Dalmatia: the stones of creation in a crystal sea

An ancient legend tells that at the end of the creation to God a sack full of unused stones advanced: he decided then to overturn them all over Dalmatia, thus constellating countless islands with his blue sea. Look out on the eastern shore of the Adriatic and you will discover a long coastal strip that descends from the Gulf of Kvarner to Bebie / Velebit and the Dinaric Alps, down to the Boka Kotors in present-day Montenegro, and then join Albania. Rugged and barren mountain ranges, burnt by the bora wind, which descends from the North East ruthlessly sweeps the slope exposed to its gusts; red bauxite ground and a cobalt blue sea, which fades into emerald green within bays and coves shaded by maritime pines, or glows with turquoise over rare sandy bottoms.
These characters have influenced over the centuries the temperament of the inhabitants, rough sailors and keen singers, like the cicadas that in the summer months are the soundtrack to the landscape. This extended coastal region, whose name Dalmatia Province dates back to the times of Emperor Claudius, over the centuries has undergone territorial fragmentation and geopolitical mutations up to the threshold of the third millennium.
A frontier land of excellence, between the mountain and the sea, as we said, it was a hinge between East and West, between the Mediterranean and the Danube basin, between the Latin alphabet and civilization on one side and the Cyrillic alphabet and the Slavic world from the another, appeared on the scene of history later, after the fall of the Roman Empire; as a consequence it was a region destined to raids, invasions, cupidigies and dominations of various populations up to the conflict that in the nineties of the last century determined the break-up of the Yugoslav Republic, the cartographic and political fragmentation between Croatia and Montenegro: unchanged is from Losinj down to Kotor the geomorphological continuum of a land mottled with lights, color hues, smells and tastes.
Overlooking the coast, sinuous and jagged, there is a complex of islands, islets and rocks, with the same geological, morphological, faunal and vegetal characteristics, scented with sage, rosemary, juniper, wild fennel, lavender. Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor stand proudly Roman and/or Venetian in their architectural, urban, cultural facies and look at the horizon the thousand islands (but maybe two thousand!) grouped in archipelagos or solitary as sleepy and marine animals lying on the water. South of Cres and Krk, Losinj, the southernmost of the Kvarner Bay, with a microclimate that makes it an almost tropical habitat, gives way to Rab, to Pag, to the Island Dugi Otoke, still to the large islands facing Spit: Brač, Hvar, Vis, Korčula. Between Zadar and Šibenik, the fascinating archipelago of Kornati shows off the striking contrast between the whiteness of the sharp rocks of its islands, and the stones that plunge into the cobalt sea when it is whipped by the Mistral. But all the winds come out of the wineskin of Eolo in this wild land, from the damp and restless Sirocco, harbinger of rains and lightning storms, to the aforementioned Bora which descends from the Velebit mountains and quarrelsome, irascible, implacable, blowing from the ground towards the wide, crisps and boils the waves, until they are reduced to water dust. Because this wind that dominates the spaces can be modulated in various shades, that the Venetian dialect, never forgotten in a land so long Venetian, places in a scale of values ​​ranging from borìn to borignolo to bora to boròn to ‘uragan de bora. A seafarers’ paradise, albeit full of risks, this marine world offers its blue sea to sail, its inlets to find shelter from the winds of any direction, the pristine skies. Who has its roots there, who is bound by ancestral factors, who discovers it as a tourist, troubled by the dominant power of nature, loves it.

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