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- May 21, 2021
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The most indented group of island in the Mediterranean, one of the cleanest seas in this area, the impressive forms of relief in the karst terrene, the highest travertine barrier in Europe…all this in Croatia.
The Pantan swamp not far from the town of Trogir, is only what remains of the onetime swamp, which covered a much greater area, but over the centuries its area has been reduced because of the filling up with earth and the process of urbanization. However, the Pantan swamp is valuable today as a typical example of a swamp on the eastern coast of the Adriatic, where fresh-water and sea mix, which produces specific biocenoses.
There is a very important fish hatchery in the brakish water of the Pantan lagoon and the whole swamp is the resting place for different kinds of swamp birds on their long journey as they migrate. Autumn is the best period for watching the greatest number of bird species.
The botanical garden in the elementary school “Ostrog” in Ka1tel Luk1i dates from 1976 when the school building was built. It covers an area of 4 hectares and it was created thanks to the care and enthusiasm of teachers and pupils.
At the beginning there were no great ambitions in creating the garden, but as time went by it reached an enormous quality and value with a large number of autochthonous and exotic species some of which, in this very garden, were successfully cultivated for the first time on the Croatian Adriatic.
The old olive tree in Ka1tel Stafilic; (town of Kastela) is a protected nature sight. It has a very attractive habitus and is estimated to be 1,500 years old. Most probably it originates from south Italy or Greece, because it belongs to a sort which doesn’t exist in these areas which makes it a specific curiosity.
The source and upper course of the Jadro River have been protected since 1984 as a special ichthyological reserve. Thus, the endemic subspieces soft-mouthed trout (Salmothymus obtusirostris salonitana) developed in the Jadro River. It is found only in this area and therefore is of great value, rare and potentially endangered.
The swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) along the Jadro River in Solin is a very rare example of this species in Croatia. The tree is estimated to be 90 years old and its height is 25 meters. This species isn’t autochthonous and its natural range are swamp habitats along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. We cannot say for sure who planted the tree in Solin.
The Marjan peninsula in Split is both the city’s symbol and an inseparable part of its history. Split citizens are emotionally tied to Marjan, therefore it was and still is an inspiration to many artists from Split. We may well say that it stands as a myth in the city’s collective consciousness. The forest park Marjan today covers a greater part of the area with Allepo pines (Pinus halepensis), part of a meadow and arable areas, the sea-shore and Sustjepan park. Marjan is also the best known site for outings and during the summertime its beaches are full of swimmers.
On its northern side, in the Bene Cove, there are catering and recreation facilities and the dense forest reaches almost to the very sea. Since Marjan is closed to traffic it is a real paradise for walks in nature. From its top there is a magnificent view of Split and its surroundings.
There are also many cultural monuments on Marjan- churches, remains of Illyrian hill-forts and dwellings of hermits.
Vranjaca Cave near the village of Kotlenica in the hinterland of Split, was discovered in 1903. It is probably the most beautiful cave in Central Dalmatia, characteristic for the Dalmatian karst region, which was formed in mineral limestone. It consists of two main halls and a corridor which connects them. The cave is rich in shapes typical for caves and is very impressive. Its length is about 300 and depth about 65 meters. Because of its attractive interior and surroundings, as well as the proximity of road and parking place, the cave is easily accessible and attractive for excursionists. Since 1929 there has been electricity in the cave, and there is a hiking trail about 300 meters long.
The canyon of the Cetina River stretches from the mouth near the town of Omia and 10 kilometers upstream. The canyon is one of the most remarkable geomorphological phenomena which was formed by the Cetina as a typical karst river. In its lower course the Cetina River has deeply cut into the limestone base between Mosor and Dinara above Omia, forming a canyon up to 300 meters deep. The river is surrounded by luxuriant greenery with several small but beautiful islets. At places the river flows fast, and sporadically it is completely calm, and as such is a perfect place to relax the body and soul.
Proloako Blato is a vast swampy region of the Imotski field, which is part of the year under water, and only one small part is flooded during the whole year (Prololac Lake). Being the habitat of swamp birds as the resting place on their long journey as they migrate it has a great ecological value.
In the period of high waters, when the whole Blato (Swamp) is flooded, only an islet called Manastir (Monastery) remains. It’s called like that because the Franciscans built a monastery on it in 1453. According to legend, the friars, in fear of frequent Turkish attacks, used to fill up chasms through which the water drained away, so in that way they could keep the water during the whole year and protect the monastery on the islet.
Biokovo is one of the largest and most impressive mountains in Dalmatia. It rises almost vertically from the very coast. Biokovo is the habitat of many rare endemic plants, but we can also find forests of the Dalmatian black pine. The great wealth of Biokovo’s plant life can be seen in the Kotiaina botanical garden on the mountain slopes. It is also the habitat of numerous very rare birds of prey, like the golden eagle and other extraordinary animal species.
Biokovo’s unique beauty are its geomorphological phenomena such as caves and funnel-shaped holes in the limestone formation.
The pubescent oak (Quercus pubescens) in Donja Brela is thought to be more than 300 years old, and by its large size and well developed habitus it dominates the landscape. Oaks of this size are very rare, especially along the Croatian coast.
Mount Vidova gora on the island of Brac is the highest peak of the island and all the Adriatic islands. It is covered by Dalmatian black pine (Pinus nigra). Mount Vidova gora has preserved its autochthonous appearance and untouched nature, and around it the local inhabitants still engage in cattle-breeding in an old-fashioned way. That contributes to nature preservation and gives a special charm to the idyllic atmosphere of this timeless oasis of peace and bird’s song. From the top of Mount Vidova gora there is a magnificent view of the well-known tourist resort of Bol and its famous beach Zlatni rat.
