Makarska has always been the center of the surrounding region known as Makarska Riviera, both in an administrative, political and economic sense, as well as a center of culture, education, and since the mid twentieth century, tourism. Today, it is a city of more than 15 thousand inhabitants that encompasses picturesque villages at the foot of the Biokovo Mountain, including Veliko Brdo, Puharići, Kotišina and Makar (which is where the name of Makarska comes from). Makarska is one of the most famous tourist destinations on the Croatian coast, attractive for its nature and good climate, rich in tourist attractions and full of hospitable hosts.
Makarska is located below the mountain of Biokovo (1762 m), which protects it from the harsh continental climate and is responsible for its rich Mediterranean vegetation, mild winters, long, warm summers cooled by a refreshing breeze called maestral. Makarska has more than 2750 hours of sun each year and the air temperature above 20°C from July to September. During these same months, the crystal-clear sea also averages a temperature of above 20°C.
Nature Park Biokovo: Everything mentioned so far would be incomplete without mentioning Biokovo, mountain that shelters the town and under which lies Makarska. During history it protected the inhabitants from sea raids and it raised its peaks as an obstacle to the attacks from the land. Today the mountain is the park of nature, excursion site with many marked mountaineers paths, unique plant life and numerous animal species. It presents a unique contrast from 2000m high snow peaks to the peaceful coastline. It only takes a half an hour drive through the nature park to reach the peaks with an unforgettable view of the city and the surrounding islands.
Holy shrine Vepric: Croatian holy shrine of Vepric is located 500 m past Kuk, in a harmonious natural setting, at the foot of the wooded hill. This place of pilgrimage was founded in 1908 by Bishop Dr. Juraj Carić who was also buried here. The natural cave and the surroundings, hills, plants and the spring easily remind one of the French Lourdes. A chapel and the sacristy have been built in Vepric, as well as the altar, confession booths, stations of the Cross, area for spiritual exercises, and paths for processions.
Botanical garden Kotišina: It is located on the coastal slopes of the mountain slope above the village Kotišina, at an altitude of 350-500 meters and is an integral part of Biokovo Nature Park. The garden was founded by Dr. Fra Jure Radic (1920-1990), a Franciscan priest and scholar, with the purpose of scientific research and monitoring, protection, conservation, and popularization of the flora of Biokovo. This is not a botanical garden in the classic sense, where each plant is brought by certain rules, but is designed as a "walled part of nature", which will retain the natural vegetation forms with its native flora. For a relatively small area of 16.5 hectares there are highly diverse habitats such as rock gardens, screes, precipitous rocks, arable land, and the Proslap canyon with the same name waterfall, which is most of the year is dry, and comes alive only during heavy rains. Source: Biokovo Nature Park
Sights of nature: In addition to the shrine of Vepric, other attractive, wooded areas are parks on the peninsulas of Sveti Petar and Osejava. They are pleasant to visit, for those seeking recreation or just enjoying nature and beautiful view of the city, sea and the islands, and of course, Biokovo.
Veliko Brdo, Puharići, Makar and Kotišina are villages at the foot of Biokovo, above Makarska. Most of their residents have moved to Makarska. A few remain in the villages, repairing their ancient homes or building new ones. These lively villages, with preserved village architecture and beautiful overlooks are favorite spots for picnics and field trips.
When approaching the city by the Jadranska highway, from the direction of Split, one comes to an overlook called Kuk. It is located 2 km ahead of the city and rewards with a view of the wooded area Vepric, Cvitačka (Biloševac), long, pebble-stone beaches, and the peninsulas of Sveti Petar and Osejava which protect the city harbor.
More then 300 years ago, this multitude of cliffs and small islets was chosen for a place where a water-milling settlement with flour and grist mills, flax-stamping mills, wash mills and wooden gangways was built. The harmony between man and nature can still be found there.
Spring time in Rastoke is very watery with lots of droplets and waterfalls, first green leaves and spring flowers. The colors and smell of spring are the colors and smell of new life in Rastoke that leads to green, blooming and a happy summer. And in the fall, you can feed your soul and body with fruits of hip, elderberry, apple, blackberry, corn and chestnut, and enjoy in the mix of colors and sounds. Imagine autumn walk in the woods, on the big natural carpet made of leaves with different colors and collecting natural treasures in coexistence with squirrels and deers. Who would've wanted more?
In the white winter, leaf carpet is replaced with snowflakes, while waterfalls relentlessly create new icy shapes. In the fireplace you hear wood cracking and in the night streetlamps create fairy tales. Snow delights are guaranteed.
Geology of the National Park
The Plitvice lakes National Park belongs to Dinaric karst area and due to its specific geology, geomorphology and hydrology it truly is one of the most impressive karst entities in the world. Apart from dolomitic rock, mesosoic limestones with dolomite inserts prevail. The ratio between less porous or water-retaining dolomites and porous Jurassic limestone sediments in the karst has influenced the landscape of the overall area today. Specific hydrology properties of rock have enabled water retention on Triassic dolomite rocks, as well as canyon formation by water cutting through Cretaceous limestone deposits. Tufa barriers are a phenomenon enabling water to remain inside the lakes.
Plitvice lake waters are supersaturated with dissolved calcium carbonate, in the form of calcium bicarbonate. As water is dispersed at a large scale at tufa barriers, it mineralises and calcium carbonate (calcite) is emitted in the form of tiny agglomerating crystals. The basic chemical formula for tufa sedimentation is the following:
Ca (HCO3)2+water dispersion → CO2+H2O+CaCO3↓ (tufa)
The invisible and at the same time essential element of this specific and complex tufa creation process are the so-called ‘blue-green algae’ (Cyanobacteria), eukaryotic algae (Diatomeae), various bacteria, Protozoa (single-cell organisms) and multi-cell microscopic organisms. These organisms represent a life community developing on rocks, plants (mosses) and submerged debris. Calcite micro-crystals are glued on mucopolysacharide mucus excreted by algae and bacteria. Crystals glued in such a way are crystal-forming agglomerate, around which calcium carbonate from water settles, helping the precipitation of well-known tufa barriers. The most prevalent moss, covering steep and vertical tufa barriers is Cratoneuron comutatum. This moss lithifies fast, and its contours remain well preserved in the tufa. At quieter places, a ‘Bryum pseudotriquetrum’ moss forms a Bryum-type tufa. The process of tufa formation dates far back into geologic history, to the conditions of warm and humid climate, similar to today. The age of active tufa barriers precipitation is estimated at 6.000 - 7.000 years, which corresponds to their formation after the latest ice age. Growth and development of tufa barriers is threatened if there are disturbances in physical, chemical and biological balance, important to the precipitation process.