Una storia continua, concentrata sulle isole della nostra nascita. Questo è un resoconto della nostra eredità istriana, dove condividiamo una ricca cultura, storia, bellezze e geografia unica. Ē gradevole ricevere incoraggiamento e molte contribuzione dai Lussignani dispersi per tutto il mondo. Dedicato ai miei genitori Giovanni e Zita Majarich. Mario Majarich (veloselo@tpg.com.au)


Seebad Sansego

The island of Sansego (Susak) is 7 kilometers from the island of Lussino (Lošinj), 10 kilometers south of the island of Unie (Unije), and 120 kilometers east of Italy. The island is about 3 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide, and has an area of approximately 4 square kilometres. It’s highest point, Garba is 98 meters above sea level.

The name Sansego comes from the Greek word Sansegus meaning “oregano”, known to grow profusely throughout the island.

A brief chronological history:

Between 1948 and the early 1960s, the island’s population dramatically declined. As of 2001, Susak had only 188 residents with between 2,500 and 5,000 emigrants or descendants of emigrants living in United States. While the greatest concentration of emigrants and descendants currently live in the New York City metropolitan area (particularly in northern New Jersey), people from this tiny island can be found living throughout the United States. The village of Sansego (Susak) has two parts: Gornje Selo is the older part where the island's church is located; and Donje Selo is the lower part adjacent to the seashore and small harbor.

Costumes. Susak is perhaps best known for the ornate and elaborate costumes worn by younger women primarily for special occasions such as a wedding or feast day. The costume is made up of a short, brightly, almost neon, colored skirt with multiple ruffled petticoats underneath which gives the wearer the appearance that she is dressed in a ballet tutu. A similar-colored vest is generally worn over a long-sleeved, white chemise. The outfit is accentuated by pink or orange woolen stockings, leather shoes, and a headpiece which matches the colors of the skirt. When wearing this traditional outfit, women generally place one or both hands their hips to emphasize the dress’s uniqueness. Older and working women generally wear darker, longer skirts without ruffled petticoats. They wear white or dark, long-sleeved shirts, a short veil to cover their hair, and dark, woolen stockings. Male costumes from Susak are less ornate than their female counterparts. Men traditionally wear dark trousers and a dark vest over a long-sleeved, white, collared shirt. The outfit is completed by a soft, dark cap and may be accentuated with a colorful belt or ribbons on the vest. During a period of mourning – generally following the death of close family member such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or child – people from Susak wear all black for a period of time.

Cuisine. Sansego’s cuisine combines a unique blend of Italian, Croatian, Austrian, and Mediterranean cooking. Seafood - especially fish such as sardines, mackerel, and grouper – is popular fare due to its relative abundance. Lamb and pork cooked on an open fire are also popular but are generally reserved for special occasions. For dessert, the people of Susak enjoy Palacinke filled with jam or fruit, strudel (a throw-back from when the island was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), or losi, a fried pastry made with lemons and sprinkled with powered sugar.

Surnames. One thing that distinquishes many of the people from the islands of Quarnero are their surnames and Sansego is no exception. These are some of the names that are known to have emanated from this island and changed, depending on the state which held the island at the time (under the rule of Italy, Austria or Croatia). As a consequence, some names have up to six variants of spelling, which are listed in parentheses:

Medical attributes of the island

“At the beginning of the 20th an Austrian doctor Ernest Mayerhofer was searching the Adriatic. He was looking for an adequate place for thalassotherapy for children. In 1912 his search brought him to island of Susak, where he found just the place he was looking for: isolated small island with a balmy maritime climate where children, referred by their physicians could covalence in the company of their parents without the usual seaside distractions. The island proved to be very therapeutical for children’s asthma, allergic conditions of pharynx, chronic bronchitis and similar ailments. The location is also perfect for other pediatric indications, such as various respiratory diseases, skin rashes, chronic and torpid forms of rheumatism, hiperthrophia tonsillaris, and convalescence after various infectious diseases. Soon in the bay of Bok a number of small houses and a kitchen were constructed, based on the sketches of the Austrian architect Alfred Keller. Along came a small hotel as well as a number of tents and reed cabins for aerotheraphy. Susak became a famous Austro-Hungarian sea-spa for allergic children. All came to an end as the World War I broke out unexpectedly. Today all that remains are ruins just above the Bok Bay.

