The largest karst region of Europe in conjunction with the Mediterranean
Can you imagine that on the soil of the Old Continent there are natural beauties that have not yet been sufficiently explored, offering every new traveller a potential new secret? This gift of the nature created back in the Mesozoic era, as a mountain karst system, to this date remains unique in the world for its size and composition. Its name is Dinaric Mountains, Dinaric Arc or simply the Dinarides. This is a great mountain range of south-eastern Europe, which with an area of approximately 100,000 km2 stretches on more than 6000 km of coastline, including the entire area which is facing the Adriatic Sea and naturally connecting eight countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia.
The main characteristic of the Dinarides is the karst relief or landscape formed by dissolving of the layer or layers of soluble base coat, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite. The largest karst system in the world is made up of 200 mountains, with the same number of peaks over 2,000 meters, 200 natural lakes, 2,200 km of river flows, more than 40 national parks, 19 areas protected by UNESCO. Such relief gave rise to the rich flora and fauna, so that the Dinarides are center of biodiversity of European importance, represnting a home to numerous endemic species (in some areas exceeding even 10% of the total flora). There are many natural forest communities of deciduous and conifer trees, meadows and pastures, which in addition to domestic animals are home for protected large carnivores such as bears, wolves, foxes, lynx, deers .. In this area there are two last European rainforest: Perućica ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Biogradska Gora (Montenegro). Also, one of the last karst field in the world Livanjsko Polje (B&H) is located in this region.
The Dinarides contain important freshwater eco-systems, including the most extensive network of underground rivers (underground rivers) and lakes in Europe, flooded forests and wetlands of international importance, such as the delta of the river Neretva (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia) and Lake Skadar (Montenegro/Albania). Tara River, which flows through Montenegro, and flows into the river Drina on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, carved one of the deepest canyons in the world. River gorges and canyons of the Dinarides are home to many endemic species, species that do not exist anywhere in the world.
Towards the south of the region stretching mountain ranges are taller, which are a real challenge for hikers and climbers, of which are the most grandiose are Prokletije (Montenegro, Albania), on which is located the highest peak of the Dinarides, the Lake peak – Jezerski vrh (Maja jezerce) with 2692 m.
Eastern Adriatic coast still contains pristine areas with limited development of mass tourism. Over 1200 islands characterize the eastern Adriatic coast in Croatia, from Cres to Mljet, supporting a variety of marine and coastal eco-systems. Deeply carved between the two mountains Lovcen and Orjen, the sea Bay of Kotor is unique in the Mediterranean, while the Albanian coast is one of the most pristine throughout the Mediterranean basin.
The Dinarides ensured their natural beauty with the Millennium creation, inaccessibility and cruelty. Of all the European massif this one is the least "touched" by human hands. And this is where its beauty lies. Our mission and commitment is to preserve the wild beauty of the Dinarides for the future.
People of the Dinarides – culture and local products
The specificity of the Dinarides does not consist only of nature, but also of people, who from prehistoric times they live in that area. 70,000 of archaeological sites and buildings are the silent witnesses of different epochs, cultures and civilizations, which have been replacing each other here from the Bronze Era, the Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetian Republic, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian... This region of the world has always been a point of attachment and detachment of the different cultures of Europe, which resulted in the creation of three main religions. At times, connecting, at times disconnecting, this cultural diversity is also one of the many amazing features of the Dinarides. However, what has shaped the identity, culture and life in this area more than the world's great civilizations and religions, is nature. Life at the junction of the high karst mountains and the sea, through the centuries built a special type of people – the Dinaric. To survive, they had to live in unbreakable harmony with nature. Fishing, animal husbandry, traditional crafts and skills in this area are examples of sustainable living and respect for nature. Therefore, this area is nowadays so well preserved, because, in order to survive, people had to respect and protect the nature around them. However, a difficult way of life has led to the emigration of a large number of residents from the area of the Dinarides. Those who remained are presently living in one of the best preserved natural areas of Europe. It is an opportunity and great potential to be successful examples of development of local areas through a combination of agriculture and tourism.
Dinarides are an example proving that in the world there are still areas where the taste and manner of preparation of herbs, meat, cheese, fish, wine, honey, olive oil and other gifts of nature occurred at the junction of the only karst landscape in Europe and Mediterranean has not changed for centuries.