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Risnjak national park

National park

Risnjak

The forest kingdom of Risnjak National Park is home to three large carnivores and a protected area attracting true lovers of untamed nature. The national park, perfect for an excursion, is great for all generations – for those looking for a pleasant walk on less difficult trails, to those searching for intense climbs on massifs.
The massif of Risnjak with its white rocks dominantly rises above the greenery of the Gorski Kotar forests. Every visitor will long remember the beautiful views of Kvarner Bay, Istria and neighbouring Slovenia’s Julian Alps from an altitude of 1528 m. The area of the Risnjak massif was proclaimed a national park in 1953, at the suggestion of the eminent Croatian natural scientist and researcher of Risnjak, Prof. Dr. Ivo Horvat.

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The lush vegetation of Risnjak National Park is the result of great migrations of alpine, Arctic and north European species towards south-east Europe occurring after the Ice Age. The area has managed to maintain a highly diverse flora and fauna due to various climatic, geological, petrographic and other factors. Still, the main phenomenon of the National Park are its forests. With the return of the lynx to the forests of Risnjak, the three large carnivores of Europe – the wolf, the bear and the lynx, yet again share the same habitat.
The Park covers an area of 6400 ha and includes two massifs, Risnjak and Snježnik, as well as Kupa River in its lowest parts. The authentic site of Risnjak National Park covers an area from 290 metres to 1528 metres above sea level. It belongs to the Dinaric mountain system which stretches from the eastern Alps to the Sar-Pindus Mountains, and connects the Alps and the Dinarides.

As the crown of the rising rocks stands Veliki Risnjak (1528 m), one of the most beautiful Croatian viewpoints. Right at the foot of the peak, on Schlosser's meadow, stands the mountain hut “Dr. Josip Schlosser Klekovski”, a unique excursion area offering food and accommodation. The most commonly taken routes to the top of the Risnjak massif are: from Crni Lug from the Park’s management building, from the Gornje Jelenje pass via Vilje, from Mrzla Vodica, from the direction of the Lazac meadow, and from the direction of Platak.
The Snježnik massif, located north-west of the peak of Risnjak, is densely covered with vegetation that is adapted to the harshest climatic conditions and that easily endures the summer heat, the intense cold and bora winds. The peak of Snježnik (1506 m) is rocky, surrounded by flowering mountain meadows and offering beautiful views in all four directions.

Some traces left by early humans were found here, as well as remains of several animals that used to inhabit this area, such as cave bears and panthers.

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