IMPRESSIONS
SLOVENIA & CROATIA

 

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BOHINJ TRIGLAV

Lake Bohinj and Mount Triglav

Slovenia

Lake Bohinj is located in the north-west of Slovenia inside the Triglav National Park. Bohinj is an excellent starting point for trips and hikes through the Slovenian Julian Alps including its tallest peak Triglav (2,864m). The park is rich in flora and fauna and the mountains are adjacent to stunning valleys, forests and open country. A gondola takes visitors high above the lake to Mt Vogel, which lies at an altitude of 1700m and features a popular ski centre.
 
LAKE BLED

Lake Bled Slovenia

Lake Bled is a glacial lake in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia, second only to the Postojna Cave. The lake is also well known among rowers and will host the World Championship in 2011.

Perched on top of a 130m cliff above the lake stands the Bled Castle, which is one of the oldest medieval fortresses in Slovenia. As the residence of Bishops, it was mentioned already in 1004. The castle is arranged for tourist visits, and there is also an imitation of a small Renaissance printing house.

A small island in the middle of the lake is home to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. Before the church, there was a temple consecrated to the Slavic goddess of love and fertility. One can get to the island on a traditional wooden row barge called Pletna.

 

   
LJUBLJANA

Ljubljana Slovenia

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. It is a mid-sized city with some 280,000 inhabitants located in the center of the country. Students make up one-seventh of Ljubljana's population, giving the city a youthful character. The University of Ljubljana has close to 64,000 students.

Ljubljana is regarded as the cultural, scientific, economic, political and administrative centre of Slovenia. Throughout its history, it has been influenced by its geographic position at the crossroads of German, Latin and Slavic culture.

Legend has it that Ljubljana was founded by the Greek mythological hero Jason and his Argonauts. They went to the source of the river Ljubljanica where Jason struck down a monster. This monster was the dragon that today is present on the city's coat of arms and flag. Several winged dragons also decorate the Dragon Bridge. Some residents nicknamed the bridge "mother-in-law" in reference to the fearsome dragons on its four corners.

Ljubljana Castle is a medieval castle located at the summit of the hill that dominates the city centre.

After the 1511 earthquake, Ljubljana was built in a Baroque style and after the 1895 quake in an Art Nouveau style. The city's architecture is thus a mix of styles.

   
ZAGREB

Zagreb, Croatia

the native name of Croatia is Hrvatski

Zagreb is the capital of Hrvatski with a population of 1.1million in the metropolitan area. Its favorable geographic position in the southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin provides an excellent connection for traffic between Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea.

The city centre lies in two parts: Upper Town and Lower Town which meet at the Main Square. Picturesque Upper Town is made up of higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets and buildings dating from medieval times up to the 19th century, including the Cathedral, St Marksf Church, and the Croatian Parliament. In contrast, Lower Town follows a geometrical plan with a series of green squares rimmed by Austro-Hungarian buildings erected from the late 19th century, most notably the main train station (Glavni Kolodvor). In front of the train station, successive large parks lead the way up to the historic centre of Upper Town.

The twin Spires of the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are a landmark of Zagreb. The first cathedral built here was destroyed by the Tartar invasion in the 13th century. Most recently, the earthquake of 1880 destroyed large sections of the Cathedral.

 
PLITVICE

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Croatia

The Plitvice lakes are located inland between Zadar and Zagreb. They are Croatia's most famous national park and among the most beautiful sights in Europe. Deservedly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, the 16 cascading lakes, thunderous waterfalls, subterranean caverns, forests, hiking trails and boat rides in the park are what defined the word breathtaking.

The lakes descend from an altitude of 636m to 503m over a distance of some eight km. The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These geological processes continue today. The forests in the park are home to bears, wolves and many rare bird species.

