Kornati national park is located on 140 islands, the larger part of the archipelago, of the total area of 70 sq. km. and the shore line is over 238 km.
The total area of the park together with the sea area is 22 sq. km.
Kornati national park is unique for how close to each other the islands are. From the neighbouring isles of Pasman and Dugi Otok, the archipelago is separated by straits, from the isle of Murter by a bay, which is sometimes called the Murter sea.
Two-thirds of the territory of the national park are taken up by the isle of Kornat — the largest isle of the archipelago with the area over 32 sq.km. The length of the island is 25 km, the width is about 2.5 km. The islands of the archipelago have no permanent residents.
The land part of the park is completely private property, so when you visit the park, behave as a careful and considerate guest. The considerable distance from the coast, the biological richness of the sea area, the good pastures for breeding cattle, a good place for cover during bad weather — all of these are the reasons why Kornati, throughout its history, has been both a hospitable and inhospitable territory. The first evidence of man’s presence on the isles date back to the Neolithic period. On the isle of Kornat, the remains of a stone axe have been found.
The “Crowns” of Kornati
Some geological processes which took place on the territory of the park in distant past can be clearly seen in the famous “crowns” of Kornati. The steep rocks of the Kornati islands facing the sea is the most popular phenomenon of the park.
The “crowns” are a plate of a large tectonic fault, which stretches from Istrian peninsula to Middle Dalmatia, and which appeared as a result of the movement of the African continent to the north and its thrusting into Europe. The processes of corrosion, erosion and abrasion added extra beauty to the giant plate. The longest “crown” located above sea level is located on the isle of Mana, and is 1350 m, and the highest one is on the isle of Klobucar, it is 82 m high. The “crowns” are located under the sea as well, and the deepest “crown” is found on the isle of Piskera 90 m below sea level. Ascending the “crowns” is strictly prohibited.
“The viewing platforms”
It is difficult to choose just one of the numerous pearks of the Kornati islands and say that it is the best one. The highest peak — Metlina (237 m) — is on the isle of Kornat, it is very difficult to reach. From the peaks of Opat in the southern part of the isle of Kornat and Litni Verh on Velaja Smokica there is a great view of the Murter sea and Kornati national park.
“Crowns” under the sea
Diving on the grounds of the national park Kornati is only allowed to organised groups which have a special permit. On the park grounds, there are nine areas dedicated for underwater swimming: Kornat, Samogra, Okljuc, Mala Panitula, Rasip, Mali Rosip , Mana and Borovnik.
It is hard to choose one of these areas — each one is good and unique in its own way. Ask for advice at the underwater swimming centre located in the park when you receive your permit. When you submerge, you are not allowed to touch anything or to take anything out of the sea. Diving at night is also prohibited. The permitted diving depth in Kornati is 40 meters.
The remains of the settlements of Illyrians
The first colonisation of the Kornati islands dates back to the times of Illyrians. Small rectangular structures situated separately or in groups, ruined buildings are evidence of dense population of the islands in prehistoric times. Breeding cattle was the main trade of the people there. Apart from this, they also did fishing.
Another interesting building of the Illyrian times is the Old Christian basilica located at the base of the fortress of Tureta. Nowadays, a large part of the apsis and a part of the foundation remain. Not far from the church there are traces of the foundation of a building located there previously. It is presumed that it was perhaps a Templar monastery or a Benedictine monastery.
Fortress of Tureta
The fortress of Tureta of the isle of Kornat dates back to late Antiquity and early Middle Ages, most likely to the 6th century, it is one of the most impressive buildings of the Byzantine era. It is presumed that the fortress served a military purpose, namely guarding and controlling sea routes in the then rather rough Adriatic sea.
On the isle of Vela Panitula, at the beginning of the 16th century, there was built a Venetian fortress. Its primary purpose was to collect fishing taxes from Kornati fishermen. In 1532, Venetian authorities ordered the fishermen to take all the caught fish to the isle of Vela Panitula to estimate the size of tax.
In close proximity of the the fortress, on the isle of Piskera (Jadra) fishermen built a settlement with 36 houses and warehouses, 8 mooring places and a drawbridge between the isles of Panitula and Piskera. In those times, considering the size of the isles, it was a rather large settlement. As part of the settlement, there was built a small church, sanctified in 1560. In that settlement, fishermen only lived during the “summer dark” — the best time for fishing, when there is no moon in the sky. Apparently, with the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century, the fortress and the settlement were abandoned. It is interesting that today there are practically no traces of the previous settlement remaining, and only barely visible ruins remain of the fortress. As for the church, it was restored and nowadays, it performs its sacral services.
Address of Kornati natural park:
22243, Murter, Butina 2
Phone of Kornati natural park +385 0 22 435 740
Kornati natural park on map of Croatia
Official Web of Kornati national park Croatia //www.np-kornati.hr
On this page used photos from www.croatia.hr