Velebit mountain is one of the most famous mountain in the Dinarides massif and greatest Croatian mountain. It is 150km long and 10-30km wide. The highest peaks are Vaganski vrh (1757 m/asl ) and Sv. Brdo (1753 m/asl). Due to its specific geographical position where Pannonian, Dinaridian, Mediterranean and Pre-Alpine biogeographic influences intertwine, Croatia is extremely rich in terms of landscape and biological diversity.
Because of it’s value and uniqueness, many parks have been included in the lists of internationally valuable areas. The Nature Park Velebit, whose area includes National Parks Paklenica and Sjeverni Velebit (Northern Velebit), is listed in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO programme “Man and Biosphere” – MAB. The Nature Park Velebit includes the largest part of the Mountain Velebit and valley of the karst river Zrmanja and it is the largest protected area in Croatia.
Velebit’s position, as well as its geologic structure, has resulted in growth of extremely rich and diverse flora and fauna. Velebit is a nesting ground for many different bird species and from mammals we should mention two endangered species in Europe: brown bear and wolf. According to existing data, Velebit is home to 1854 registered plant species, of which 79 are endemic. Such a great number of endemic species is why Velebit is often called “the centre of endemism” of this part of Europe.
Years of settlement and human activity on Mt Velebit have left their marks in architecture, road construction, places of worship and cultural monuments. Today these structures bear witness to the by-gone times, the inhabitants’ traditions and the ways they adapted to harsh life on this rugged, yet secretively beautiful mountain.