The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

   
   
OPATIJA

Opatija

Croatia

Opatija is called the Opatija Riviera of the Adriatic. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Croatia at the foot of Mt Ucka. Situated at the eastern coast of Istria in the Rijeka Bay Opatija is protected from the north and northwest by Ucka, so that Opatija has less rainfall and more sunshine. The whole narrow coastal strip is covered with evergreen vegetation. Opatija attracts guests in both summer and winter to enjoy its 12-km coastal promenade.

   
KRK I

Krk Island

Croatia

The route from Opatija to the island of Krk is panoramic. There are the medieval town of Veprinac at 500m above sea level and the town of Bakar which overlooks the Bay of Bakar. The Krk Bridge has the second longest concrete arch in the world.

The town of Krk is the administrative and political centre of the island. It dates back from Roman times and is among the oldest in the Adriatic. Krk features a typical Mediterranean architectural style with narrow streets and traditional style houses made of stone. Roman ruins can be seen today in some parts of the town. Krk has also preserved a medieval defence castle with bastion.

   
KRK II
                        Krk Cathedral

Krk is seat of the Catholic Diocese of Krk. The cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary, was built of white stone from the area and is a fine example of Romanesque architecture.
   
KRK III

Kosljun Islet

Krk Island, Croatia

Kosljun is a small islet only 200m from the town of Punat in a bay off the coast of Krk. The only inhabitants are Franciscan monks living in St Maryfs Monastery which contains a collection of sacred art and objects.

   
PULA

Pula

 Istria, Croatia

The Istrian Peninsula feels separate from the rest of Croatia. The Romans ruled here from 177 BC creating a capital in Pula at Istria's southern tip. Still, Pula's superb Roman remains include a well-preserved amphitheatre, arch, temple, and forum in the centre of town.

   
PAZIN

Pazin

Croatia

Pazin is a small town in central Istria about 30km far from tourist villages on the sea. Pazin is the town of rich tradition and culture. The old part of the town, called Kastel, lies on a hill about 130m above the abyss called Jama. Kastel is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Istria and its castle the biggest and the best-preserved medieval fortress of the Istria Peninsula.

   
COUNTRY LUNCH
Istrian countryside lunch in a village of Pazin
   
PREDJAMA

Predjama Castle

Slovenia

Just 10km from the Postojna Cave stands the picturesque Predjama Castle. Virtually impossible to conquer the castle was a true Eaglefs nest. For more than 700 years it has perched proudly on its 123-metre cliff. The castle was built under a natural rocky arch high in the stone wall to make access to it difficult.

In the 15th century the castle was the hideout for the knight Erazem, a grobber baronh, who is the subject of a romantic and beautiful legend. Erazem was ordered to be assassinated by the Emperor. After a long siege of the castle, Erazem was finally killed by being tricked.

Erazem had incurred the wrath of the imperial court for two reasons: the murder of a kinsman of the emperor and his dealings with the emperorfs Hungarian enemies. The governor of Trieste laid siege to the castle for several months. But during that time he received a number of gifts from Erazem: meat, fish, and even cherries since a secret natural shaft allowed Erazem to secretly supply the castle with food; he also used it to continue with his robberies.

It was only after bribing a messenger to explain where the toilet area was (back in the day, you pretty much just hung your bottom out the window and let fly) and sent out a prearranged signal when Erazem went to do his business. One well-aimed cannonball later and Erazem was history.

   
POSTOJNA

Postojna Cave

Slovenia

Postojna Cave in western Slovenia is a 20-kilometre labyrinth of subterranean passages, filled with fantastical stalagmites, stalactites and other rock formations. It is one of the finest examples of landscape, where limestone rock has been heavily eroded to form underground streams, a phenomenon that has created several other caves in the area.

Species unique to the Postojna cave system include the olm, or proteus. In Slovene the olm is literally known as the "human fish" because of the colour of its skin. This unique creature with no eyes can grow up to 30cm. The olm is most notable for its adaptations to a life of complete darkness. Its senses of smell and hearing are acutely developed and it lacks any pigmentation of skin. The olmfs longevity is estimated at up to 58 years.

 

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