Mljet (Croatia)

Mljet

Mljet is the most southerly and easterly of the larger Adriatic islands of the Dalmatia region of Croatia. The National Park includes the western part of the island, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Soline Bay and a sea belt 500 m wide from the most prominent cape of Mljet covering an area of 54 km2.

Mljet is also well known for it’s two salted lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero that are located at the north end of the island.

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Mljet is the first larger island one come upon while sailing the Croatian Adriatic from the direction from south to north. It is Croatia’s greenest island with its Mediterranean vegetation, clear and clean sea, gentle sandy shoreline and a wealth of underwater sea life.

The island is conisdered to be one of the most beautiful of the Croatian islands too.
Untouched nature, the island’s mysticism, olive groves, vineyards and rich forests are ideal places to research the rich flora and fauna, and to peacefully enjoy the pristine beauty of the natural surroundings.

Mljet is well known for its white and red wine, olives and goat’s cheese. Mljet is indeed unspoilt island that is covered by a dense Mediterranean forest. The sea around the island is rich in fish and marine life.

Mljet National Park makes up most of the island, and there are several villages and a Benedictine monastery on the island of sv. Marija [St. Mary] . In Polače there are some of the best natural anchorages in the Adriatic.

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History

Mljet was discovered by ancient Greco-Roman geographers, who wrote the first records and descriptions. The island was first described by Scylax of Caryanda in the 6th century BC; others prefer the text, Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax.  In both texts, it is named Melite and supported by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Mljet is mentioned around 950 by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos in his Of Ruling an Empire as one of the islands held by the Narentines.

The island was often a controversy of ownership between them and Zachlumia until the stronger unifications of the Serbian realm in the 12th century.
Ancient Greeks called the island “Melita” or “honey” which over the centuries evolved to become the Slavic name, Mljet.

The Benedictines from Pulsano in Apulia became the feudal lords of the island in 1151, having come from Monte Gargano in Italy. They came ashore in the Sutmiholjska cove and in 1187–1198 the Serbian Prince Desa of the House of Vojislavljević built and donated to them the Church and Monastery of Saint Mary on the islet in the Big Lake (Veliko Jezero) towards the north-west end of the island. Pope Innocent III issued a document consecrating the church in 1198.

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In the 16th century, the monastery was the center of the Mljet Congregation (Congregatio Melitensis or Melitana), gathering all the monasteries of Benedictine monks in the area of the Republic of Ragusa. The first president of the Congregation was Mavro Vetranović, the abbot of the Mljet monastery and the famous poet.
Another great poet was abbot there—Ignjat Đurđević in the 18th century. As time went by, the Benedictine monastery on Mljet lost its importance, while the seat of the Mljet Congregation moved to Sveti Jakov near Ragusa.

In 1809, during the rule of Napoleon, the Mljet monastery was disbanded. When Austria took over the island, it placed the forestry office in the building. Between the world wars, the building was owned by the Ragusa (Dubrovnik) Bishopric. In 1960 it became a hotel, and in 1998 it was returned to the bishopric.
The island has a long history of eco-damage. In order to ease their transport problems, the monks dug a channel to the south coast, from the lake Veliko Jezero, thus turning both fresh-water lakes into seawater-based ones.

The second incident involves mongooses. Small Asian mongooses were introduced onto the island in the early 20th century in order to reduce the venomous snake population (the island was apparently completely overrun).

Whilst the mongooses completed this task, they also disposed of pretty much all the birdlife of the island. To this day, the island is notably short of hedgerow birds such as sparrows. Mongooses are a hazard for domestic poultry, and are also known to cause damage in vineyards and orchards.

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Geography

Mljet lies south of the Pelješac peninsula, from which it is divided by the Mljet Channel. Its length is 37 kilometres (23 mi); its average breadth 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi). It has an area of 98.01 kilometers square(37.84 square miles).

It is of volcanic origin, with numerous chasms and gorges, of which the longest, the Babino Polje, connects the north and south of the island.
Port Polače, the principal harbour in the north, is a port of call for tourist ferries. Mljet contains one hotel—The Odisej (from the Greek Odysseus) in the north-west corner of the island.
The northwestern part of the island includes an inland sea as well as a small island within it. It has been a national park since November 12, 1960. Over 84% of the island of 98.01 square kilometres (37.84 sq mi) is forest.

The island’s geological structure consists of limestone and dolomite forming ridges, crests and slopes. A few depressions on the island of Mljet are below sea level and are known as blatine (“mud-lakes”) or slatine (“salt-lakes”). During the rain seasons all blatine are filled with water and turn to brackish during dry seasons.

