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[ IMAGE: Milna on the Island of Brac ] Dalmatian oils (...continued)

The Island of Lastovo, with an area of 50 sq. km, has many admirers. It is located far out into the Adriatic, with a well indented coast line, gravel and sandy beaches and a few small islets off its east and west coasts. The largest town on this island of ancient pine woods is Lastovo, a nice example of a Mediterranean hillside settlement. The houses here were built one above the other giving everybody the right to sunshine, air and a view. To the west of Lastovo lie the small islands of Mrcar and Prezba. Prezba is very close to Lastovo and together they form two lagoons of unique beauty: Malo jezero (Small Lake) and Velo jezero (Big Lake), both sheltered from the wind. The coasts are rocky, with many easily accessible beaches and small harbours. To the west and east there are a number of islands of varying sizes, all uninhabited. There are many wooded, sandy beaches.

 

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The church of St Kuzma and St Damjan in Lastovo

The island of Mljet, the most densely wooded of the Adriatic, has an area of 100 sq. km, and lies parallel to the Peljesac peninsula. Due to its old thick forests of Aleppo pine, Karst caves, two picturesque salt water lakes (connected with each other and the sea) many sandy and gravel beaches, plentiful fishing grounds, the western part of the island (30 sq. km) has been proclaimed a national park. There are some ten villages on the island with beautiful beaches and places suitable for harpoon fishing. There are remains of Illyrian castles and also many ruins from the Roman times, including a well preserved part of an early Byzantine palace and an early Christian basilica in Polace. The most valuable monument from the Romanesque period is the monastery on the small island in Veliko Jezero (Big Lake). An island within an island! In the 12th century, the Benedictines built a Romanesque monastery, around which a Renaissance building with strong walls and a tower was constructed in the 16th century.

There are fourteen islands in the Elafiti group, the same number as those of Brijuni. They lie facing Dubrovnik, that pearl of the Adriatic, in an area of 90 sq. km, but they actually take up only one third of that space. Among them is the Island of Lokrum. Vladimir Koppen, a German meteorologist and climatologist described Elafiti as having a "climate of vlives". The coast opposite the Elafiti islands rises steeply, thus creating a natural protection against cold continental winds. The uninhabited coastal cliffs are exposed to the southerly wind and the high seas, while the inhabited places are protected in the bays. The days here are pleasant even during the most scorching heat. The stony sea bed is covered in green, black and red algae and is rich in white fish, shrimp and shellfish. Here, fish comes straight to the dish. In the area of the Mljet Channel and around Sveti Andrija (St. Andrew) there is an area of coral reefs. The rich and varied world of the sea bottom is especially interesting for fishermen, who should, if they get up early enough, follow the boats of the local people who know where to cast their nets.

 

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"Entrance" to the distinctive Elafiti archipelago.

On the Elafiti islands, the steep rocks are adorned by a green crown of giant pine-trees. Nature and man have been on good terms here for centuries. On the small island of Kolocep, the vegetation is subtropical, so pine trees, cypresses, palm trees, aloe, cactus, and southern fruits all grow here. There are a lot of fragrant flowers as well. Those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city will enjoy the pleasant promenades, beautiful beaches and numerous small bays, where they will be undisturbed. The legend of the origin of the names of the capes Cavalika and Macus lives on.

According to this legend, young Macus fell in love with a beautiful little girl Cavalika, while he was still a child. When they grew up, they got married and lived happily ever after. As a memento to the undying love of man and woman, the locals decided to name the two capes after them.

 

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