By Anita Palada – https://anitapalad camera.com
Croatian travel journalist Anita Pallada takes us to the enchanting landscapes of Lika and the thousands of waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes. It’s a landscape – and history – defined by its running water. Discover the folklore and fairy tales associated with the region and share the legends of Lika and its abundant waters.
Water and more water!
Wherever you go, there are lakes, rivers, waterfalls and cliffs. In some places, the water is completely transparent and calm, and then, at a distance of a few tens of meters, the water is just that crazy. It is almost impossible to understand the realities of nature and the limits of the possible and the existing. It is a great experience to visit Lika, and to watch how the Slunjcica River flows into the Korana River in Rastoke, as well as similar natural phenomena that occur in Plitvice Lakes. Little by little, then more and more, the water struggled toward the cliff and then sank into the abyss of travertine rocks, causing a deafening roar.
Welcome to Plitvice Lakes National Park
“Take care of your land, and people will come to visit it from all over the world,” said the Black Queen, before disappearing forever.
According to legend, the black queen kept her promise. You helped the people of Lika who are burdened with debt when they needed it most. In return, they faithfully continued to protect this piece of earthly paradise, rich forests, fertile valleys, and magical lakes.
“Plitvice Lakes is a rare natural phenomenon, the most beautiful in Croatia and beyond. It is located in Lika, the mountainous part of Croatia. People from all over the world come to see this natural rarity, and to hear the power of Croatia,” says Ines Milic, an expert on Croatia’s natural and cultural heritage. water and its experience.
The scene shows how nature played out. It has magically linked a large water system into one, creating vast lakes, playful waterfalls, and gigantic waterfalls of exquisite shapes. Plitvice Lakes National Park consists of 12 upper lakes – the so-called upper lakes – and 4 lower lakes – Lower Lakes – A total of 16, connected to each other by cascading rapids and waterfalls.
The lakes were formed from the growth of still-active travertines and constantly changing the appearance of the lakes and waterfalls, whose ages are estimated between 6,000 and 7,000 years, which corresponds to the time after the last ice age.
Folklore and fairy tales
The people of the region did not lack imagination. After working hard in the fields, their routine was to sit around an open fire and invent and tell stories about supernatural beings, including the Black Queen, who created Plitvice Lakes with her supernatural powers.
The anecdote says that there was a long, painful drought. Even the Crna Rijeka dried up, and there was no water to feed the entire region as it once was. People and animals shouted for a drop of water, and the plants directed their green leaves toward the ground. From the depths of their souls, the people of Lika prayed for rain daily, but to no avail. Then, one day, the Black Queen heard their cries. She took pity on them and sent rain, followed by strong thunder and gale-force winds. Water flowed from every dirt pore until the Black River swelled to the point that it overflowed from its bottom. The first “begging” lake was created by the people of Lika, and they called it Proscansko Lake.
“the largest and deepest of the two lake systems ( Lake Proscansko And kozjak) is on upper lakes – Upper Lakes – They measure 47 miles. Ships sail through Kozcak Lake, and after crossing it, the guests continue on their way to it Lake Gradensko. There they experience the opening of completely new scenes of the cascading waterfalls of Borgetti, Mali and Veliki Pristavak”, explains Milic.
She continues: “There, at the end upper lake It is the Veliky Slap Falls, which is supplied with water from the Plitvice Stream. It is the largest waterfall in Croatia with a height of 78 meters. Its water power transforms into an endless series of shimmering drops so powerfully that, despite the seemingly faint fall, it creates a thunderous roar.”
The waters of Plitvice Lakes are the richest in spring and autumn. After a few days of rain, the swollen subterranean waves expel large amounts of water, clogging the surface in large waterfalls. However, each season has its own characteristics. Autumn brings so much color and variety. The surrounding plants thrive in green, yellow, red, and brown hues that crack and overlap with each pouring water.
During the winter, the water cools down and rests and relaxes from play. Frozen waterfalls, covered with snow, turn them into ice sculptures, and make the whole area a white fairy tale. Spring on Plitvice brings a new life full of green and blue luxury. Green trees, surrounding plants, blue sky and white clouds are reflected on the surface of the crystal clear water.
Visitors compare their stay in beautiful villas on Plitvice Lakes National Park, and tell stories about their experience of the harmony and completeness of life.
Rasstock: Small Plitvice
After Plitvice, the road takes us a little further north to Rastok, which is about thirty kilometers away. Because of its resemblance to Plitvice Lakes National Park, it is also called bad plitvice; Small Plitvice. This little place will delight everyone, even the unintended traveler who passes by the main road D1 Karlovac- Plitvice Lakes. Two rivers meet in the center of Rastok. Here, the Slunjcica River flows over travertines into the Korana River, creating turbulent rapids, waterfalls, and tranquil lakes.
“Vilina Kosa, Bock and Harvuje are the largest and most impressive waterfalls over which this little romantic place spreads. Because of the abundance of water, houses with mills were built here about three hundred years ago. Almost every house had a mill, and mill owners lived well with their families The men spend time working in the factory, the women look after the children and work in and around the house.They get up early at dawn, walk the cattle, milk the cows, make cheese, light a fire, and knead homemade bread (broga) and bake bread under the oven in an open fireplace. The women cook meals in a huge pot to feed their large families after a hard day’s work in the field. They cooked warm dishes, mostly potatoes, venison, or vegetables with dried meat,” Milic evokes the former home atmosphere.Milic also referred to people who traveled long distances and brought sacks of grain on horseback to grind at the nearest mill. They stood in front of the factory and waited in line for hours, sometimes days. While they waited they spoke of fields, and wheat, and harvests, weddings, and births, and they rejoiced and wept together.”
Wooden houses traditionally built on travertine rocks still exist, but they have a different purpose. In beautifully decorated homes, hospitable housewives welcome today’s guests, evoking the past and showing Rastoke’s present.
This little place is surrounded by roaring water. Spring brings the scent of green meadows, blooming flowers, apples, pears and peaches. There are no more old mills in those houses, but what remains is a deep trace of the past, which is remembered by stories and legends.
Harfoji Waterfall is the largest of all. named after HerfujiA beautiful, handsome man who threw himself from that waterfall into the river because of an unhappy love. The second beautiful cascading waterfall is Velina Kosa. It is said to have been named after the fairies, who “borrowed” miller horses during the night and rode them merry through the nearby mountains. In the morning the mill-owners watched their weary and beautiful horses in amazement: the emaciated horses’ bodies gleamed in the early sun and their thick manes delicately woven into long braids. Thus, the waterfall was named Filina Koussa Fairy Hair, because its silvery water is reminiscent of the gorgeous color of a fairy’s hair.
Today, the fairies are no longer roaming Lika, but many of our guests. They climb the mountains near Velebit, Mala, Velika Kapela and Pljesivica. Our visitors enjoy the lush green forests and vast meadows of Krbavsko Polje and kayaking in the Gacka, Korana and Slunjcica rivers. When swimming in the wells, our guest’s skin is gently caressed by crystal clear water.
Do you want to feel the magical power of water? If you do, you are welcome to Lika!
About Anita Palada
Anita Palada is a journalist from Croatia, specializing in travel and tourism. She writes more about her country of Croatia, especially about the various picturesque places along the Adriatic coast, such as Terra Madre. But not only from Croatia! She also travels, explores and talks with people from all over the world to tell interesting stories about interesting destinations, heritage hotels, good restaurants, traditional food and delicious wine, like this article on Croatian wine. Read more at https://anitapaladpton.com