Island of Cres: Oldest Oak Tree Medunac, Caves and Griffon Vultures

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Cres | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic
Cres | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic

Cres | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic

September 29, 2020 – If you are looking for a perfect autumn atmosphere, the island of Cres is waiting for you. The oldest oak tree Medunac, caves, and griffon vultures are just a few things that you can expect on your visit to this part of Kvarner Bay.

As writes, one of the attractions of the island of Cres, which is the most interesting in the fall, is the wooded area of Tramuntana, in the northern part of the island of Cres. The area of the Tramuntana forest is almost 5,500 hectares, and it represents an important natural heritage. The vegetation of this area consists of forests of tall oak, hornbeam, and chestnut. The oldest Medunac oak tree was declared a protected natural monument in 1997.

One of the most famous oak Medunac is located in the hamlet of Sveti Petar. Due to its age and appearance and the large cavities in the body, various stories and legends are woven around it that you will probably be able to learn from the locals or at the Visitor Center in Beli. Anyone who has had a chance to see the beauty of this tree before it has been ravaged by several storms in recent decades and has broken most of its branches and top of the canopy is likely to be disappointed with today’s appearance of the tree. However, the tree still looks impressive and will probably withstand future weather and other adversities for a long time.

Experience the magnificent silhouette of a griffon vulture in flight

Watching the flight of griffon vultures in Kvarner is a unique experience. Vultures most often fly in groups, hardly flapping their wings and searching for food for hours, which is very attractive for bird watchers and all visitors to the island. They cross great distances with ease, and their appearance in the air or on one of the island’s cliffs leaves no one indifferent.

Vultures are charismatic birds. Although they may not look attractive at first glance, the fact is that they have shared living space with people over a long history and have become part of folk tales and legends, taking on an important ecological and cultural role in the island space. Their charisma is also proven by the fact that they are considered a symbol of the island of Cres. Anyone who visits Cres and the Kvarner islands must look up at the sky, searching for the magnificent silhouette of a griffon vulture in flight.

Griffon Vulture | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic

The caves are hiding 12,000-year-old skeletons

There are numerous caves and pits on Tramuntana. Some of them are especially important for biospelological, paleontological, and prehistoric studies. Four skeletons of a 12,000-year-old brown cave bear were found in the Campari pit (Baniceva cave), a unique speleological object, near the village of Petricevi. These are the only such complete skeletons in this part of Europe.

Eco trails former roads that connected villages

The first educational eco-trail on the island of Cres that leads through the Tramuntana area takes you through a total of 20 stations marked by stone sculptures by the academic sculptor Ljubo De Karina. The verses of Andro Vid Mihicic, a great poet, patriot, and thinker born in Beli, are engraved on them. A network of instructive eco-trails has been established in the Tramuntana forest area. Along the trails, numerous labyrinths are designed to become a means of re-establishing the communication between Man and the Spirit of Nature.

In Tramuntana, there are a total of 7 pedestrians, the so-called eco trails that pass through the former roads that connected the now-abandoned villages and pastoral apartments on Tramuntana, seven hiking trails, and three bike trails. Experience the wilderness, meet sheep, turtles, griffon vultures. Go around the labyrinths, pass the paths surrounded by walls, and just follow the marked points.

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