The town of Gospić is the economic, administrative, religious, and cultural center of the Lika-Senj County. It is situated on the western edge of one of the largest karst valleys in Croatia, the Lika Plateau, at the foot of the largest and most beautiful Croatian mountain, Velebit, at the crossroads of routes leading from the north to the south, and along the banks of three rivers, the Lika, the Novčica, and the Bogdanica.
One of the legends about how the name Gospić came to be is the tale of two princesses, one of whom, called Gospava, founded the town. Another legend claims that the town was named after the “hospitium”, an inn in Kaniža founded by Capuchin monks from Karlobag in 1721. Traveling chronicles also wrote of a church near the old tower, with a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, which is another possible source of the town’s name (one of the Croatian names for the Virgin Mary is “Gospa”).
The name Gospić first appears in historical records from 1604. At that time, this was a small settlement, mentioned in 1574 as the village of “Gospojina”. Gospić began to grow more significantly in the second half of the 18th century, when it was established as the military and administrative center of the Likaner Regiment; besides being a military center, Gospić was also endowed with economic significance, as a privileged center for craft and trade. In the 19th and 20th century, the town’s developmental process was often hindered as a result of global historical events, which slowed Gospić’s growth as a notable urban center. The town area has been settled since prehistoric times, since the Neolithic, and especially during the Iron Age and the period of the Iapydes. The first written mention of the town was in a document from 1263, as the Kasezi region near the Kaseg River (the current-day Novčica River). In the form of the village of “Gospojina”, Gospić was written about in 1574; in 1604, it was written about as a settlement in its current form. The basis of the current-day town are the two Ottoman towers and the old bridge, around which the town core developed in the period of the Croatian Military Frontier, as an administrative, military, and cultural center.
The old legend says that, long ago, two princesses were traveling through this area. One of them, Gospava, was seriously ill; however, having drunk the water from the nearby river, she was healed. Gospava named the river Lika. Here she built a tower, which was named Gospić after her. There is also a legend which claims that once upon a time there was a small church next to the tower, with a statue of the Virgin Mary (called “Gospa” in Croatian) holding the baby Jesus, and that Gospić was named after her.
Gospić, a town surrounded by abundant nature, is a tourist destination that offers the option of active rest, through team building programs in which you are an active participant. Thus, you can take part in abseiling, trekking, paintball, jeep safari, horseback riding, the village olympics, archery, carriage rides, hiking, adventurous trips on the mountain of Velebit, canoe safari, boat rides through the Lika River canyon and Lake Kruščica, and spelunking. Here, lovers of hunting, fishing, and mountaineering will surely find true pleasure in the preserved wealth of flora and fauna. There is many more that you can see and experience in this unique area of eternally preserved harmony between man and nature. In this primordial touch of nature, you will find strength and tranquility, self-realizations that have, perhaps, eluded you until now.