Lastovo archipelago

The Lastovo Islands Nature Park is located 14 km south of the island of Korčula and belongs to the group of South Dalmatian islands. The park itself includes the southernmost Croatian inhabited island - Lastovo, and the island groups Lastovnjaci and Vrhovnjaci and the island of Sušac. It has a total of 46 islands, islets, cliffs and reefs that stretch over 53 km2 of land and 143 km2 of sea surface. The very diverse natural and cultural heritage of this area is responsible for the status of a nature park.

Most of the islands are karst, which contributed to the formation of caves. The most famous is the Rača cave, which is also protected as a geomorphological monument of nature and an archaeological site. Medjedina Cave was once home to the Mediterranean seal, while today it is known as a bat habitat.

The archipelago is one of the richest botanical areas in the Mediterranean. Most of the archipelago is covered with forest, which makes the Lastovo archipelago along Mljet the most forested Croatian islands. It is known for numerous endangered species of flora, endemics and stenoendemics. Dalmatian kozlinac stenoendem is a strictly protected species that can be found exclusively on Lastovo.

As for the fauna, it is interesting that there are no venomous snakes on the archipelago and it is the only species of snake that inhabits the steppe guž or smičalina. The underwater fauna is rich in corals, sponges, mollusks, crustaceans and many other species. In addition to fish such as grouper, dentex, murine and tuna in open waters, various species of dolphins can often be seen.

The oldest evidence of settlement of the islands dates back to the Early Bronze Age and since then life here has been continuous. Although the archipelago is significantly away from the coast, it is accompanied by a turbulent history and changes of many rulers. But all this has contributed to a great cultural tangible and intangible heritage. Of the intangible heritage, it is certainly worth mentioning the Lastovo Poklad, which the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia declared an intangible cultural asset and placed under its protection.

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