Dinara Nature Park – Croatia’s topmost park

Enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the broadness of view

In early February 2012, Dinara has been designated as the twelfth nature park in Croatia. This beautiful mountain serves as a natural border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its peak Sinjal (1831 m) is the highest peak in Croatia. The size of its southwest cliff of several hundred meters amazes and attracts the eye of everyone who finds themselves at its foot, while its beauty is also provided by abundant flowery meadows and forests, which do not give away that this is in fact an area of waterless karst. By gaining the status of nature park, Dinara has obtained optimal protection and harmony between preserving natural resources and performing numerous activities. Dinara Nature Park is extremely significant to Croatia, as well as to all foreign nature lovers who eagerly visit it. The climb on Dinara is an excellent idea for an excursion in the summer. Visitors often go on a two-day excursion, and it is possible to book an overnight stay at one of Dinara’s mountain houses and shelters. Even though most people visit Dinara in the summer, many are eager to enjoy the beauty of Dinara’s landscapes during winter, when it is especially magical due to snow.

This nature park encompasses Dinara, Troglav and Kamešnica, the source region and upper stream of Cetina River, and karst fields alongside Cetina. The park’s territory is marked by a contrast between high-mountain karst area that is scarce with water, featuring often steep and inaccessible cliffs, and spacious mountain pastures and Cetina River, whose stream saw the formation of damp karst fields, fertile and brimming with life. The protection of nature at Dinara Nature Park is based on the preservation of original natural resources, abundant geodiversity, wild species of flora and fauna, endemic species, and the overall diversity of natural habitats. The latter are aquatic habitats of Krka and Cetina rivers with their tributaries and wetland habitats, cliffs and basins, forest and cave habitats, as well as other natural resources resulting from the centuries-long tradition of humans using this area.

The conservation of the area, the diversity of habitats, but also the specific position of Dinara’s karst strip are some of the most important reasons for a high level of biological diversity and endemicity of this area. The high level of endemicity is most evident in the species of cave fauna, many of which are endemic to the Dinaric area. In the immediate proximity of Dinara Nature Park, there lies Peruća Lake, the largest artificial lake and potable water reservoir in Croatia. It was created in the early 1960s for the purposes of HEP’s Peruća hydroelectric power plant, following the construction of the 56-meter dam on Cetina River, which was also the world’s first embankment dam built on karst. Aside from enabling the collection of water for the operation of the hydroelectric plant during the dry season of the year, Peruća Dam and Lake also solved the issue of heavy flooding in Sinj and Hrvace plains during the rainy season.

Peruća hydroelectric plant had successfully performed its function until the Homeland War and September 1991, when it was occupied. Shortly before the end of occupation, in January 1993, it was severely damaged by blasting of the dam. By 1995, the dam was restored and raised by 1.5 m, which increased the accumulation volume and the permitted operating level.

By visiting Dinara and preserving its beauty, by conveying experience and presenting it, the highest mountain in Croatia should definitely be turned into a true symbol, not only due to its supremacy in size, but also due to the beauty of its landscapes and the broadness of view.

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