Driving Green Islands -DUBROVNIK – MLJET

Driving Green Islands -DUBROVNIK – MLJET

Mljet is the eighth largest island in Croatia, one of the largest southern Dalmatian islands, and the southernmost and easternmost island of Croatia. Mljet belongs to the Dubrovnik island group and is its largest island. Just as today, Mljet has gravitated all his history to this area. It is located in the immediate vicinity of Dubrovnik, Korcula, Elaphite Islands, and from the peninsula of Peljesac it is divided by the Mljet channel.

Due to the same name in Roman, and later in Latin scripts, Mljet has often been replaced by history through the island of Malta, and today two world-famous legends about the shipwrecks of Homer’s Odyssey and St. Paul (no matter in the Acts of Apostles 27.39-28.11 in which it is unambiguously said that the shipwreck happened while they were sailing on Adri and no matter where there were no poisoning serpents in Malta, and they were abandoned on Mljet by bringing molluscs) are attributed to the larger and world-famous Malta. As a reminder that the ancient Ogigi could be also Mljet, today there is an Odyssey cave and the rocks of St. Paul as well as a votive church in the eastern part of the island. Likewise, no matter how Croatian kinolos and veteran historians consider that Maltese originates from Mljet, which is acknowledged by most kinologists who are referring to Kalimera of Cainan, Pliny of Starije and Stjepan Byzantine, and this is more and more attributed to Malta today.

Mljet is an island of colorful animal life and original forests of Aleppo pine, pine pine and oak pine. It is considered to be the most fertile and green island of Croatia, whose western part is protected as the first Adriatic National Park, and the eastern part as a reserve of natural rarities.

The larger settlements on Mljet are not particularly due to the poor economic development of the island resulting in permanent emigration of the younger population. The inhabitants of the island of Mljet are called Mljećani and Mljećke (often referred to as Mljećanke). According to the 2001 census, 99% of the population are Croats, 96% of the population are Catholics, and are the only islanders (with Elaphite residents) who speak a stocavian dialect, and that is, in earring.

General data

A little lake.

Mljet is located in the archipelago of Dubrovnik and its largest island. Its surface area is 100.4 km2. It is elongated in shape because it is 37 kilometers long and only 3 kilometers wide. From the Pelješac peninsula, it divides the Mljet channel. It stretches in the northwest-southeast direction. It is considered to be the most desirable island on the Adriatic, more than 70% of the area is covered by forests, and within the national park the coverage exceeds 90%, and therefore has the nickname the most green island of Croatia.


Cove Lastovska – very indented northwestern coast of Mljet

Mljet is located within a 100 meters isobat, which shows that it was once part of the neighboring mainland, as well as all Croatian islands. The relief of the island has a split and very dynamic look. The highest peak of the island is the Great City (514 m), while at the same time many peaks exceed 300 meters. Along the island there are many karst valleys (fields) and some hundreds of smaller dolomites. About Mljet has more islets and reefs.

Mljet’s lithological composition is quite simple. The island hull is built of limestone and dolomite Mesozoic age. Some experts claim that there are volcanic rocks on Mljet. Geologically the earliest parts of the island, the upper estuary, are located on a relatively narrow zone in the central part of the southern shore. The slopes more than 55 degrees steep, located on the southwestern coast of the island. They are almost vertical and exposed to open sea and large waves that shape them with abrasive action. The slopes of the slopes are most often the deep sea indicators right next to the shore, so some steeps end only at 80 m depth. At the bottom of the Little Lake there are two deep pits that stretch to depths of 38 and 50 m. As a typical karst island, Mljet is rich in caves and pits with a depth of 77 m deep in Brekac. The jars of Jarač on the bridge of Graca near Polača are rare sedate stalactites, characterized by the fact that they grow by the calcification of plants that live on them. These stalactites were first recorded in Croatia in 2007 in the Galičnjak cave in the southeastern part of the island. In addition to land, there are numerous caves and caves.

The Mljetska obala is very indented, with particular emphasis on the northwestern coasts (Veliko and Malo lake, Lastovska cove and Pomena and Polače bay) and the southeastern coast (Saplunara).


Polače Bay, snow on Mljet (recorded in February 2009)

Mljet belongs to the Mediterranean climatic region, so the summers are dry and long, while the winters are rainy and mild. The spring – summer period is most often marked by dry, warm, sunny and bright weather, while the rain falls only in the case of drowsiness or strong southern wind. In the summer months the most common wind is maestral. The autumn – winter time is quite fresh because it is known to blow the strong bora. Rains are frequent due to exposure to the southern winds. The temperature rarely drops below zero, and snow usually falls once in a decade.


The Adriatic Sea has gravitated its natural position to the Mediterranean, but also to the immediate Dinaric hinterland, from where the first inhabitants of Mljet came from.

