Extract from Julian’s Journeys

The Plitvice Lakes (Plitvicka jezera) are one of Croatia’s most popular tourist attractions. An amazing natural phenomenon and no more than 4000 years old, Plitvice is a protected UNESCO world natural heritage site. They were declared a national park in 1949 and accepted as a World Heritage site in 1979.

Due to the Balkans War, Plitvice was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1992, from which it was removed in 1996. In January 1997, the Parliament of Croatia, at the suggestion of the Lakes Public Establishment and the State Agency for the Protection of Nature and the Environment, made the decision of expanding the borders of the Park to 29,482hectares, allocating an extra 10,020ha to the park.

The altitude ranges from 417m to 1,280m. Plitvice plateau (650-700m) lies between the slopes of Licka Pljesevica (1,640m), Mala Kapela (1,280m) and Medvedjak (884m), and is intersected by the headwaters of the Korana River. The upper end of the Korana Valley is larger and holds the upper lakes lying upon dolomite while the lower lakes occupy a narrow canyon made up of calcium carbonate.

The falls are composed of travertine, mainly calcium carbonate deposited by the water over the years. The powder blue colour doesn’t come from an influx of glacial water, but rather from the extensive beds of the aquatic mosses (Cratoneuron commutatum and Bryum pseudotriquetrum), and various algae and lichens.