BRIJUNI ISLANDS – Only Angels Could Have Invented the Islands So Beautiful

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Have you ever been to a national park that you could actually swim to?

Well, theoretically speaking, you could swim into the Brijuni National Park, because it’s only two kilometers away from the land. But, you don’t need to visit a national park wearing only your bikini, the boat can take you in a far more elegant way.

And, no worries, there is just enough beautiful oddities in a park itself.

Some of them even long predating the pre-history. Like dinosaurs.

Brijuni islands are a paleontological site where more than 200 dinosaur footprints were discovered on several locations spread over four of the islands. Footprints are dating from around 125 million years ago. This is an extremely important site because the actual dinosaur footprints are a rarity.

It is best explained on the National Park official website:
“Dinosaur footprints could only be preserved if dinosaurs were moving over soft substrates and thus left traces. The prints should then have been quickly covered with sediment (different from the substrate) and remained intact until the diagenetic processes lithified the sediment and turned it into a consolidated rock.“

But, watch your back while you admire the footprints. There is a full-length grown-up theropod who’s waiting for prey there, and you may suit his appetite just well. The footprints you’re looking at are his, actually. But, lucky for you, the grown-up theropod is just a reconstruction.

You won’t be eaten today.

You are free to proceed with your visit to the park.

Ancient Remains on Brijuni
Ancient Remains on Brijuni

Olive Oil from an Ancient Olive Oil Producer

By the way, the dinosaur footprints are not the only ancient thing you could find on Brijuni. And unlike the great findings of Roman, Goth, Byzantium, Carolingian, and Venice settlements, one of those antiquities is still alive and kickin’.

It’s the old olive tree.

As one of the oldest Mediterranean olive trees, the Brijuni olive tree is more than 1.600 years old. Standing in its place as civilizations come and go.

Amazing.

Even incredible when you know the old tree still fructifies and produces oil to the present day. Imagine such persistence. Imagine the taste of oil coming from a 1.600 years old producer.

Un-Be-Lie-Va-Ble.

Old Olive Tree
Old Olive Tree

There are so much amazing stories on Brijuni islands, it could never all fit into a single piece of text.

The islands, precisely fourteen of them, were collected and been put here by angels.

It didn’t happen accidentally.

Someone greedy (the Devil?) tore the bag in which the angels were carrying the stones left unused after the Maker built a piece of land to the image of Heaven that is Istria.

It was a tragedy, but the angels managed to gather the fallen stones and protected them by the sea waves.

Back into the present time, the islands are a perfect introduction to the extraordinary work of art by nature-the-artist. In only 743 hectares of scattered land, you can witness the greatest variety of flora and fauna, far outreaching the average of the numbers for Mediterranean islands.

Some of it, though only a small part, is a men’s contribution.

If you’ve ever heard of an elephant, zebra or llama living on Brijuni, it should be quite clear those are not the origin species. Those are the gifts that foreign officials donated to the president of former Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito who has had his summer residence right here on Brijuni.

The steppe and mountain zebra was a gift from Sékou Touré, former president of the Republic of Guinea.

Beautiful Landscape
Beautiful Landscape

The zebu, or the sacred Indian cow, was a gift from the Indian statesman and politician Nehru.

And “the Sweetheart of Brijuni“, Lanka-the-Elephant, arrived in 1972. as a gift from Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Tito’s legacy is doubtful today, but there is no doubt he truly loved the Brijuni islands. He made them one of the influential centers of world politics.

The first president of modern Croatia, dr. Franjo Tudjman continued in a similar fashion. Some of the crucial decision-making political meetings of the nineties were held on Brijuni.

However, recent years dragged all the high politics off the islands and brought in the high culture.
The major theatre and movie star of ex-Yugoslavia Rade Sherbedzija found his own theatre group in Brijuni 19 years ago.

The Ulysses Theatre stages the shows and concerts throughout the summer months, devoted to pure art and artist’s collaboration.
This is where high concepts of artistic expression come to life.

No word can describe the vibe better than the words of Rade Sherbedzija himself:

I got to this island and walked over to this wonderful fortress that promised unseen theatrical beauty. Every wall is a memory, every tree is a haven. I begin work to revive the energy that connects rivers and shattered shores. I’m starting this theater to multiply the new energy and some young people cement their walls with this creativity and new strength.

National Park Brijuni
National Park Brijuni

The strong words to send out a strong message.

Of the place where differences of all kinds come together as the whole, the unity, the one. Or fourteen, depending on how you look at it.

The place where olive trees grow with pine trees; zebras, llamas and an elephant roam with deer, peacock, hares, and rabbits.

The place that hosted social events from the beginning of western civilization.

The place where state officials walk barefoot shamelessly.

The Brijuni National Park.

Your CTC Team, S.J.

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