Brijuni National Park is an oasis of a magnificent harmony of man, flora, and fauna. Which attracts thousands of tourists every year. The Brijuni archipelago is located on the southern part of the western coast of Istria. It has a total of 14 islands and islets, and the largest is Veliki Brijun. Making them the most indented and largest group of islands in the Istrian area. Brijuni, together with the surrounding sea was declared a National Park in 1999, due to its exceptional value. The magical greenery that stretches as far as the eye can see includes almost 700 species of plants, which work perfectly here in the mild Mediterranean climate. On the Brijuni Islands, you will also encounter a lot of exotic flora and fauna.
The Brijuni Islands are an exceptional combination of natural values, cultural and historical heritage. One of the monuments of cultural value is the fortress Kastrum and the remains of the early Christian church of St. Mary of the 5th century. Within the fortress of Kastrum are the remains of Roman villas, a medieval settlement and a Benedictine abbey. In the 20th century, the Austrian industrialist Paul Kupelwieser and the Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito gave a special stamp to the Brijuni Islands. Paul Kupelwieser was the owner of Brijuni at the beginning of the century and made many tree-lined avenues and parks in the Austro-Hungarian style that still enchant visitors to the Park.
In ancient times, the Romans came to Brijuni and made them perfect places for summer vacations and brought the culture of olives and wine. The Romans built several villas on the Brijuni Islands, among which the villa in the bay of Verige stands out as the largest and most luxurious complex. Some parts of the villa were used until the 6th century. Within the luxury complexes there were temples, promenades, spas and fish ponds. The villa complex consisted of a series of buildings of different purposes connected by open and closed promenades into a single unit that stretched a kilometer along the bay. It was richly decorated with mosaics, frescoes, stucco and precious marble.
On the northern edge of Veliki Brijun stretches 9 hectares of a unique Safari Park inhabited by an unusual combination of indigenous Istrian and exotic South American, African, and Asian fauna. Deer, rabbits, and mouflons are just some of the animals of the Brijuni Islands that enjoy the vast fields of the islands without hindrance. On the northern edge of the Veliki Brijun live exotic species characteristic of South America, Asia, and Africa. Unusual for our climate, they still found their home in the safari park. There you can find llamas, elephants, zebras, ostriches, and camels. In addition to African animals, the park also includes domestic species such as goats, donkeys, Istrian sheep, and the famous Boškarin, indigenous Istrian cattle.
Throughout history, various conquerors ruled the Brijuni Islands. The imprints of the first „conquerors” of these islands remained in the island’s rocks. Once upon a time, slightly more dangerous animals walked the Brijuni Islands. Footprints of 125-million-year-old dinosaurs can be seen in four places in the national park, and among them, you can clearly distinguish the footsteps of a theropod, a 7-foot-tall carnivore that had three toes. Brijuni abounds in the remains of dinosaurs that lived there approximately 160 million years ago and can be seen at four sites on Veliki Brijun. Brijuni dinosaurs are placed in the Cretaceous era, the last period before their extinction, and more than 200 prints of amazing reptiles can be seen in the park.
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