National park Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest among the eight national parks in Croatia (294.82 km2 in area). It was founded in 1949 and it is the oldest national park in the country. In 1979 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register. The national park is a phenomenon of karst hydrography. The lakes are famous for travertine waterfalls and a continuous biodynamic process of travertine creation under specific ecological conditions. Travertine is a porous limestone rock formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate in the water which can create barriers, thresholds and other forms in karst rivers and streams. The ongoing process of travertine creation is especially noticeable in the waterfalls. While the visitors enjoy the walk through the national park, continuous travertine growth creates magnificent waterfalls. Over time the water changes its course, thus leaving some barriers dry, but enticing the growth of travertine elsewhere. The described phenomenon provides a sense that the Plitvice Lakes never stay the same.
The wider area of the national park is a rich forest and meadow habitat with diverse and numerous species of plants and animals. The forest community is mostly comprised of beech and fir. The most distinguished beech and fir forest is called Čorkova uvala and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful forests in the world. 1,267 plant species have been listed so far, 75 of them being endemic, and 55 being different species of orchids. The rich fauna includes 321 species of butterflies, 161 species of birds and 21 species of bats, which were discovered in previous research of the park area.
Among large predators, the most attractive resident of the park forest is the brown bear (Ursus arctos).
One of the first researchers of this natural phenomenon, academician Ivo Pevalek, said the following in 1937: “There are waters, lakes, waterfalls and forests in other places, but there are only one Plitvice Lakes in the world. You have to see them! ”
Various activities in the park include: walking, hiking, riding an electric train and boat, taking photos, cycling , skiing, rowing.
Foto: Lucija i Rade Jug