Zlatni rat, situated in Bol, a town on the island of Brac, is a unique geomorphological phenomenon. This cape was formed from pebbles brought by torrents from Mount Vidova gora which is the highest peak of the Adriatic islands. The cape is elongated and extends into the sea for about 400 meters whereas its tip changes shape constantly depending on the sea currents. The general impression is rounded off by little beaches and pine woods surrounding it.
The black pine (Pinus nigra), on the roof of St. Peter’s Church in Nereliace on the island of Brac is an outstanding natural phenomenon, thought to be about 100 years old. The trunk has grown between the stone slabs on the roof of the church so under these unfavorable conditions it has remained stunted and small, and as such indeed presents a natural bonsai.
Pakleni otoci are a small but beautiful green archipelago scattered in the blue sea near the town of Hvar. On the largest island there is a tourist marine, a beautiful sandy beach and catering facilities. The greatest part of the islands still consist of the vast and untouched nature and therefore this archipelago presents an unforgettable experience for every boater.
In the courtyard of the Franciscan monastery in Hvar there is a cypress (Cypressus sempervirens) about 500 years old, which is a great age for this kind of tree. The cross section of its branches is elliptic. To prevent them from breaking because of their weight the Franciscans have propped up the lower branches. Because of its old age and specific appearance this tree is a rare and unusual example of its kind.
The island of Scedro is situated south of the larger island of Hvar. Its beauty lies in its indented coast and vegetation consisting of typical Mediterranean communities of woods and macchia. There are several old houses on the island as well as archaeological sites both on the island and nearby underwater area
Brusnik is a small pelagic island, about 13 miles from Komila, a town on the island of Vis. Brusnik is a volcanic island which is rare in Dalmatia, since both the land and islands are almost exclusively of limestone structure. There is a beautiful and unique pebble beach with dark shingles. Many of these shingles are incredibly big, which speaks of the enormous force of wind and sea which roll them. Those shingles just like the entire island are a unique geological phenomenon and are strictly protected.
In the past, Brusnik played an important part in the life of Komila’s fishermen, who used to fish around the island and found shelter there. From those times there are still remains of small pools for keeping the caught spiny lobsters alive.
Today Brusnik is the habitat of sea birds, rabbits and a special endemic subspecies of lizards, which exist only on this island.
Modra Spilja (Blue Cave) is located on the island of Bisevo, not far far from Komiza (town on the island of Vis). This cave is geomorphologically interesting and presents a typical karst form. A special attraction and unique experience are the specific light effects created by the refraction of sunlight. Today it is a tourist attraction.
The island of Jabuka (Apple) is just like Brusnik of volcanic structure, with an interesting conical shape. It lies far into the open sea of the Adriatic and because of its shape and steep coast it is inaccessible and navigation is very difficult. Although it’s very small, it’s rich in endemic animals and plants, and open sea birds.
Medvidina apilja on the island of Biaevo, not far from Komila, is very interesting geomorphologically. Its entrance on the sea surface is relatively large-sized but these dimensions gradually decrease towards its interior. At its end, the cave is very narrow and low, and its complete length of 160 meters ends with a little beach. Besides its attractiveness this cave was significant as the ideal breeding ground of one of the most endangered mammals in the world – the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), a very rare species of seal. Today the Mediterranean monk seal has practically disappeared from the Adriatic and can be rarely seen, but we should hope that very soon the beach at the end of the cave will once again be the cradle of little seals.
The archipelago of Palagrula is the most distant group of Croatian islands, and the little islet of Galijula from that group marks the southernmost point of Croatian territory. Palagrula differs from any other island by its large range of natural characteristics. It is characterized by an extremely dry climate with a very small amount of precipitation. A specific type of vegetation has developed because of such climate and great influence of sea and salt. Besides endemic plants, there are also different endemic animals. To make up for the lack of precipitation all these animals and plants abundantly use the moisture produced by dew which is greatly present on Palagrula, as well as some other specific adaptations. Thus, the endemic plant- wood spurge (Euphorbia dendroides) has a completely opposite life cycle from most other plants. Whereas most plants throw away their leaves in autumn and spend the winter still, this wood spurge remains without leaves and stays still in the summertime, in the period of the greatest drought. At the beginning of autumn it starts leafing, and the cycle ends at the beginning of summer, having used the rain from winter.
The island of Svetac (Sveti Andrija – St. Andrew) about 14 nautical miles from Komila, a town on the island of Vis, is one of the Adriatic islands which was once inhabited but not any more. The sea around Svetac abounds with fish, and on the sheer cliffs of the northwest part there are colonies of some rare bird species. On one of the island’s peaks there are Byzantine remains and some prehistoric remains, which proves that Svetac was inhabited even a thousand years ago.nds at the beginning of summer, having used the rain from winter.
Stiniva Cove on the southern side of the island of Vis is both attractive and very unusual. From the sea side you can arrive through a relatively narrow entrance and then the cove widens, finally ending with a lovely beach. There is no road leading to the cove, so it has preserved its natural beauty.
The cave on the island of Ravnik near Vis is a very interesting geomorphological phenomenon, which the coast of Vis and surrounding islands abound in. In that sense particularly interesting are abrasion caves on the southern exposures, conditioned by a limestone structure and waves. By its dimensions and two entrances the cave on Ravnik is a fine example of such type of cave, so it is very attractive both in aesthetic and scientific terms. During World War II small war ships found shelter there.
The Punta rata beach at Brela was awarded the European Blue Flag, an environmental award given to communities for their efforts in keeping their beaches clean and managing them with consideration for the local environment.