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Brijuni – National park

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The Brijuni are a group of fourteen small islands in the Croatian part of the northern Adriatic Sea, separated from the west coast of the Istrian peninsula by the narrow Fažana Strait.

BrijuniThe largest island, Veliki Brijun Island (5.6 km2), lies 2 kilometres off the coast. The other islands are Mali Brijun, San Marco, Gaz, Okrugljak, Supin, Supinič, Galija, Grunj, Krasnica (Vanga), Madona, Vrsar, Jerolim and Kozada. Famous for their scenic beauty, the islands are a holiday resort and a Croatian National Park.

On the Brijuni there are several archaeological and cultural sites. At four sites on Veliki Brijun Island over 200 dinosaur footprints have been discovered, which can be traced to the Cretaceous Period from where Brijuni Cretaceous Park gets its name.

Brijuni IslandsThere are also several archeological sites worth seeing. There is the 13th century AD St. Mary’s Church which was built by the Knights Templar. There are also two ancient Roman villa remains, from the 2nd Century BC and remains of a Byzantine palace. The last remain is Hill-fort which indicates a Bronze Age settlement on the island dating back to 14th century BC.

There are also several exhibitions including natural history and art exhibitions, and archaeological collections.

 

Recent history

In 1945 after World War II the Brijuni became part of Yugoslavia and President Marshal Josip Broz Tito made the Brijuni Islands his personal State Summer Residence. Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik designed a pavilion for Tito. Almost 100 foreign heads of state visited Tito on his islands, along with film

stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Carlo Ponti, and Gina Lollobrigida. Tito died in 1980, and by 1983 the islands were declared a National Park of Yugoslavia.

In mid-July 1956, President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser, Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, and President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito met here to discuss their opposition to the Cold War. These ideas later crystallized into the Non-Aligned Movement. Vijay Prashad has compared this meeting to the Yalta Conference.

Brijuni faunaIn 1991 Croatia gained independence and made the Brijuni Islands an International Conference Center (see Brijuni Agreement). Four hotels on Veliki Brijun Island were re-opened, as well as a Safari Park, which holds animals given to Tito, such as Sony and Lanka, two Indian elephants donated by Indira Gandhi. Sony, who was donated to Tito in 1970 as a two-year-old calf, died in 2010. The International Brijuni Polo Tournament, dating back to Karl Kupelwieser’s Austro-Italian Brijuni in 1924, has been re-continued since 2004.