KORNATI NATIONAL PARK
The Kornat Islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Nowhere else in this large sea is such a great number of islands crammed in so little space. Because of ambiguous criteria of the definition of an island in general, there is no general agreement about their number. But we think that we shall not err much if we determine their number at 150. The area pf the sea in which they are located is about 320 square kilometres.
The largest island of the archipelago is Kornat. The inhabitants of the island of Murter, the most numerous of the owners, refer to it as Kurnat, to the archipelago as Kurnati, and to themselves as Kurnatari, other neighbours and the wider public refer to them as Kornat and Kornatari respectively. The island has an area of 32 525 315 square metres; it’s shoreline is 66,1 km long, and it is 235 m high – the peak Metlina. The island is 25,2 km or 13,6 nautical miles long. But the special feature and identifiability of the Kornat Islands are the islets.
Like many other shepherds and farm labourers, people working in the Kornat Islands obtained pastures and later cultivable land by burning. The process was repeated after several years , in a specific order and at a specified time. Although it is known that events sometimes went out of control, on the whole the pasture was burnt in an organized way. The consequence of burning pastures is the almost lunar landscape of the island of Kornat and some of the larger islands, e.g. Kurba, Škuj, Lunga.
Of all the artefacts that the Kornat hand had created the most important and most impressive is certainly the wall or, more precisely, the dry wall. One of the basic features of the dry walls is their orientation. Since all large islands are elongated, all the walls are built from sea to sea, i.e. from one side of the island to the other. The wall is exactly as high as it is necessary to prevent sheep jumping over it and crossing to someone’s else’s pasture. It is exactly as wide as it is necessary to prevent the force of the wind to break it.
Another artefact in the Kornat karst attracts equal attention as the dry walls: isolated enclousers – olive groves surrounded with the dry walls. We find them in more than a hundred places in the archipelago, at “most unexpected” locations at that. On the steep sides of Škuj and Smokica, on the saddles of Smokvena and Gustac, on the gentle slopes of Njivica, Piškera, Žakan, Lavsa, Suha Punta, Statival, Pinezel, and Grba, on the level plateaus from Knježak to Šipnate.
KRKA NATIONAL PARK
Krka National Park lies within Šibenik-Knin County, and covers a total area of 109 km² of the loveliest sections of the Krka River, and the lower course of the Čikola River.
The national park is a vast and primarily unaltered area of exceptional natural value, including one or more preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems. The purpose of the park is primarily to serve science, culture, education and recreation, while tourism activities have also been introduced for its visitors.
Including the submerged part of the river at the mouth, the Krka River is 72.5 km long, making it the 22nd longest river in Croatia. It springs in the foothills of the Dinara mountain range, 2.5 km northeast of Knin. With its seven waterfalls and a total drop in altitude of 242 m, the Krka is a natural and karst phenomenon. The travertine waterfalls of the Krka River are the fundamental phenomenon of this river.
The need to legally protect the Krka River and its exceptional natural values was already recognized in the mid 20th century. The initiative to proclaim the Krka River a national park was again launched in 1971, with the drafting of a physical plan entitled Krka National Park: physical development plan. On 24 January 1985, the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia proclaimed the area covering 142 km² from the Early Croatian fortresses of Trošenj and Nečven to the Šibenik Bridge, including 3.5 km of the course of the Čikola River, a national park. Due to four urban centres (Skradin, Bilice, Raslina and Zaton), the construction of the Zagreb–Split motorway and the development of tourism and other economic activities in the area, in 1997 the Croatian Parliament revised the park boundaries by passing the Act on Amendments to the Act on the Proclamation of Krka National Park. The southern border of the park was shifted to upstream from the Skradin Bridge, and the northern part virtually all the way to Knin. The park boundaries stretch for 50 km along the upper and middle course of the Krka River (two kilometres downstream from Knin all the way to Skradin), and the lower course of the Čikola River (including the confluence and 3.5 km of the river canyon), in the territory of the towns of Knin, Drniš and Skradin, the City of Šibenik, and the municipalities of Ervenik, Kistanje and Promina.
The seat of the Public Institution of Krka National Park is in Šibenik, at Trg Ivana Pavla II 5, with branch offices in Skradin, Drniš and Knin.
Krka National Park is managed by the Public Institute, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection of the Republic of Croatia. The activities of the Institute include protection, preservation and promotion of the national park, for the purpose of protecting and conserving the natural resources, and supervising the implementation of environmental protection measures within the protected area.
The bodies of the Public Institute are the Management Council and Director. The Management Council governs the Institute, while its operations are organised and managed by the Director, who is appointed by the Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection. The Public Institute of Krka National Park is divided into six services and 15 departments that are overseen by the Office of the Director.
Park can be visited by water, surrounding roads and on foot. By water you can visit and see Skradinski buk and the island of Visovac and Roski. Motor vehicles can visit the park by all public roads marked on the map, except for exclusively pedestrian zone of Skradinski buk, Visovac and monastery, where a visit is possible only if organized by Krka, boat or bus.
Sightseeing Skradinski buk is circular. You will enjoy walking bridges are following the waterfalls, rich flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy the outdoor presentation facilities: ethno collection, mills, wicker clothes basket, columns, loom, souvenir shop.
The town of Šibenik is cultural, educational, administrative and economic center of the region. It was first mentioned in 1066 (the grant of King Petar Kresimir IV.). After Croatian rulers (and Croatian-Hungarian) and occasional rule of Venice in the 15th century came under the almost 400-year Venetian rule, from this period comes the most significant cultural and historical monument of Šibenik – famous Cathedral of St. Jakova, built in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The town has numerous cultural institutions, among them being the County Museum, The City Library, Institute for protection of cultural and natural heritage – Section for conservation, Šibenik theater, gallery St. Grisogono, Department of National Park “Krka”.
The central church in Šibenik, the Cathedral of St. James, is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Several successive architects built it completely in stone between 1431 and 1536, both in Gothic and in Renaissance style. The interlocking stone slabs of the Cathedral’s roof were damaged when the city was shelled by Serbian forces in 1991. The damage has since been repaired.
The annual Šibenik International Children’s Festival (Međunarodni Dječji Festival) takes place every summer. Since 2011 the Terraneo festival is held in August on a yearly basis on a former military area in Šibenik.The composer Jakov Gotovac founded the city’s “Philharmonia Society” in 1922. The composer Franz von Suppé was part of the city’s cultural fabric, as he was a native of nearby Split.