The climate is Mediterranean; an average air temperature in January is 9 °C (48 °F) and in July about 24 °C (75 °F). Precipitation (mostly falling between October and April) averages between 35 and 45 inches annually, with the hills receiving the highest amounts.

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Transportation

The island of Mljet has no airport. Dubrovnik Airport on the mainland provides the main international connection for the island. Mljet has ferry lines with Pelješac peninsula and Dubrovnik.

Transportation to the island is provided by Jadrolinija ferry service. Sobra, the main port on the island, is connected to Dubrovnik-Gruž and Ston via a car ferry. There are two type of ferries available: a car ferry and a faster catamaran ferry (2.5 hours and 90 minutes to Dubrovnik, respectively).

The two-lane paved road runs throughout the island. Scheduled buses on Mljet travel just once or twice a day.

6- lonely boat in the bay on Mljet. Croatia.jpg

Caves

Odysseus cave

On the south part of the island you can find Odysseus cave which is an geomorphology phenomena. It is a karst hole which looks like a pit. It is connected with open sea by small and low tunnel, through which it is possible to pass just during nice weather.

Along the coast you can find couple of little boats, which are in propriety of local people from Babino Polje, and Babino Polje is the biggest village on the island.

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Fauna

Rich and the interesting fauna of the island has not been fully explored yet.

From the reptiles there are a road lizard (Lacerta viridis), Sharp-lizard (Lacerta oxycephala)…  Snakes are quite rare (there are no poisonous) after they brought the mongoose  1909th year. After an initial rapid increase, mongoose populations came to a certain balance with the environment.

From the mammals there are: mouse (Apodemus mystacinus), hedgehog (Erinaceus europeus), more species of bats (Chiroptera). Fallow deer (Dama dama) was entered on the island after the Second World War, and more recently wild boar (Sus scrofa).

Bird world is rich and the diverse especially in the migrating season. In pine woods and the surrounding macchia live thrushes (Turdidae), tit (Paridae) etc.

The sea around the island is characterized by well preserved wildlife, distinctive from southern Adriatic.

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ACTIVITIES

Walking & Hiking

This pass is dedicated to all mountain loversespecially the mountain youth who recognizes the value of staying in the countryside.

Mljet hiking trail (MPO) is 43 kilometers long and can last for 3-4 days (23 hours).
The entire route is marked ,hiking signs and seals are fitted to the control points.
We suggest you to take and have the ink pad for marks.

Cycling –

From the macadam field trials ideal for mountain bikes to the asphalted roads for family sightseeing, cycling on Mljet offers huge variety of ideal trails for everyone’s taste.

Kayak/canoe –

Paddling and biking mixed with untouched nature round the lakes and bike adventure all over the Island will make your holiday unforgettable.
Unique combination of natural bays, sandy beaches, crystal clear sea and blue caves, lot of sun, pleasant atmosphere and local food is a holiday  is to recommend.

Diving –

Mljet is rich in underwater life that can be seen in the exceptional divesites, underwater caves and sunken walls. Many amphora showing that Mljet is situated on an important maritime route of ancient Greek galleys and sailing in the Adriatic. Crystal clear Sea further enhances the experience exciting day and night dives into the blue.

Speleology –

Mljet is an island that is full of caves and ground erosions from its location on the Mediterranian sea.
The most famous is the Odyssey’s Cave, to which you can enter from the sea by a small boat. There are also many other attractive and lovely caves such as Ostasevica and Morvica which are parts of the mountain in the center of the island.

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Accommodations

Island of Mljet, as most of other islands along Croatian coast, offers variety of accommodations in it’s villages and bays. Majority of Mljet accommodations can be summarized within privately owned rooms and apartments.

Renting rooms and apartments to tourists and travelers are very important source of additional income to people of Mljet. The only hotel on the island is Hotel Odisej, located in Pomena.

Population

According to the 2011 census, Mljet has population of 1,088. Croats make up an absolute majority with 97.93% of the population.

8-Aerial helicopter shoot of National park on island Mljet, Dubrovnik archipelago, Croatia. The oldest pine forest in Europe preserved.9- Long sand Turkovic bay, near by Saplunara, island Mljet, Croatia11- Colorful sunset on island Mljet,near Dubrovnik, Croatia.12- Beautiful adriatic island sand beach , Saplunara, Mljet Island, Croatia.

 

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