Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mljet

January 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Islands, National Parks

Mljet

Mljet National Park –

Mljet, an island in the southern Dalmatian archipelago, south of the Peljesac Peninsula. Only the western section of this long thin island offshore from Dubrovnik is classified as a National Park. It protects rare and unbroken tracts of verdant Aleppo pine forests, plus their surrounding coastal shallows.

On the peak of Mali Gradac (close to Babine Kuce) are the remains of an Illyrian fortification. The island was mentioned in Roman times under the name Melite. The remains from that period may be found all over the island – Pomena, Zare, Pinjevica. The ruins of palaces and of an early Christian basilica in Polace date back from the beginning of the early Middle Ages.

Around 536-537 the island became part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Later it fell under the power of the Nerentani/Narentini and after that under the power of Zahumlje. Small pre-Romanesque churches of St. Pancras, St. Andrew and St. Michael in Babino Polje.

In 1151, the grand prefect of Zahumlje, Desa, bestowed the entire island upon the Benedictines (from the abbey Pulsano at Monte Gargano in Apulia), who erected their abbey and church on the islet in Big Lake.

The Bosnian viceroy Stephen gave the island of Mljet to the Dubrovnik Republic in 1333; from that time the island was under the power of the duke who resided in Babino Polje. In 1345 Mljet got its statutes. Several churches were built in Gothic style (the parish church in Babino Polje, the Holy Trinity in Prozura, St. Vitus in Korita – all of them dating back to the 15th c.).

The ruins of the church of St. Mary of the Hill date back to the transitional period between Gothic and Renaissance (above Maranovici). The profane architecture is represented by several typical structures (Renaissance palace of the Mljet duke in Babino Polje, several Baroque houses from the 17th-18th c. in Korita).

The coastline is characterised by deep sinkholes and inlets, which now form sheltered coves for yachtsmen and provide excellant places for snorkelling.

Major places (Babino Polje, Prozura, Maranovici, Korita, Blato, Ropa, Govedari) lie in the interior, along cultivated fields; the closest coves on the northern coast are used as harbours. Economy is based on farming, viticulture, production of wine, olive growing, cultivation of medicinal herbs, fishing and tourism. The regional road runs throughout the island. Mljet has ferry lines with Peljesac and Dubrovnik.

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