North Velebit

The Northern Velebit National Park was designated on 9th June 1999, while the Public Institution was founded on 16th September 2001, according to the Parliament's firman. The area was designated a national park due to its richness of carst phenomena, outstanding biodiversity and exquisitly beautiful nature on a relatively small area.

The Park covers the surface of 109 sq km, and inside there is the Hajdučki & Rožanski Ledges Strict Reserve, famous for its geomorphological phenomena - the pits. Until now, there are more than 150 pits discovered, out of which the most famous is Luke's pit, discovered in 1992. It is forbidden to thread through the reserve (except passing the Premužić's trail), and only scientific researches and educational visits are allowed, according to the decission of the eligible ministry or some other institution in charge. As parts of the park, there are the Visibaba botanical reserve, with a rich founding of the endemic Croatian Sibirrhaea (Sibiraea altaiensis ssp. croatica), and the Zavižan-Balinovac-Velika kosa botanical reserve, famous for its outstanding collection of species of the mountain flora. Inside the reserve there is a widely known Velebit Botany Garden, founded by the pharmacology professor Fran Kušan in 1967.

The Park is criss-crossed with numerous mountaineering trails. The most famous and widely known is the Premužić's trail, named after its constructor, the BSc forestry Ante Premužić who built it in the late 1933. The path runs through the most beautiful and the most interesting parts of the park. From the numerous peaks in the surroundings you can have a magnificent view on the Adriatic Sea and its islands Pag, Rab, Goli, Prvić i Krk, and on the continental side as well. The Park's cultural value is present in a form of numerous ruins of the so-called "summer lodges", which witness of the ages passed and long forgotten, when Velebit was inhabited by the numerous population of shepherds and cattlers. On its coastal banks you can find many ruined houses, lodges and stonewalls which once marked the specific lifestyle of the local population who scattered all around the globe in the days to come, leaving nothing but traces of their presence on this remarquably beautiful and exquisit land.

Velebit - a lonesome, eternal mediator between the Mediterranean and the continental Croatian sides, withstanding eons of strong winds, rains, storms and blizzards, stands proudly for millions of years and tells the fascinating story of his genesis, his growth and his journey.

The witnesses of this story could be found in such multiplicity and in so many different forms, that we can wholeheartedly label this park as a natural geological museum. The most beautiful, most preserved and thickets "book" of sediment carbon rocks is deposited here.

Throughout eons, the sediment karst rocks tell the story of various depths of sea from which they originated, of periods of emerging from the sea and numerous animal and plant species which lived in the ages that passed beyond all knowledge, of the great cracks of the Earth's crust, climatological shiftings, mechanical and chemical influence of water.

The Velebit Mountain is rich with numerous plant species like no other mountain in Europe, and is one of the richest in the world concerning floral biodiversity - there are more than 2500 plant species on the very mountain, and more than 1500 on the Park's area. Due to its exceptional location as a frontier between the two huge vegetational regions, there are countless plant species which vary from sumbediterranean to alpine floral elements. The vegetation of northern Velebit is generally divided into forestal, grasslands and rock phytocenosis. Each of these groups is specific for its biological and morphological characteristics, which result in multiplicity, diversity and exceptional phytosphere beauty that shifts quickly on short distances.

There is a relatively small amount of data on the Park's fauna, especially for the ivertebrates.

There are four species of large carnivores living in the Park - brown bear (Ursus arctos), lynx (Lynx lynx), wolf (Canis lupus) and wild cat (Felis sylvestris).
One of the Park's endemic species is the Velebit lizard (Lacerta horvathi), a petrophile species whose habitat are stones, cliffs and various rocks. Its areal is quite small - it was only found in the East Alps and in the northern part of the Dinarid chain. It is an alpine species and appears in the areas which are identical to the upper edge of forestal vegetation - up to some 1600 meters of altitude.

Official Website of Northern-Velebit National Park

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