There are two theories about the name Betina. The generally accepted theory is that the name Betina derived from the Celtic word "bet" which means - mouth and describes the shape of its natural harbour Betina (in the picture above), which, like the mouth, protects ships from gusts of wind. This name is symbolic also for the reason that Betina was historically called "the mouth of the Šibenik region," due to the fertile fields or "Poj" of Betina, primarily abundant in olive and fig trees, and vegetables that fed the entire region. According to another theory, the name Betina derives from an old Croatian word "Betina" meaning water underground. Water flowing underground in Betina is a common occurrence, and throughout history many wells were built that supplied the population with drinking water and water for irrigation of fields.


Murter is the largest and closest island of the Šibenik archipelago. It was inhabited by the ancient Illyrians (Liburni tribe) in the prehistoric era. Historical continuity continued during the reign of Rome, as evidenced by the remains of the Roman settlement Colentum between Betina and Murter, near the common cemetery, and the remains of the Villa rustica in Plitka Vala. Croatians settled on the island in significant numbers between the 8th and 9th century. In the area of Gradina near Colentum, old Croatian graves dating back to 9th century were found.

Betina was mentioned for the first time in written documents in 15th century.  In the 15th and 16th century it was inhabited by a larger number of residents from the area of Vrana, who fled here to salvage themselves from the Turkish raids. In 1678, Betina is populated with 52 families and 350 inhabitants. Betina reached the largest population growth in 1929 with 1780 inhabitants.

  • In 1514, a famous sculptor Ivan Hrelić began construction of the tower on the protruding part of the coastal zone of Betina, facing the mainland, which was used to defend against the Turkish raids. Church of St. Francis dates from the 15th century and it has been rebuilt several times throughout history.
  • In 1736, the famous Baroque architect Ivan Skoko built a chapel around the great altar, and a bell tower that dominates the area, giving it the final touch and beauty. Sense of aesthetics and landscaping of old people from Betina is most evident in the Mediterranean architecture of the old centre of Betina. From the top of Cape Artić where the church of St. Frane stands, radiates a net of old stone streets with picturesque arches and vaults. Some of the streets are still paved with stone pebbles, as was a customary way of street paving in Betina through 17th and 18th century. Due to the picturesque scenery and level of preservation of the old centre, the town is under the protection as a cultural monument.
  • 1790 is the year of building of the old dock or Stari Mul - dock for "vapori" or steam boats.
  • In 1842, the decision of the Vienna Panel for Science opened the first school in the Croatian and Italian in Betina. This is also the first school in the administration of the Municipality of Tisno in that period.
  • 1865 in Betina is influenced by the Croatian National Revival, officially opening one of the oldest rural reading rooms in Dalmatia called "folk reading room." Its founders were prominent people from Betina at that time: Šime Magazin, Joso Filipi, Ive Šandrić, Joso Bilić, Ante Bilić and Šime Bokan. In the late 19th century, cultural-artistic association "Zora" is established which deals with preserving and nurturing of Betina's national heritage, and it is the oldest association of its kind in the Šibenik-Knin county. In 1902, company Hrvatski Sokol was founded by Roko Filipi and Ive Šandrić. In 1930, the company was shut down.
  • In 1950, sailing club "Žal" was founded while in 1953, a water polo club "Brodograditelj".
  • Unlike other inhabitants of this region, people from Betina historically predominantly practiced crafts, shipbuilding and smithery. In the first half of the 18 century Betina Paško Filipi moved to Betina from Korčula and founded a family shipyard
  • 1740 was the year in which the gajeta of Betina was created – a sturdy farmers' ship with Latin sails that is in use even today. This period is considered the beginning of Betina's shipbuilding and a start of the great economic boom of Betina. It must be mentioned that at its best times Betina had as many as 27 shipyards and 5 smithy shops. Family Filipi from Betina greatly influenced the development of shipbuilding in the Šibenik and Zadar county. 1848 witnesses another opening of a large and at that time modern shipyard which operates even today, and is one of the major economic factors in Betina.




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