The PAG Island, which is connected with the land by several bridges, belongs together with smaller islands in front of Zadar to a group of North Dalmatian islands. It is about 60 km long and overall area is 284 square km. Thanks to the famous wind "Bura" the island Pag has only very poor vegetation. Local farmers had tried, but could not change anything about it, despite their effort of building many kilometers of stone walls, desired to work as wind-barriers. Strategic placement of the island was realized a long time ago by Romans, who settled here and gave it its name - Pag.
The City of Pag (2500 inhabitants) has interesting disposition, where the daring thoughts of its ancient builder, Juraj Dalmatinac, are even now reflected. In the 15th century, he was appointed to work out a plan for an urban town. The cornerstone of this at its time very modern and ambitious work was laid down on May 18, 1443. The whole city street net grew around the central town square, where, according to the antique example, two streets cross. On the main square, there stands the Church of the Virgin Mary, a Gothic basilica with many Renaissance elements. Exceptionally interesting is the facade decorated with reliefs, the rosette of which probably inspired the origin of a certain local noteworthy specialty, namely hand made bobbin and mesh lace, called Pag lace. Their motifs, usually four leaf stars and rosettes, are well known around the world. The center of their production is the Pag Bobbin School. In the region of salt pans (where they mine sea salt), south from the city, there lie the ruins of the settlement Pagus (Starigrad), where you can find the ruins of the old basilica. While in ancient past the locals made their living by mining sea salt, these days they focus more on gastronomy. Only in a couple of places, in the valleys and in some plains, vine can be grown. From it they make delicious local wine Žutica, which is unfortunately a scarce commodity. Among other island specialties are olives, delicious lamb and above all, the famous sheep cheese Paški sir (Pag Cheese). Its exceptional inimitable taste is achieved by being made from the milk of local sheep, which eat local salty vegetation.
Local people put their great hopes in tourist industry, for which 11 km of sandy beaches around the Pag Bay and six hotels in the city are a good basis.
NATIONAL PARK PAKLENICA: (tel./fax: +385-23-369202)
About 4 km from Starigrad, in the direction of the main land, there lies the National Park Paklenica, its two deep canyons Velika Paklenica (with stalactite cave Manita Peč, 175 m long) and Mala Paklenica (by the village Seline) are worthy of a visit. The highest mountain of the park is Mount Vaganski (1,758 m). You will need a whole day to climb it. If you want to see the national park, especially its further away part, it is quite demanding, because the trip through the park requires overcoming height difference of 1,600 m in a short track!
Important port and industrial city of Zadar (70,000 inhabitants) is a cultural and business center of the northern Dalmatia and in the past it used to be the Dalmatian capital. Its origin lies with Illyrian tribe of Liburns, which settled the whole north of Dalmatia and in the place of present Zadar founded a settlement of Jadera. Later the Romans came and subdued the Liburns and founded the city, which still bears the basic characteristics of its Roman origin. Inside the city walls they built the capitol, forum, theater and bathhouse. It even had its own sewer system. From the time of the Emperor Trajan, there is a 35 km long aqueduct, leading all the way to the Vrana Lake, south of Zadar. In the time of the migration of nations Zadar was the only city in the area, which managed to resist the Avar onslaught. Officially it was under the jurisdiction of the Byzantine Empire, but it was so only on paper. Since the 11th century different rulers took turns governing the city, including Croatian monarchs and Venice. Exceptionally great resistance was against Venice, to which it became a thorn in the eye. In the beginning of the 13th century the Doges Republic asked the knights of the crusaders to pay back for being transported on Venetian ships by destroying Zadar. They performed the task and in 1202 the Doge Dandolo entered the city, leading a group of French crusaders. After a century and a half, in 1358, the city went back into Hungarian hands. Venetian dream of ruling over Zadar once again came true only in 1409, when the Hungarian king Ladislav sold the city with its coast to the Doges Republic for 100,000 ducats. The city of Zadar became the seat of the governor for the whole area of Dalmatia and Albania. The development of agriculture and crafts was profitable mainly for Venice, which reserved all business rights for themselves. All goods produced there had to be transported to Venice, while all imported goods were charged with a double customs duty. Local people were prohibited from storing food reserves for more than four days. Venetians made Zadar the greatest fort in eastern Adriatic, which should have become a barrage against continual Turkish attacks. In 1797 Zadar went to the Austrians and in the time between the World Wars it was a part of Italy. More than 8,000 inhabitants left it, and were replaced by thousands of new inhabitants - Italians. During World War II Zadar was greatly damaged by bombing. The city was rebuilt and its cultural and historical sights restored under Tito.
PLITVICE LAKES: (tel. 023-751000, fax: 023-751001)
The Plitvice Lakes were included into the UNESCO list of natural heritage. The system of 16 green-and-blue karst lakes, placed one above the other in the length of 7 km, lies 503 to 639 m above the sea level. Lakes are connected by 92 waterfalls, falling from heights from 3 to 76 meters. Around it, there are beech, spruce, fir and maple forests on the banks of mountain massifs of Mala Kapela and Plješivec Mountains. The whole national park has the area of 20,000 ha, about 200 ha are lakes and 14,000 are the forests around. The fauna finds great living conditions there, so next to countless kinds of birds (for example vultures) and small animals, there are also deers, bears, boars, wolves and wild cats. Also, many animals on the verge of extinction live there (for example otters). The state road leads right around the two entrances to the national park. Signage is good. We recommend you to park at the northern entrance and take a tour there, so you can walk through the park along the lakes to the south.