Story of the Park

Author: Zvonimir Molan
Dinara Nature Park, our youngest park, designated in February 2021, was probably named after the Illyrian tribe Dindari who used this mountain for livestock grazing. Dinara is the highest mountain in the Republic of Croatia, and the first Croatian state was founded at its foothills. In a way, Dinara is today a symbol of Croatian statehood.

Dinara Nature Park encompasses a part of the Dinara massif (Dinara, Troglav and Kamešnica), the source and upper course of the Cetina River and the karst fields along the Cetina River. In terms of landscape, this area is characterized by the contrast between a high-mountain karst area, where water is scarce and often steep and inaccessible cliffs, as well as vast mountain pastures, and the Cetina River, along whose course fertile and rich wetland karst fields have formed.

The most distinctive feature of Dinara are the almost vertical cliffs of striking layers. The area is not abundant in flora and fauna species, and under the cliffs scree containing specific flora species often develop, with some valuable and endemic plant communities and their representatives.

The conservation of the area, habitat diversity and the specific location of the Dinaric karst belt in Croatia, as well as the fact that this area served as a refuge for a number of European species at the time of glaciation, are among the most important reasons for the high level of biodiversity and endemism of this area. The high degree of endemism is best manifested in cave fauna species, many of which are endemic to the Dinaric area.

11 areas of the Natura 2000 ecological network are either completely or in part located within the boundaries of the Dinara Nature Park – 2 Special Protected Areas under the Birds Directive and 9 Sites of Community Importance under the Habitats Directive.

Park ID Card - information about the Park

Author: Mila Preradović

Natural heritage

Author: Benedikta Bubrić
In geological terms, Dinara is a karst area consisting mainly of Cretaceous and Jurassic limestone and is the karst type locality. Karstification processes are very pronounced here and the entire area is characterized by numerous karst morphological phenomena: fields, sinkholes, plateaus, as well as a wealth of caves. Due to its karstic quality, there are practically no surface watercourses in the Dinara area itself.

At the same time, there is a complex network of streams in the underground that mostly flows into the Cetina River catchment, and to a lesser extent into the Krka River catchment. Great quantities of water from the hinterland emerge again from numerous springs at the foot of Dinara and occasionally flood karst fields containing wet grassland and wetland habitats significant from the aspect of biodiversity. The area is also rich in endemic and endangered representatives, of which one of the most important ones is the Balkan meadow viper (Vipera ursinii macrops), a type of endemic Dinaric snake. It is believed that up to 95% of its Croatian population stems from the Dinara massif.

Flora and Fauna

Author: Sanja Lelas
Great quantities of water from the hinterland emerge again from numerous springs at the foot of Dinara and occasionally flood karst fields containing wet grassland and wetland habitats significant from the aspect of biodiversity.
The area is also rich in endemic and endangered representatives, of which one of the most important ones is the Balkan meadow viper (Vipera ursinii macrops), a type of endemic Dinaric snake. It is believed that up to 95% of its Croatian population stems from the Dinara massif.

Cultural and historical heritage

Author: Mila Preradović
Harsh environmental conditions and inaccessible terrain on the one hand, and climate favourable for the growth of high-quality pastures in the summer, have contributed to keeping Dinara preserved from intense anthropogenic influence, yet largely shaped by long-term livestock farming, the traditional activity of the inhabitants of this region. For cattle-breeders, Dinara plays an integral role, it is a factor of integration: meeting place, social and dynamic nomadic space of livestock movements of Vlachs or Morlachs.

A specific method of seasonal livestock farming, in which during the summer cattle-breeders drive the cattle to the “plateau” in the higher parts of the mountains and remain there until the autumn and the first snow, caused the creation of distinctive values specific for this region. In addition to the ethnological and architectural heritage, autochthonous breeds adapted to harsh environmental conditions, valuable anthropogenically shaped, subnatural habitats, primarily pre-mountain and mountain grasslands have also been created here. Furthermore, in Dinara's peak area, one can also find mountain grasslands created due to the suppression of dwarf mountain pine and mountain forests, which, despite the gradual abandonment of extensive livestock farming on Dinara, still cover large areas, because owing to environmental conditions the successional growth is relatively slow.

History

Author: Daniel Springer
The Illyrians considered Dinara a sacred mountain called Troura or Triget, and today's name is probably derived from the Illyrian tribe Dindari, who lived on its eastern slopes and used it as a tribal cattle-breeding mountain.

In ancient times, the mountain was called Adrian Horos (in Greek: “the border of the Adriatic”) or Mons Ardio (from Latin arduum: slope; ardour: heat, scorching heat). The highest peak of the Dinaric massif, Troglav, is located in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was named after the Slavic deity, the trinitarian God Troglav, uniting the Java (objective reality, material world), Nava (invisible afterlife) and Prava (laws according to which a good man lives). The Celts worshiped the same god.

The first Croatian state was founded in the protective embrace of Dinara’s slopes. The birthplace of the Croatian state, from the first dukes in the 9th century until the death of the last king of the People’s Dynasty in 1093, was bounded by the rivers Cetina and Zrmanja. Knin, Biskupija and Cetina are located in Dinara’s foothills, and provided Croatian archaeology with an immeasurably valuable archeological treasure, a stone memory without which it would not be possible to imagine the Croatian medieval period today. Knin was the capital of Croatian medieval rulers, while Biskupija was the seat of the Croatian bishop with the right to hold Old Church Slavic religious services from 1040 until its abolition in 1493, with early Romanesque Old Croatian churches. The settlement of Cetina can also be found below Dinara’s slopes, with the church of the Holy Salvation from the 9th century. All this space from Zrmanja to Cetina and all these locations are the foundation stones of Croatian national identity and are crucial for its Roman Catholic Western orientation.

Significant archaeological treasure of past civilizations, as well as numerous traces of Croatia's original lost homeland, were found on the riverbed of the Cetina River and along its banks. Research has been conducted in this area since the 18th century, and some 800 archaeological sites are located besides the river and in its immediate vicinity. The sites date back to the Neolithic, 9000 years ago (traces of settlements upstream from the Trilj Bridge), the Bronze age, 4000 years ago (Bitelić, Radošić, Rumin, Vedrine), Neolithic (Okruglo locality in Radošić, where stone objects and tools were found), prehistoric towns (such as those in the Kosorska glavica settlement or in the stilt-house settlement Dragiš in Otok), traces from the Illyrian times ( such as the Prizid ramparts on Gardun, near Trilj and traces on the Gacko-Kulina site near Gale in the Sinj fields), remnants from Roman times (such as traces of the Roman Silver Road, the city of Roman veterans called Colonia Claudia Aequum in Čitluk near Sinj or the camp of the glorious VII Roman legions near Trilj), and the early Christian pre-Croatian age (such as the remains of an old Christian basilica from the 6th /7th centuries and one of the most famous Old Croatian churches – the Holy Salvation near the source of the Cetina River from the 9th century – a church older than the Croatian coronation basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Stephen, the resting place of Croatian kings on the island of Jadro dating to the 10th century).

Nature Park Dinara

About the Park Virtual walk Explore the Park Service information News