Plitvice Travel Guide

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Tim Cartwright

This national park is situated in the region of Lika, between the mountain massif of Mala Kapela and a spur of Licka Pljesivica. Administratively, a minor part of the Park falls within the areas of Slunj, Otocac and Ogulin, but most of it is administered by Korenica (former Titova Korenica). The Park's headquarters is in village Plitvicka jezera. The region was proclaimed a National Park in 1949. as the first national park in former Yugoslavia.

The Park's greatest value and beauty comprises the sixteen beautiful lakes which flow into each other through a series of waterfalls, and the exceptional richness of the flora and fauna. The Plitvice Lakes are a unique phenomenon of karst hydrography. Although throughout their course they are located in pronouncedly karst topography, the lakes have nevertheless remained surface features, and it is from this that the other unusual and specific characteristics of the lakes derive. The water largely comes in from the Crna rijeka, Bijela rijeka and potok Ljeskovac (Black and White Rivers, Ljeskovac brook), which issue into the Proscansko jezero (lake). This lake lies at an altitude of 636 meters above sea level, and the water runs from it through the lower lakes down to the River Korana, racing over many travertine barriers of various morphological forms and creating countless falls and rapids of great beauty.

The lakes' unique colours, ranging from emerald green to turquoise, make the beauty of the scene and the attraction of this central part of the Park complete. On the basis of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage Convention, the Plitvice Lakes National Park has been entered in the UNESCO List of World Heritage as being a natural asset of universal and exceptional value and importance. The Plitvice Lakes are an excellent example of how a national park can be turned to account for holidaymaking purposes. The development of the tourist industry has been optimally combined with preservation of the natural environment. Several hotels have been built in the Park, all of them merging completely into the natural scenery. There are also motels and camps. Residential, excursion and congress tourism are all being developed. It is possible to stay here all the year round, and the lakes provide excellent conditions for recreation and relaxation.

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