Not far from Pula city — the touristic, economic and transport centre of Istria with many famous landmarks of Istria, one of which is the impressive ancient Roman amphitheatre — are the Brijuni isles, which can be reached by sailing across the Fazana channel.
Here, between Pula and Rovinj, on the area of only 7 sq.km. are 14 isles. Nature has created a real paradise here, which, at the turn of the 20th century, caught the attention of one of its owners Paul Kupelwieser.
In his being the director of an ironworks and a famous metallurgy specialist, Kupelwieser bought the Brijuni, he didn’t think that this acquisition would get his complete attention and change his life.
Planning to make here something like a family summer house, this 50-year-old son of the famous Viennese artist and lithographer Leopold Kupelwieser decided to quit the metallurgical trade and devote himself to the isles, which richly rewarded him for such a sacrifice.
The Brijuni became a fashionable European resort and the most popular place of rest for the European elite.
The Brijuni have a rich history. the most ancient settlement of the end of the stone period is located on the coast in Javoric bay. Under the Indo-European influence, fortified settlements appear. Only the second tier of walls and a necropolis located on the plateau between the second and the third tiers of walls remain now of the settlement of Gradine of the Bronze period, once surrounded by three tiers of walls.
When Romans came, a number of rustic villas was built on the isles, as well as industrial facilities for production of oil and wine. The complex of facilities of different purposes — temples, terraces, thermae, a reservoir for keeping fresh fish — were connected by a system of covered and open-air passes into one place, and the length of the place was one kilometre.
The most multi-layered, from the point of view of history, area is found on the western side of the island. The Goths, Francs and Croatians left traces of their being here. The most recent traces are those of Venetians. Here, there are the ruins of a fortress of the 1st-2nd century BC. 15th-16th century AD. Here as well is the church of St Mary of the 5th-6th century AD. Near the church there was a Benedictine monastery, which the monks abandoned after the first cases of plague on the island in 1312.
During the times of the Austro-Hungarian state, there were many civil and military facilities built on the island. The construction of a complex of hotels and medical centres by Paul Kupelweisser was the beginning of the period of active construction on the island. In 1902, reinforced concrete was first used on the island, and ten years later, a heated sea water swimming pool was built. Thanks to the labors of Paul Kupelweisser, the Brijuni marshes turned into an elite place of rest of the European and world elite. To combat malaria mosquitoes, the microbiologist Robert Koch was invited.
A luxurious resort, which comprised several hotels, many beaches, a magnificent park was built on the Brijuni. Later, a hippodrome, a golf court, tennis courts and many other places appeared.
There were regular sailing regattas organised. In 1918, after the First World War, the islands became part of Italy. The heir to Paul Kupelweisser, his son Karl Kupelweisser, tried to preserve the resort, but after the economic crisis following the events of the Black Friday, he went bankrupt and committed suicide. In 1930, the isles became state property of Italy.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by the state and political activity of Josip Broz Tito, who often lived in one of the three residence villas on the isle. Over 100 heads of state, and many artists and stars visited the Brijuni, for example Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor, Carlo Ponti, Sophie Lauren and others.
The numerous footprints of dinosaur feet are the island monument of geology and paleonthology.
In 1983, the Brijuni were pronounced a national park of Yugoslavia.
Here, on the Brijuni, you will find nice coolness in the shade of evergreen plants. Or, you will stand amazed near 100-year old olive plants. For they are worth it: for centuries, they stood against various troubles. And we are sure that here you will find your own oasis of sleep and peace which, as you thought, exists only in movies and lives of the owners of large bank accounts. You are mistaken: as soon as tomorrow, all of this can become your reality!
In the distant 1911, Paul Kupelweisser and Carl Hagenbeck, the owner of a zoo in Stellingen near Hamburg founded an amazingly beautiful and very well made zoo, whose primary function is to acclimatize animals from tropical regions, for their further moving to Europe.
Nowadays, the oak Brijuni forests and picturesque fields are freely roamed by herds of deer, mouflons, there spring squirrels and hares, numerous flocks of birds nestle in this hospitable area. On the fenced-off territory about 9 hectares in size, there live about 50 descendants of the animals presented by numerous foreign delegations to Josip Brozo Tito — Indian elephants, zebras, antelopes, llamas, camels, Somalian sheep, holy Indian cows.
A couple of elephants — Sonya and Lanka — were given to the Brijuni park by Indira Gandhi.
Video about Brijuni park
On this page used photos from site www.brijuni.hr