There is a story about a prince who lived long, long ago. He had a misfortune; a human body and a dog’s head! Every day he had taken another boy from a village to shave his unusual face. Afterwords, he would slay his barber in order to keep the secret about his doggy appearance. A mother of a boy, next for shaving, was not prepared yet to give up on her son.
He knead a bread of her own milk and refer her son to share it with the prince when he calls him. They eat it together what made them as a brothers, so, the prince decided to spare this young man’s life. The boy promised not to tell a living soul about dog’s head on his shoulders. But truth is like water; always finds a gap to come out to the open. To find out the details of the legend, you’ll have to find the way to the Večka fortresses, a home to the embarrassed prince where he spend the rest of his days, after the truth of his hairy face was discovered.
But let me give you some hints. Driving 268 kilometers from Zagreb, 40 kilometers from Zadar with its train station and ferry port, or 28 kilometers from airport Zemunik, there is Starigrad Paklenica. It is a small town in Croatia with 1800 something residents, living at the gate of Croatian National Park Paklenica. At the end of the long and the most beautiful beach in the center of town Starigrad, rises the fortress Večka from the legend, told before. The area of National Park takes only small peace of southern Velebit facing to the Adriatic sea. Yet, it is maybe the most significant piece of mighty mountain, due to the growing number of tourists visiting it every year.
Destinations like Starigrad, Seline, Tribanj, Zadar, Biograd and other, are renting more and more private apartments, rooms, hotel beds and camping sites from year to year. Tourist offer is developing, active vacation facilities multiplying, restaurants and bars getting better and tastier. Yet, Paklenica kept a certain scent of ancient peace and freshness, such can only a close touch of an mountain and a sea can have.
Paklenica consists of two main parts; canyons Velika (Big) Paklenica and Mala (Small) Paklenica. Velika Paklenica is greater canyon with smooth cliffs striving from the water to the highest peaks of the mountain, somewhere tall even 700 meters. Mala Paklenica isn’t so ostentations, cliffs culminate here up to 400 meters. Two thirds of the Park are covered with woods and dense vegetation, due to the numerous casual and permanent springs and streams, such as Velika and Mala Paklenica are.
Paklenica is a reservoir of insignificant altered eco system by devastating human doings. Vegetative and animal world contains hundreds of species with more than few dozens of endemic species, such as Arenaria orbicularis, which doesn’t vegetate anywhere else in the world. Paklenica is also the place with vivid underground life, over 90 caves and pits hide species and geological formations interesting to scientist and visitors as well. Cultural heritage reflects in fortresses like Večka from the end of Middle ages, artifacts from antiquity, early Croatian churches, as well as the mirila, a stone markings referring to the former funeral customs of the local population which is a unique phenomenon in the region.
Beautiful landscapes spread on the edge of the mountain and the sea, where the border is not perfectly clear. Sometimes clouds seem like waves on the offing, and, yet, sometimes waves of the windy sea seem like clouds drifting to the slopes of the mountains. Tourists, hurrying to book a holiday accommodation around Paklenica, or people fond of active vacations who need just some apartment or room to rest at the end of exhausting and fulfilling day, choose Paklenica for its uniqueness and ancient echoes in its canyons and tree tops of its woods. It is a favorite destinations for free climbers, alpinists and hikers with more than 360 maintained paths intersecting its beauty, leaving breathless everyone passing through.
Karl May, who lived at the end of 19th century, was the most read German writer. He wrote a series of books about an Indian chief, as he rode with Indians himself, although he have never seen American prairies. Those books have reached enormous popularity. In the 60-ties of the past century, a movie series ‘Winnetou’ was filmed after his books at the landscapes of Paklenica.
Why Paklenica? Why don’t you bridle your horses and see it for yourself?