Kornati: …tears, stars and breath…
Legend on how Kornati Islands were created
Legend has it that during Creation God had some white stones left so He tossed them, and then, after realizing what He got, decided not to change a thing. Many have witnessed their beauty and the trueness of this legend. One of many was G.B. Shaw who, bedazzled by their beauty, wrote: “On the last day of Creation God desired to crown His work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath.”
The most indented archipelago in the Mediterranean
The Kornati National Park is the most indented archipelago of the Mediterranean and it includes about 140 uninhabited islands, islets and rocks. In 1980, 89 of these islands were proclaimed Kornati National Park for the exceptional beauty of their landscape, untouched nature, great indentedness of the coast and rich sea fauna and flora. Nowadays, Kornati are not permanently inhabited, but the existence of fishermen and field labourers’ houses scattered in gentle coves around the islands testify of their owners’ presence. The houses have been turned into restaurants and accommodation space for Robinson Crusoe style tourism. Kornati Islands are a real paradise for boaters, divers and everyone who enjoys the magnificent beauty of the untouched nature.
The most popular phenomenon of the National Park are the Kornati Crowns which are probably the origin of the islands’ name (Latin corona = crown). The Crowns are the vertical white cliffs of the sides of islands facing the open sea. They are a result of geological processes in the past. The length of the longest crown above the sea level is 1350 meters and the height of the highest crown is 80 meters. The underwater extensions of the cliffs go as far as 100 meter deep. At the same time these cliffs are the habitat of certain rare bird species which can be found in the Adriatic area like grey falcon, European shag and swift.
Kornati dry-stone walls
Beside the cliffs and so many different shapes of the islands, one of the curiosities of the Islands is definitely dry-stone walls built, stone by stone, by the callous hands of the old field labourers. Hundreds of meters of dry-stone walls are placed along the islands to protect their property, their grazing land, and to stop sheep from crossing from one property to another. The total length of the dry-stone walls on the islands of the archipelago is over 100 kilometres.
The islands of the Robinson Crusoe style tourism
Today Kornati are not permanently inhabited. They are a favourite destination of people who favour tourism Robinson Crusoe style. In the past this used to be quite different. Standing there as a witness of the past life on the islands, we have the remains of Illyrian hill-forts and tumuli, the oldest buildings on the islands, and nowadays flooded salt pans and Venetian citadel from the 16th century. The centre of life of the islands used to be around Tarca field where we can find fort Tureta from the 6th century. Its purpose was to protect and follow ships during their navigation through, at the time, perilous Adriatic.
The Archipelago of the most interesting pilgrimage in Croatia
The Church of Our Lady of Tarca – Queen of the Sea is placed in the field Tarca. The pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Tarca and the votive procession of boats is one of the most beautiful and the most interesting religious events in Croatia.
What to visit?
- Illyrian hill-forts – the oldest buildings on the Archipelago, found on the islands Kornat and Žut.
- Fort Tureta – on the island of Kornat.
- The remains of the flooded salt pans
- Venetian citadel – on the islet Vela Panitula