The Island of Iž is situated in northern Dalmatia, between Dugi otok and Ugljan. Island Iž has two tourist villages: Veli Iž and Mali Iž - beatiful little villages, surrounded by figtrees, olivegardens and vegetable plantations. Mali Iž consists of 5 dwelings, Porovac, Makovac, Muće and on the seaside Knez and Komoševa. It is well known for its long fishing tradition. Mali Iž offers private accommodation in apartments, rooms and pansions. Veli Iž is a small tourist village with a hotel, a marina, a few restaurants and caffe´s and 300 beds in private accommodation.
A special summer attraction is the Festival of Iž - "Iška Fešta", a manifestation of folklor where the ancient ceremony of village king choosing can be seen along with traditional costumes and crafts, sports andother events. Iž, an island of fisherman, seamen, potters olivegrowers is one of the most picturesque islands of the Zadar archipelago. It is covered with tipical mediterranean plants and cultivated with aproximately 70.000 olive trees.
A unique phenomena is the pottery of Veli Iž, which once supplied a large part of the Adriatic coast with clay pots for cooking and household use. About 70 families were specialised in this craft in the past. They could sell or exchange their pots only in the territory assigned to them by casting lots. The potters would throw the unsold pots into the sea before returning home, because it was a disgrace not to sell all the goods.
Mali Iž is situated in the southern part of the island and consists of several widely scattered villages: Porovac, Knež, Makovac, Komoševa and Muće. Knež and Komoševa are small ports, while other villages are situated at approximately 10 minutes walk from the sea. This village with less than 200 inhabitants, whose traditional occupations are fishing and agriculture, has been inhabited since ancient times. This is evident from the examples of old Croatian architectural heritage, still visible at every step. The island is also known for a special kind of painted handmade ceramics. Mali Iž is a recommended destination for those who want quiet holidays far away from the tourist hustle and bustle. It is surrounded by a dozen islets and reefs, so there are many explorable locations for sailors and scuba diving fans, while many tourists from Iž visit National Park Kornati as well.
The key cultural event of the summer on the island is the famous Iž Feast. The locals dress in traditional costumes, perform old dances and songs, and prepare homemade food for the numerous guests and visitors. The peak of the ceremony is choosing the King of Iž for a mandate of one year. This ancient custom is part of the tradition of the entire Zadar archipelago. The Feast marks the peak of the season. It is a traditional event lasting two days. Each year a new King of Iž is elected. He is a symbolic ruler without authority who presented the population of Iz back in ancient times. There are several contests between the northern and the southern part of Veli Iž taking place in a variety of disciplines, such as: water polo, potato bag racing, rope pulling and soccer. Pilchards are grilled and served for free. Every evening ends with an open-air party and a concert of renowned performers.
The ceramics earthenware made on Iž is part of tradition. Clay can be found on a certain locality near Mali Iž. After it has been modeled into various shapes, the clay is baked on open fire and dried. The result is a unique type of ceramics called “lopiži” in which olive oil is kept as well as other nutritious products. The same procedure is applied to baking lids (“peka”) which cover the food from the traditional grill and give the food that incredible Mediterranean flavor. They can be bought as souvenirs or used to grill fish and octopuses on fire.
The olive oil is produced by the local population from olive trees they cultivate all year long. In the centre of Veli Iž, next to the Church and the Cultural Centre, there is an olive factory which grinds olives. Every winter olives are brought to the factory in order to get high-quality olive oil. Many researches have shown the positive effect olive oil has on decreasing risks for cardiovascular diseases, which, alongside with a quiet unstressful life, it is the main reason of high life expectancy on Iž. Back in the old days, oil was the main and the most valuable trading mark.