Brijuni National Park (NP) consists of 14 islands, islets and rocks located along the western coast of Istria, not far from the city of Pula. Today's boundaries of Brijuni National Park include the islands, the surrounding sea and the underwater, making the total area of the national park 33.95 km2. The Park was named after the largest islands within the archipelago, Veliki and Mali Brijun.
Brijuni National Park is one of eight national parks in the Republic of Croatia. It is designated as one of the most biologically valuable marine areas in Croatia. In addition to biological characteristics, Brijuni also has unique cultural-historical and geological-paleontological values.
Participants of the excursion will have the opportunity to visit the island of Veliki Brijun. After a one-hour ride on the visitor train, during which they will see numerous natural and cultural-historical sights, they will continue their tour with expert guidance. They will learn about the challenges and solutions related to the supply and use of water on the island and about the management of the marine part of the protected area. Information will be given about the results of numerous projects and activities that adapt this protected area to the impact of climate change.
There are also several wetland habitats on Veliki Brijun. The largest such area, called Saline, has great importance for the overall flora and fauna. As a source of water, they are a necessary habitat for organisms, which spend part of their lives next to water bodies, such as dragonflies, bats, and especially wetland birds.
1. "Living water" - the memorial to spring water
The memorial well (the so-called glass pyramid) and Kršinić's sculpture, also known as the Water Bearer or Primorka, are part of the memorial to an exceptional technical achievement - the pumping of spring water on the island. Namely, in the period from 1951 to 1953, hydrogeological research was carried out on the island, during which spring water was also found in the meadow with the significant name "Living water". This exceptional technical achievement of the use of groundwater, from a depth of 251 meters, is highlighted on the memorial stone, which, along with the sculpture, cistern and memorial well, forms an integral part of this landmark.
Source: NP Brijuni, author: Augustin Ravnić
2. Saline wetland habitat
In the deep southern bay of the island of Veliki Brijun, behind Cape Gromača, there is the Saline wetland. It consists of three ponds on an area of about 12 ha. In order to preserve the habitat and not disturb the birds, access to the Saline wetland is limited for visitors. The entire list of birds recorded on Brijuni includes more than 160 species, which makes this archipelago a suitable location for birds. Saline habitat is the key reason why so many birds stay or rest here during their migration routes.
Source: NP Brijuni, author: Marko Vrdoljak
3. Javorika Bay – zone of strict protection
Javorika Bay is located in the vicinity of the Saline habitat. The bay is of great importance in preserving the biological diversity of the sea, it is an important fish hatchery and a habitat rich in fish spawn. In recent years, it has proved to be extremely important in the effort to preserve the largest Mediterranean seashell – the noble Pen Shell, because collectors for the spawn of this extremely endangered seashell have been installed in it.
Source: NP Brijuni
4. Brijuni Mediterranean Garden - demonstration area where water from a well is used
The Brijuni Mediterranean Garden, with an area of 1.7 ha, is located in the area of a former forest nursery, which was once used for the purposes of cultivation and restoring forests throughout the islands, and partly for scientific research. Nowadays, the Garden is a horticultural attraction, intended to educate visitors about various types of plants, as well as pollinators, as one of the most endangered groups of living beings on Earth. The entire surface of the Garden is irrigated with water supplied from one of Brijuni's wells.
Source: NP Brijuni
EXCURSION A2 (13th April 2024)
Water supply of southern Istria; Waste water treatment plant of the city of Rovinj; ornithological reserve Palud
Excursion guides: Bojana Hajduk Černeha, Dražen Vouk, Domagoj Nakić
1. Spring Nimfej - Karolina in the city center of Pula
The source of drinking water right by the seacoast, which in Roman times was called Nymphaeum (Nymphaeum - dedicated to nymphs) was key to the founding of the city of Pula. In the Middle Ages, it was known as Fons Polae and Fontana, and it was named Karolina after the wife of the Austrian emperor Francis I, after whose visit to Pula in 1833, a building with a catchment and two steam pumps was built around the spring. Historically, it is one of the most significant traces of the continuity of life in Pula from prehistory to the present day. In addition to its social significance, it is also important as a biological location where the existence of the Proteus anguinus has been documented.
2. Rakonek spring in the Rasa river valley
Rakonek spring is located on the right edge of the southern part of the Raša river valley, about 7.5 km upstream from its inflow into the Raški bay. Rakonek is a typical karst spring that appears on the edge of the Quaternary sediments near the contact with the carbonate deposits. In its natural state, it had the form of a pond with a diameter of 22 m, over which a water pumping station was built. The springwas captured in 1960, with the construction of a water conditioning plant, a pressure and gravity main pipeline with a length of about 29 km. The yield of the spring is 250 l/s, and it is particularly interesting that it also supplies water to the Brijuni Islands.
Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) Cuvi, city of Rovinj
The newly built Cuvi wastewater treatment plant in Rovinj, with a capacity of 63,000 PE, began trial operation in December 2022. The plant operates with III. degree of treatment, which, in addition to mechanical, also includes biological treatment of wastewater, using activated sludge with nitrogen and phosphorus removal, and separation of purified water from excess sludge by the process of membrane filtration. After ultrafiltration, part of the purified water is used as technological water in the process, the other part, after UV disinfection, is reused for the irrigation of football fields and tourist camps, and only the excess effluent is discharged through a submarine outlet. Excess sludge is solar dried at the Lokva Vidotto location. The construction of a photovoltaic power plant on the roof of WWTP objects is also being prepared, which would provide 1/3 of the total required electricity.
4. Ornithological reserve Palud - PALÙ
The Palud - Palù area is located in the area of the city of Rovinj, in the immediate vicinity of the sea, and has an area of about 227 ha. It is a natural phenomenon of a brackish swamp with interesting vegetation, among which several rare plant species stand out. Pedological, microclimatic, hydrological and other factors determine high biodiversity, so the area is distinguished by the diversity and richness of ornitofauna, especially waterfowl during nesting, wintering and migratory movements. In 2001, the area was declared a special ornithological reserve. In recent years, increased salinization has been observed, and extensive works have been carried out to clean the canal systems for the supply of fresh water to the swamp itself.
As part of the technical tour, there is time for a short walk through the old town of Rovinj, as well as a tasting of local products.