When you are situated in Split, you will never get bored because there are a lot of things to do, and so many possibilities to spend your day cheerfully. Staying home is not really an option, there are a lot of nearby locations that wait for you to offer you relaxation and peace.
One of those is certainly National Park Krka. Let's explore hidden gems at Krka that you should see during your visit to one of the most fabulous national parks in Croatia.
Before we jump into it, please note that there are two ways to enter the National Park. One is in Skradin where it is possible to enter the National Park by boat. If you want to avoid the boat ride, simply drive to Lozovac. Here you can park your car, buy a ticket at the reception and drive by the local bus to National Park. There, you can start your walk along the walking trail to the center of the National Park where there is a fantastic waterfall Skradinski buk.
This brings us to our number one gem, that a lot of visitors overlook. Before you start walking down the standard route, I would like to suggest you visit water mills where you can see how even until the1980s people used to grain wheat, barley, and corn using the power of water and stone wheels. In those times people living in this area were very poor and making bread and polenta from wheat and corn was extremely important for them because it was essential to their diet. Luckily Krka River never let them down, providing abundant water even during summer and hot weather. Mills also became the places where people used to meet and socialize!
After visiting water mills, now it is time to see an amazing device used by the locals even until the 1960s. It is a fulling mill. Producing cloth from sheep wool was very common in this area but freshly woven cloth was very hard and impossible to use - it had to be softened so blankets, begs and clothes could be produced out of it. In order to make blankets people used to beat the cloth with a wooden stick but in order to make some finer clothes, they used a fulling mill where a cloth was softened under running water. How smart, don't you think?! Water mills and fulling mill are the parts of the Ethno village which is situated close to the start of the walking trail, just a few minutes away, so don't miss them!
Moving to my gem number three; did you know that the first power plant in the world, right after the one on Niagara Falls, was made on the river Krka, and that the nearby town Šibenik was the third town in the world that got electricity? How did it happen? The power plant Jaruga belonged to the company Šupuk and Meichsner. Ante Šupuk at that time was the mayor of Šibenik with a strong vision - to bring a revolutionary invention to his hometown. On August 28, 1895, the first electric street lights lit up in Šibenik. Unfortunately at the beginning of World War I, military authorities destroyed the power plant in order to use the material for warfare purposes. However, the remains can still be seen in the national park today, just go right after you visit the Ethno village where you can also find some interesting details about the power plant.
Now, let's go even further in history in the 1st century AD when the Romans arrived in this area. They have left numerous reminders of their lives here. Among them are the remains of a Roman military camp Burnum. It is located in the area of the present-day village of Ivosevci. The Roman military camp of Burnum oversaw the crossings of the Krka River and controlled the flow of people and goods. With the establishment of the military center at Burnum, Scardona, located at the site of the present-day Skradin, also acquired great significance, becoming the main naval harbor used to supply the Roman army stationed at Burnum. To visit Burnum, you need a car and just go in the direction of Ivosevci village. There are even some organized performances during the summer season that takes place under the fool moon, just like the Romans did!
Skradin, former Roman Skardona, deserves a separate blog, so I will not write about it here, but make sure to visit this marvelous little place during your visit to National Park Krka and try one of the most famous Croatian meals - Skradin Risotto. Since it takes 10 to 12 hours to prepare this meal, be sure to call a restaurant and order it in advance. It is traditionally prepared by men and made with viel rump, ham, beef, onions...It is finished off with some good cheese, usually Paški sir from the nearby island Pag. There is no strict recipe, every family cooks it in a different way, and only the basics remain the same! Skradin is surrounded by vineyards and wineries, so try also some good red wine from this area which goes perfectly with this famous risotto.
Visovac Island will leave you really speechless about its beauty. On this small island, there is The Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac. They are there since 1445. Visovac has remained an island of peace and prayer during its turbulent history. The monastery houses a valuable archeological collection and a rich library. Visits to Visovac Island are possible by way of boat excursions from Skradinski Buk, Stinice, and Remetic. A visit to Visovac includes a tour of the island, the Franciscan monastery, the church, and the museum!
So, when you go to visit the National Park Krka, don't just go along a walking trail and have dinner at the restaurant. As you see, there are so many more things to visit and enjoy. It would be a shame not to pay attention to exploring the rich history of this remarkable place and to leave them hidden from your experience. Krka National Park is not too big, so you don't have to worry if you are not, by any chance, very fit, you can easily visit it all. Have fun and enjoy your time exploring these hidden gems at Krka National Park!