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NP Kornati

The Kornat Islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Nowhere else in this large sea is such a great number of islands crammed in so little space. Because of ambiguous criteria of the definition of an island in general, there is no general agreement about their number. But we think that we shall not err much if we determine their number at...

The Kornat Islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Nowhere else in this large sea is such a great number of islands crammed in so little space. Because of ambiguous criteria of the definition of an island in general, there is no general agreement about their number. But we think that we shall not err much if we determine their number at 150. The area of the sea in which they are located is about 320 square kilometres.

The Kornat Islands, like many Adriatic, Mediterranean, and world islands, were formed at the end of the ice age, when the surface of all the seas rose so much that the fields became the sea, and the mountains became islands. The raising of the sea level has continued to the present day, but in a slightly changed form (roughly 1mm a year). That this is so prove the remains from classical antiquity in the Kornat Islands, which were then above the sea level or at the sea level. The best preserved among them are the submerged salt pans at Šipnate and on the island of Lavsa, the submerged muli (piers) at Trstikovac, Statival, and Sedlasti bok, the underwater remains on the island of Piškera that have not been investigated yet.

The largest island of the archipelago is Kornat. The inhabitants of the island of Murter, the most numerous of the owners, refer to it as Kurnat, to the archipelago as Kurnati, and to themselves as Kurnatari, other neighbours and the wider public refer to them as Kornat and Kornatari respectively. The island has an area of 32 525 315 square metres; it's shoreline is 66,1 km long, and it is 235 m high - the peak Metlina. The island is 25,2 km or 13,6 nautical miles long. But the special feature and identifiability of the Kornat Islands are the islets.

Like many other shepherds and farm labourers, people working in the Kornat Islands obtained pastures and later cultivable land by burning. The process was repeated after several years , in a specific order and at a specified time. Although it is known that events sometimes went out of control, on the whole the pasture was burnt in an organized way. The consequence of burning pastures is the almost lunar landscape of the island of Kornat and some of the larger islands, e.g. Kurba, Škuj, Lunga.

Part of the archipelago, roughly two thirds of the land and the sea, is a national park today. The islands of Žut and Sita and their islets are omitted from the Act introducing the highest level of protection, although they belong to the Kornat group - geomorphologically, geographically and culturally. After the creation of the national park in 1980, many scholarly investigatons have taken place there, particularly those as refer to the natural heritage. The studies have brought to light much information about the geological, meteorological, geographic, biologic and other distinctive characteristics of the Islands. Up to the present, they have identified 537 species of invertebrates, 160 species of fishes, one tortoise and three species of mammals, one of which - the monk seal - is probably extinct.