Dugi Otok cliffs
|Highest elevation||Vela Straža
Dugi Otok (German: Lange Insel, Italian: Isola Lunga) is an island of the archipelago off Zadar in Croatia.
Location and inhabitants
Dugi Otok bears its name due to its geographical shape with a length of about 43 km at a width of only about 4.6 km. At the narrowest point it is only 1 km wide. It stretches in a northwest-southeast direction, in a row with the islands of Molat in the north and Kornat in the south. In front of it to the east are the inhabited islands of Zverinac, Iž and Rava. In addition, there are several smaller, uninhabited islands. With 113.3 km², Dugi Otok is the seventh largest Croatian island, with a coastline of 182 km. The highest elevation of the island, Vela Straža (Great Watch), is 338 m above sea level.
Dugi Otok has 1655 inhabitants (2011) distributed in 11 villages. Sali is the seat of the municipality and the largest village. The municipality of Sali also includes the village of Zverinac on the island of the same name opposite Božava. While the west coast consists largely of inaccessible cliffs facing the open sea, all inhabited villages are located on the east side of the island, which faces the mainland. The inhabitants live mainly from fishing, agriculture and tourism. Dugi Otok has no fresh water sources. The houses collect the rainwater in cisterns or they get the water with the weekly water transport by ship from the mainland.
The connection with the mainland to Zadar is provided by Jadrolinija with a car ferry to Brbinj and with a catamaran to Božava and Brbinj via Rivanj, Sestrunj and Zverinac. The passenger ferry from Zadar to Sali and Zaglav is operated by G&V Line Iadera. Until 1985 the island was car-free. An asphalt road, built in 1980, now connects all the villages between Veli Rat and Sali. The state road has the number 109 and is 41.9 km long. With the accesses to the ferry ports of Brbinj (state road 124) 1.7 km and to Zaglav (state road 125) 1.1 km, the island has 44.7 km of state road. Within the island there is a bus connection to the individual places, which is operated by Liburnija from Zadar.
The individual localities are:
- Božava – 116 inhabitants
- Brbinj – 76 inhabitants
- Dragove – 36 inhabitants
- Luka – 123 Inhabitants
- Sali – 740 inhabitants
- Savar – 53 inhabitants
- Soline – 38 inhabitants
- Veli Rat – 60 inhabitants
- Verunić – 40 inhabitants
- Zaglav – 174 Inhabitants
- Žman – 199 inhabitants
The island was inhabited quite early, as evidenced by human findings from prehistoric times. During the excavations in the Vlakno cave in 2011, the remains of a human skeleton were found, whose age was estimated at 11,000 years (early Middle Stone Age). He was called “the oldest Dalmatian Šime” and archaeologists believe that at the time of death he was about 40 years old, between 168 and 172 centimetres tall and died of a non-violent death.
Remains of Roman villas and Illyrian castle ruins can be found on the island. Houses and churches from the early Croatian period are preserved. In the 10th century the island was called Pizuh. At that time the inhabitants started fishing. At the beginning of the 11th century it was called Insula Tilagus in written sources, this name is preserved in the name of the bay and the nature park Telašćica. The current name of the island, written in Glagolitic, dates back to the 15th century.
The remains of the church of St. John from the 10th and 11th centuries can still be seen as foundation walls. The church of St. Nicholas was built in 1378. The walls are still preserved as ruins.
The first primary school in Dugi Otok was founded in Sali in 1841. Classes were taught in Italian, as in the other primary schools in Dalmatia. Croatian language teaching in Sali was introduced only in 1873. Since 1870 there have been primary schools on Dugi Otok also in Božava and Veli Rat. In the following years, all the settlements on the island had their own schools. In 1964 there were 515 pupils. After the wave of emigration after the Second World War, the population of the island decreased rapidly, so that in some settlements the work of regional schools had to be stopped. Today there is still one school in Sali and one in Božava.
The Grpašćak Fortress was built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1911 and was used exclusively as a military post for the Austro-Hungarian Navy.
During the 2nd World War, Dugi Otok, like the surrounding islands, was a retreat for partisans. There is a monument dedicated to them in Soline.
On 13 February 1943, the British HMS Thunderbolt sinks the Italian auxiliary minesweeper No. 112/Mafalda (364 GRT) with shipboard artillery off Dugi Otok.
In the southeast of the island is the Telašćica Nature Park. In the bay of Telašćica there are several smaller islands and rocky islets (Korotan, Galijola, Gozdenjak, Farfarikulac, Gornji Školj and Donji Školj). Immediately southeast of them borders the National Park Kornati. There are several caves on the island, the most famous being Strašna peć, near Savar. A submarine bunker from the time of the Yugoslav Army is preserved near Dragove. Two others can be found near Božava. At Veli Rat, an Italian freighter ran aground in the 1980s, a popular destination for snorkelers and divers. Also at Veli Rat is a 42 m high lighthouse, one of the highest in the Adriatic.
Flora and fauna
The Telascica Nature Park serves as a habitat for numerous rare plants. Thus, among the 300 species of plants, 8 species of wild and very rare orchids thrive. Animals also feel at home in the nature park. Especially on the cliffs and in the sea below all kinds of animals cavort. The flora and fauna in the water alone counts 300 animal and 250 plant species.
The island is partially overgrown with maquis. There are also pine forests, agaves, rock roses and tamarisk. The Ragusa knapweed is present on Dugi Otok in two subspecies.
In Croatia, there is a presumably allochthonous occurrence on the island of Dugi Otok off the coast of Zadar. The bull’s eye, a species of blind snake, is found in flat and hilly areas and on dry slopes, especially in areas with loose, herbaceous vegetation. Only here on the island it has spread allochthonously in Croatia. Nine different species of bats are native here, some of which are endangered. The house gecko and the scheltopusik are very common. Six different species of snakes, all non-poisonous, are also present, along with countless lizards. Birds make up the largest number of vertebrates on the mainland, with 115 bird species recorded to date. Besides many gulls, hawks, the eagle owl is the largest flying animal. Many migratory birds also fly over Dugi Otok on their way.
The cliffs of Dugi Otok
Submarine Bunker near Dragove
Veli Rat lighthouse on the northwestern cape of the island
Salt Lake Mir
Dugi Otok is also the name of the stage programme of the Hessian humour duo Badesalz, which started in 2007.
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