May 1, 2014

1073 CROATIA (Lika-Senj) - Plitvice Lakes National Park (UNESCO WHS)

Situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in country. It is famous for the 16 lakes arranged in cascades between Mala Kapela Mountain and Pljesevica Mountain, a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow, being separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming travertine barriers which grow at the rate of about 1cm per year.

The system is divided into the upper and lower lakes: the upper lakes lie in a dolomite valley and are surrounded by thick forests and interlinked by numerous waterfalls; the lower lakes, smaller and shallower, lie on the limestone bedrock and are surrounded only by sparse underbrush. The forest can also be classified in terms of underlying strata of dolomite and limestone complexes. The dolomite communities comprise tertiary pine, hornbeam, spruce and beech-fir forests, and the limestone communities cover a larger area with spruce and fern, spruce in beech, coppiced hornbeam with sumac, maple and heather. Hydrophytic communities of black alder, grey ivy, willow, reeds and bulrush communities are found. Scientists have so far listed 1,267 different plants out of 109 species, including 75 endemic.

The area of the national park is home to an extremely wide variety of animal and bird species. Rare fauna such as the European brown bear, wolf, eagle, owl, lynx, wild cat, and capercaillie can be found there, along with many more common species. There are records of 126 species of bird, of which 70 breed. Due to the spreading growth of the vegetation at the barriers, allochthonous (species that don't belong to this ecosystem) fish species spread quickly and thus endanger autochthonous trout species. The area was the cradle of the prehistoric Illyrian tribe of Japuds dating from 1000 BC. The Japudic culture was followed by the Romans and from the 8th century AD was occupied by Slavs. Archaeological remains include a prehistoric settlement on the site of the current Plitvice village, fortifications, Bronze Age tools and ceramics.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Croatian Intangible Cultural Heritage (on UNESCO’s Representative list), designed by Orsat Franković and issued on June 12, 2012:
The Festivity of St. Blaise (1,6 HRK)
The Lace of Hvar (3,1 HRK)
Gingerbread Craft (4,6 HRK) - it's on the postcard
Wooden Children’s Toys (7,1 HRK)

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Wikipedia
Plitvice Lakes National Park - UNESCO official website

sender: Dragan Buškulić (direct swap)
sent from Rijeka (Croatia), on 22.04.2014

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