marinus day is celebrated on 3 September, and it is also the state holiday in San Marino. People of Lopar celebrate him by staging his life and his leaving his birthplace every year during the manifestation “Loparska noć (Lopar Night) - return to roots”.