National park Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest, largest and most visited Croatian national park. It is located between Mala Kapela on the west and northwest side and Lička Plješivica on the southeast side. The park covers an area of just under 300 square kilometres. The largest part of the area is occupied by forests, followed by grasslands, and the lake system, as the most attractive part of the park, occupies less than 1% of the park area. The lake system consists of 16 larger lakes and several smaller cascade lakes. The lakes are interconnected and descend into each other. The system is divided into Upper and Lower Lakes. The Upper Lakes consist of twelve more extensive lakes with more indented and milder shores than the Lower Lakes. Also, the Upper Lakes are predominantly built of dolomite, while the Lower Lakes are made of limestone. The largest, and also the deepest lake is Kozjak. However, the Plitvice Lakes are by far best known for their beautiful travertine barriers, which were gradually formed around 10,000 years by the process of limestone sedimentation. The condition for the formation of tufa is water rich in calcium carbonate. When this same water becomes more acidic due to the dissolution of carbon dioxide from the air, a soluble form of calcium carbonate is formed, which binds to the surrounding plants and rocks and returns to its insoluble form. As all the lakes are connected and the water mass is constantly moving between them, this process, which happens continuously and constantly, gradually changes the appearance of the lakes themselves. This makes the Plitvice Lakes a unique and fragile ecosystem. As for the fauna of the Plitvice Lakes, they are known for being habitats of brown bears, wolves and lynx, endangered species of European forests. Two dates are extremely important for the Plitvice Lakes, namely: 8 April 1949 when they were proclaimed the first national park in Croatia, and 26 October 1979, when they were internationally recognized and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


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