The name of Ražanac was first mentioned in year1332. in the list of goods of one nobleman from Zadar, Vučine Martinušića. But numerous objects from the Stone Age, big grave mound from early Bronze Age at the site called Šibenik, unsearched Liburnian graves northwest from Ražanac on site Gajetovica, witness the continuity of settlement since prehistoric times. The most important remains of Liburnian culture are preserved in Radovin and on Ljuba peninsula where you can still see artificially created forms of hill Venac. In that way the hill was converted into the natural fortress.
Although, significant remains from Roman ages still haven’t been documented, the discovery of early Christian double basilica in Podvršje testifies that the area between two fertile fields was the center of settlement during late antique period. It is assumed that somewhere in the near of basilica was an antique temple, from which some parts were taken and built into the walls of basilica. That important early Christian monument didn’t survive the attacks of barbarians. It was burned down and neglected, and the center of life was once again moved from gentle swale to Ljuba peninsula, strategic location which was easier to defend in those turbulent times.
During medieval times Kastrum Ljuba became important fortress within Zadar region. It was first used as a seat of Templars and after that as a seat of Hospitaller order. At the beginning of 15th century, after Dalmatia was occupied by Venetians, it became the property of a noble family Matafar from Zadar. In the 15th century Ražanac was a center of a Parish with the church of St.Andrija, Because of its dominate position over fertile valley and numerous flour mills it became the center of micro region to which all surrounding settlements gravitated to. In that time the village was by its most part in the possession of a noble family Carnarutis from Zadar.
On May 1st 1507, due to the danger of Turks, the representatives of noble families from Zadar whose properties were at the area of Ražanac, together with the inhabitants of Ražanac and surrounding villages, agreed on building a fortress. A fortress was built on a shallow peninsula by the sea called Pisak where people of Ražanac took shelter in the case of need. In year 1510 the fortress was finished, and it contained two smaller towers and one big tower connected with the stone wall by which the access to the peninsula was closed. Because of how it was made Ražanac was mapped on a famous Map of Northern Dalmatia and Lika, made by M. Pagano in the 1630s. In time, inhabitants moved from position by the church of St. Andrija to the position by the fortress, due to tendency to be as closer as they can to the shelter. That position is a position where Ražanac is still standing.
Fortresses of Ražanac served its people well in the defense from Turk attacks during War of Cyprus, when Posedarje, Vinjerac and Poličnik were conquered. During War of Candia in year 1645 when Halilbeg of Vrana didn’t have much success attacking the village. In year 1646 when he got help from Bosnian Pasha Ibrahim, supported by 20000 soldiers, he managed to conquer Ražanac which was burned down by the defenders. Still, the continuity of settlement wasn’t stopped by that. During all battles against Turks, Ražanac was used a shelter for refugees from occupied areas. That situation led to demographic changes and that was the reason why the number of inhabitants was constantly growing. As an only relevant fortress at the area from Novigrad Sea to Ljubač doors, Ražanac became gravity center of the whole area during those turbulent times.
In the middle of 19th century at the site of an old church, a new monumental Parish was built. The new church was built in Neoromanic style and it was dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary in 1856. In year 1880, Ražanac had 849 inhabitants, what made Ražanac the biggest village within Nin municipality. From 1945 till 1962 Ražanac was a municipal center. Village got the school in 1865, waterworks in 1913, electricity in 1960 and automatic telephone exchange in 1990. In year 1959 a plastic-processing factory was built.
Finally, during Homeland war in 1991/92 Ražanac became the center of defense organization, and a first shelter for all refugees from neighboring villages which were occupied and destroyed. Since 1993 Ražanac is an municipal center.
prof. Dr. Sc. Emil Hilje