Nature park Učka

Učka Nature Park is a monument of coexistence of man and nature thousands of years old. It is located at the "entrance" to the Istrian peninsula, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. It consists of the mountains Učka and part of Ćićarija, which are separated by the pass Poklon. Since the mountains connect Istria with the rest of continental Croatia, there is a special combination of Mediterranean and continental flora and fauna.

Despite the small area of the park of 160 square kilometres, its area is inhabited by as many as 1,300 plant species. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that the first scientists who visited Učka were botanists. The area is extremely rich in endemic species, the most famous of which is certainly the earleaf bellflower. Forests cover 70 percent of the park and are mostly beech. A small number of widely known sub-Mediterranean tame chestnuts, called maruni, can be found. Many travel writers have written about their special taste on their travels.

All three large carnivores of our region have been recorded in the forests - the gray wolf, the brown bear and the European lynx. The Park is also home to the largest European owls – eagle-owls. Among the 167 species of birds that live there are the endangered griffon vulture and the golden eagle, which nest on the steep (but safe for young) mountain slopes.

Despite constant research, it is estimated that only 40 percent of the species that inhabit the park area have been discovered so far.

The human presence on the mountain is thousands of years old, as evidenced by the archaeological site in the complex of Pupićina and Vela peć. Remains of a small human community 12,000 years old were found there, and one of the mountain tops is named after the supreme Slavic god of lightning - Perun.

For many millennia, people have cleared dense forests for grazing livestock, thus creating space for new species that did not previously live there. In this way, they shaped the landscape of Učka and Ćićarija that we know today. Shepherds built apartments, field shelters and special shelters, while dry stone walls and terraced gardens remained behind the peasants. According to the originality, Lovranska Draga and Mala Učka stand out among the settlements.

The highest peak of the mountain Učka, and at the same time Istria - Vojak is an unavoidable destination for mountaineers. There, in the 19th century, the stone tower Vidikovac was built, with a view that would surely rarely leave anyone indifferent.

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