There are claims that the Bok Bay has therapeutic properties for healing fertility problems in women. The active substance is supposed to be contained in the sand. Even today one can see women lying around buried in it.”

Thalassotherapy (from the Greek word thalassa, meaning "sea") is the medical use of seawater. The properties of seawater are believed to have beneficial effects upon the pores of the skin.

This account below was written by Dr Ernest Bayerhofer, who was responsible for the development of paediatrics in Croatia :

“The Viennese Pirquet Clinic, in addition to its extensive pharmacological activities and drug related therapeutic measures, also engaged in studies of natural climatic therapies without use of any types of drugs. In the course of these attempts at applying natural medical therapies I searched for a spot on the Adriatic that would be adequate for thalassotherapy for children and was charged, by Pirquet himself, who was my clinical chief at that time, with the task of undertaking such balneological research. I had in mind a well isolated small island with a balmy maritime climate where children, referred by their physicians could covalence in the company of their parents without the usual seaside distractions. After a thorough search, particularly in the vicinity of the island Lošinj, I finally found the perfect place in 191213, on the island of Susak. “

Very therapeutical for children's asthma, allergic conditions of pharynx (Catarrhus aestions), chronic bronchitis and similar ailments, the island of Susak is medically, one could say, Adriatic Helgoland. The location is also perfect for other pediatric indications. I will mention only various respiratory diseases, skin rashes, chronic and torpid forms of rheumatism, hiperthrophia tonsillaris, convalescence after various infectious diseases, etc. On the basis of my research and medical experience I recommended the island of Susak as a children's sea spa to the Viennese pediatric clinic, to Pirquet himself and to dr. Mosetic, county superintendent of Losinj at the time. We already had quite a number of children in therapy in the 1913 /1914 seasons, so I proposed, as economically viable to dr. Mosetic to undertake further reconstruction works. Dr. Mosetic bought and ameliorated the area around the bay, constructed a number of small houses, a kitchen and a small hotel as well as a number of tents and reed cabins for aerotheraphy. In the midst of all these preparations, World War I broke out unexpectedly, I was mobilized and never again had the opportunity to see Susak or the project of my early medical days. Vice major! But I never forgot Susak and in the period from 1920 all the way up to 1952, I kept mentioning it in medical literature. As a pediatrician, I constantly advocated my view regarding the island's therapeutical climate. The best known sand beach on the island is Bouk Bay, once a famous Austro-Hungarian sea-spa for allergic children and now famous for its therapeutic healing of women with fertility problems. From the village to the beach takes only ten minutes of walk. In the village itself, there are two beaches: one in the small bay of Dragoca right by the village, and the other one near the port. Right behind the Fisherman's House there is a string of small coves for those who prefer a private beach.”


A very extensive web site covering many asects of the island is: http://www.otok-susak.org// But make sure you look at subsidiary pages such as the story of Susak, the photo gallery, the beaches and the multi media page within this web site. Other sites: ishttp://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/susak.html http://www.find-croatia.com/kvarner/susak.html http://www.istrianet.org/istria/towns/susak_island https://amazines.com/Susak_related.html http://pljusak.com/susak/wx.htm http://www.susakklapa.com/index.html http://www.istrianet.org/istria/customs/costumes/04narodne.htm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ZZGa_LrOI http://www.sansego.net/ http://www.photocroatia.com/GALLERY/list.php?exhibition=55&pass=public&lang=eng http://www.losinj-croatia.com/islands/susaksusaksusaksusak


Especially to Franko Neretich for sending most of the illustrations within this Bollettino. We thank Frank for his passionate curation of our history and heritage and very much appreciate his sharing these priceless pictures and postcards of a time which lives on in the memory of many of our passionate circle of friends and relatives, all admirers of the islands of the Quarnero.

Otherwise thanks to all for your contributions..........Grazie per tutte le contribuzione Mario Majarich 2009