Thursday 21 Sep 2017

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MLJET NATIONAL PARK.

For most people, Mljet is an island lost in the open sea, and the island is indeed hard to reach. But do not let this landscape - mentioned in the stories about Odyssey and St. Paul, as well as Benedictine monks and the Mediterranean Seal - remain a secret for you.


THE PARK.

Mljet is an elongated island, with an average width of 3 km, 37 km long. It is an Island of great diversity and contrast, and "Mljet" National Park covers his north-western part with an area of 5.375 ha of protected land and surrounding sea. This area was proclaimed as national park 11 November 1960 and represents the first institutionalized attempt to protect an original ecosystem in the Adriatic.
Mljet National Park has been proclaimed as an area of special interest for the following reasons:
    1. Its unique panoramic landscape of well intended coastline, cliffs, reefs and numerous islands, as well as the rich topography of the nearby hills, which rise steeply above the sea and hide numerous ancient stone villages. Mljet's outer coastline is exposed to the south sea and is therefore steep and full of "garmas" collapsed caves. The inner coastline faces the mainland and is exposed to the "bura", a strong northeasterly wind, but is less elevated with easier access.
    2. The salt lakes are a unique geological and oceanographic phenomenon of worldwide importance. They originated approximately 10,000 years ago and, until the Christian era, they were freshwater lakes. Some endemic Dalmatian plants can only be found on the rocky coast of the island. A beautiful endemic plant, named Dubrovačka Zečina is the best representative of them all.
    3. The Mediterranean karst landscape hides two natural specialties. The first are typical karst underground habitats: half-caves, caves and pits. The other specialty is Mljet's "blatine", which are rare occurrences of brackish lakes, which vanish from time to time. There is life in the lakes, but we know very little about it today apart from the fact that people have caught eels and marsh birds in them for centuries.
    4. Beautiful, rich forests once covered large areas of the Mediterranean Coast, but they are rarely preserved today as beautifully as they are on Mljet. The woods on Mljet gently descend all the way to thesurface of the lakes, thus creating animage of unspoiled nature.
    5. The little isle of St. Mary in the Great lake, with an ancient Benedictine monastery and a church dating from 12th century. The small island is the symbol of the entire island, because of its exceptional aesthetic image and strong cultural and spiritual dimension.
    6. Polače site, a cultural and historic complex consisting of the remains of a Roman Palace with fortifications and ancient Christian basilica nesting in a sheltered bay.
    7. An exceptional cultural and historical heritage dating back to the eras of the Illirian tribes, the Roman Empire and the Republic of Dubrovnik. Today, Mljet island is characterized by stable human settlement living in complete harmony with nature.


    The world-renowned Lakes of Mljet consist of the Great Lake, covering an area of 145 ha, with a maximum depth of 46 m. The Small Lake has an area of 24 ha and a maximum depth of 29 m. The natural secrets of both lakes have attracted many scientists over the years, as well as other nature lovers from a wide range of professions and personal interests.


    FLORA.

    The rich vegetation of the island, especially in the area of the national Park, explains why Mljet is also known as the Green Island. Today, there are five types of forest on Mljet, including the remains of a Mediterranean primeval forest, although the original Holm Oak forest is only found in fragments. The best preserved of these are in the area of the Great Valley. It has been replaced with dense maquis, karst and spacious forests of fast-growing Alpine pines which tend to dominate the vegetation. Besides the forests, there are other areas of biological interest: sand dunes on the coast, high, steep coastal cliffs, as well as cliffs further inland, and, finally, the vegetation on the reefs.

    FAUNA.

    Mljet's fauna is particularly friendly because there are no poisonous snakes (e.g. horned viper) thanks to the introduction of the Indian Mongoose, which wiped them out. Five species of snakes and six species of lizards have been registered on the island to date. Mljet's largest daylight bird predator, the Snake eagle, feeds on snakes and lizards. There are also many song-birds, as well as several species of birds in the forest that do not normally live on the Adriatic islands. The Grey Dormouse can also be found, although its survival is threatened by the Mediterranean Rat. The few cultivated fields are governed by the wild boar, another recent inhabitant of the island. The seas off Mljet are renowned as an oceanologically active area, and were once a favourite abode of the Mediterranean Seal. The National Park Management hopes to re-establish the kind of protected conditions that will enable this seal to return.

The big and small lake on Mljet

monastery of Mjet

pomena-Mljet

Mljet

monastery of Mljet

vieuw over Mljet

monastery on Mljet

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