Illyrian population in Mljet

The remains of the Illyrian fortresses on the hill above the Great Lake on Mljet

The first inhabitants of Mljet were Illyrians from the tribe of Ardijana, who came to Mljet, 4000 years ago, via the Prapratno peninsula on the Peljesac peninsula. The first contact with Mljet was in the ports of Sobra and Okuklje because they were closest to the Pelješac, but also came into contact with the ports of Polače and Kozarica. When they came to a fully fledged island, they settled slowly along the springs of drinking water and along the edges of the island’s valleys. They lived in small lodges built of drywall, while they covered them with branches of rubble and wrinkle. They were engaged in cattle breeding, mainly by breeding goats and sheep, hunting and fishing. Gradually, they cut the forests, which was primarily the job of the male population, while the female population planted grain on the broken parts. They lived in smaller and larger tribes, who did not communicate with each other because they were overly hostile. Evidence of this is the numerous remains of the so-called. The fortresses that served to defend the enemy tribe or to defend against the common non-heroic enemy. Gradids have never been found near the sea, but all are, without exception, on medium high and easily defensible highs. The way of construction and site selection is almost the same for all found bricks. On the one hand, it is an unbreakable natural barrier, and on the other side, they built walls of several layers of stones, so that more than 100 people could be shelved during the conflict in the fort. On the site of the castle there was always a good view of the surrounding area, most often on the surrounding hills, fields and the sea. Many of the castles were facing the Mljet channel. The Illyrian population was more densely populated in the middle of the island and in the western part (in this area the most remains of fortresses and graves were found, while in the eastern part much less.

Arrival of Greeks and Romans to Mljet

Remains of the Early Christian Basilica in the Poles

Vilino vrelo (Vodice), an inexhaustible source of drinking water near Polača, which when filled, forms a small pool inhabited by frogs

The first historical records of the island of Mljet are related to Greek sailors who, sailing to their colonies on Korcula, Vis and Hvar, must safely pass through the Mljet channel and criss-cross into the mulberry coves during strong southern winds. Except for the unfavorable time, the Greeks were scrabbled in the Sobra and Polača plains due to the springs of potable water that were near the shore. The material evidence of the Greek occupation in Mljet has no reason to conclude that the Greeks Mljet did not live in them, but used it for rest and shelter from bad times. Evidence of this is the underwater Greek amphora sites in today’s ports of Okuklje, Sobra and Polače, which occurred in the midst of falling ships during the stormy weather or during the attacks of the local population. Mljet was under the rule of the Romans in 167 BC. n. When the Archdiocese ruler Genicius fought against Rome and in that war was defeated. At that time, the Romans gained the area to present Albania. The authority of Rome on Mljet was nominal because Illyrians continued to pierce the Mljet Channel. The first concrete information about Mljet is found in the Roman author Apijan, who described the wars of Emperor Augustus with the local population of Mljet. Apian in his work De Rebus Illyricis states that August destroyed the Illyrian city of Melitus in 35 BC. n. E. Due to frequent pirate attacks on Roman ships. By endangering the local population, the Romans in the Polača Bay, during the 3rd century, begin to build an imposing palace in which the Roman administrator of this estate was touted. The palace also had a defensive function, as evidenced by two powerful towers on its sides. Along with the palace, during the time, two early Christian basilicas and spas were built, indicating that in the palace, besides the governor, there was a clergyman’s life, indicating that Polače at that time lived and functioned as a late antique or early medieval town. Creating links, primarily merchants, with the Illyrians, the Romans gradually refined the local population, which was doing physical affairs for the needs of the Roman population. The remains of the piers in the Polača submarine point to the fact that Polača was already a commercial port from which the shipyard exported timber for construction and firewood and imported everything that was needed on Mljet.

The Dubrovnik government on Mljet

Inscription on the Prince’s Palace in Babino Polje

After the adoption of the Military Statute in 1345 and after the liberation of the islanders from the sea, the people of Dubrovnik started to prepare themselves to establish their power in Mljet as soon as possible. The diplomatic route, using numerous creeps, succeeded in overthrowing the local population against the abbey and helping them resolve their feudal lordship. During that struggle, the Drummers received a wealth of help from Dubrovnik, but when they realized they only gained apparent freedom and that their power was growing harder, it was too late for any resistance. The rebellion that the Mezzogiola raised had been quickly suffocated, and then Dubrovnik extended its power to Mljet. On September 9, 1410, the Grand Council issued a ruling on the subjugation of the island of Mljet to the mayor of Sipan and Otok, and on November 15, 1410 the Grand Chamber adopted regulations on Mljet, thus making Mljet definitively become part of the Dubrovnik Republic. It will remain under Dubrovnik until the repulsion of the Republic in 1808

Mljet in the 20th century

Fortress built by the Italians in World War II above Sobra

With the abolition of the Dubrovnik Republic, Mljet becomes part of the Illyrian provinces, and later on Mljet will be ruled by Austria. After the First World War, Mljet is part of the State SHS, the Kingdom of the SHS and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (banovina Hrvatske). During the Second World War, Mljet was occupied by Germans and Italians. The population is happy to accept the newly founded Independent State of Croatia, but immediately disappointed because Mljet, on May 14, 1941, was handed over to fascist Italy along with much of Dalmatia. So, for the first time in history, it was physically separated from its natural environment (the hinterland), because Dubrovnik and Pelješac remained in the NDH. There is gradual Italianization of the population. Italian teachers are brought to the island, and children are taught Italian instead of the Croatian. The first partisan descent is being established, and on 21 April 1944 the first maritime desant was built on Mljet. War on the island ended with the withdrawal of German forces 10/11. August 1944. Mljet was again part of Croatia, initially as the Federal State of Croatia (within Democratic Federation of Yugoslavia), later the People’s Republic of Croatia (FNRJ) and the Socialist Republic of Croatia (SFRY). Since October 8, 1991, based on the expressed wish of the Croatian people on the referendum on the independence of Croatia, Mljet is part of a democratic, independent and sovereign state of Croatia.



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