Area: 98.01 km2(38 mi2)
Info: (020) 744 041
Island of Mljet or Meleda in Italian is a island paradise
located in the South Croatia. Its seclusion and natural beauty
makes Mljet a favorite tourist destination. Much of Mljet island
is covered by pristine untouched forests. The rest is doted by
few picturesque fisherman villages and vineyards. Mild
Mediterranean climate make Mljet island paradise perfect for
growing red vines and olive trees. Goats are also fairly
commonly encountered. They are not aggressive unless provoked.
And local make greet goat cheese that they will be happy to sell
to you for a descent price. If they really like you, they might
give it to you for free.
Mljet National Park that was established in the Western part of Mljet island protects area around two saltwater lakes, Veliko Jezero (Large Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake). Both lakes are popular for swimming, kayaking and diving. Their salt water creates certain degree of buoyancy without big waves or any other dangers. Veliko Jezero is also famous for its old Benedictine monastery of Saint Mary. South part of the Mljet Island is also famous for its marvellous beach of Saplunara. Ferries from Dubrovnik and Peljesac Peninsula will get you to one of the most beautiful islands of Croatia.
Mljet is located in the Dubrovnik archipelago and is its largest island. Its area is 100.4 km2. It is elongated because it is 37 kilometers long and only 3 kilometers wide. It is separated from the Pelješac peninsula by the Mljet Channel. It stretches in the direction northwest - southeast. It is considered the most forested island in the Adriatic, more than 70% of the area is covered by forests, and within the national park the coverage exceeds 90%, which is why it is nicknamed the greenest island in Croatia.
Monastery of Saint Mary is a Benedictine monastery located on an island in the middle of the Veliko Jezero or Great Lake. The islet of Sveta Marija is located in the southern part of Mljet's Great Lake. Its size is 120 m x 200 m. Remains of a Roman building have been found on it, but it is by far the most famous for its 12th-century Benedictine monastery.
Benedictine monks settled here in 1151. The arrival of the Benedictines from Apulia caused dissatisfaction among the local Benedictines (the Benedictine monastery on Lokrum was built in 1203), so the right to the island was given to the Italian Benedictines by the Zahumski prefect Desin (in some sources the Zahumski prince Desa). The Benedictines first built a monastery on the island, and then (at the end of the 12th century) a church. The Romanesque monastery was rebuilt several times. Today's building is a two-storey Renaissance building bordered on two sides by a courtyard, and the main tract, towards the courtyard, has an arcaded corridor. A defensive tower was built on the southeast corner, so all the buildings, including the church, form a defensive unit. The monastery was abandoned in 1869 and the event is associated with the legend that the Benedictines cursed the population of the island by doing everything in reverse order. In the prayer procession they went counterclockwise, and when the candles were lit, they would turn them upside down. Many famous scientists and artists stayed in the monastery as monks. The most famous inhabitants of the Mljet monastery were the Dubrovnik poets Mavro Vetranović and Ignjat Đurđević and one of the most famous Byzantine scholars of his time, Anselmo Banduri. Church of St. St. Mary's within the monastery is a single-nave Romanesque (Apulian) building erected on the model of the one that the Benedictines had in Monte Gargano. The church was rebuilt and expanded in the 16th century, when the coat of arms of Gundulić was placed on the porch.
Both lakes on the Mljet Island were originally freshwater. However a channel was dug to the south shores of the island. This ultimately changed salt concentration of both lakes: Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero. Human interactions with local fauna did not end here. Mongoose intentionally introduced to Mljet island wiped out all of snake population as well as many of the native species of birds.
The Roman Palace in Polače is the name for the fortification
unit, which consists of an ancient palace, baths, two early
Christian basilicas, an arsenal, a warehouse for galleys and the
remains of piers (today located under the sea), and is located in
Polače, in the bay of the same name. on the island of Mljet.
Throughout the port of Polača, sheltered from strong winds, there
are the remains of columns to which Roman galleys were tied. The
port is protected by four islets (Moračnik, Tajnik, Ovrata,
Kobrava), has a source of drinking water which also determined the
location of the palace. In the 5th century, this Roman estate
provided 500 solidi of annual income. The basis of the economy was
the production of salt, wine, olive oil, honey, meat and cheese of
sheep and goats, dried and salted fish. As traces of the settlement
were not found in the bay of Polača, it is assumed that Roman
galleys spent the winter there and that so many church buildings
were needed. The Palace on Mljet is the third best preserved and
largest Roman monument on the Croatian Adriatic coast, right after
Diocletian's Palace in Split and the Arena in Pula.
The arrival of the Greeks and Romans on Mljet
The oldest historical records about the island of Mljet date from the 4th century BC. n. e. and are tied to Greek sailors who sailed towards their colonies on the islands of Korcula, Vis and Hvar, and passed through today's Mljet Channel. Sailing along Mljet, they stayed in places along the coast where there were sources of drinking water, which undoubtedly means that they went into the bay of Polače, where they took refuge during strong south winds because the bay is protected from the wind on all sides. There are no material remains on the mainland of the island of Mljet, which would testify to the stay of the Greeks, but that is why the seabed is rich in amphorae, which undoubtedly proves their stay. The first concrete data on the settlement of the island are given by the Roman writer Appian in his work Roman Civil Wars, describing the wars of Emperor Augustus against the Illyrians on Mljet and Korčula. Appian states that Augustus then destroyed the city of Melitus, although historians to this day have not agreed on where exactly that city would be located. Most historians agree that it was not actually a city, but a larger Illyrian settlement built of dry stone walls and that the city is located in the port of Polače, which has the most suitable conditions for the development of a larger settlement, because it is deep inland and thus protected from winds. has a source of drinking water, and the surrounding land is suitable for the development of livestock and farming.
Creating a settlement in Polače
With the destruction of Melitus, the Roman emperor Augustus probably occupied only the western part of the island of Mljet, because he did not have enough soldiers to comb the whole island, which was then covered with impassable forests. After capturing the island, an imperial estate was gradually created in Polače Bay. The Illyrians left Polač for the east of the island, and over time trade ties were formed between them and they got to know each other and mixed, which resulted in the complete Romanization of the Illyrian population. This is supported by numerous sites where Roman traces were found, for example in Pomena, where the remains of embers were found, in Ivanje polje in the middle of the island, as well as in Koriti, where Roman money was found.
According to legend, the palace was built by Agezilaj of Anazarb in Calikia, following the example of Roman hamlets from the time of the Empire. Agezilaj took refuge on Mljet together with his son, the poet Opian, after the Roman emperor, Septimius Severus, expelled him from the court. Legend further says that the emperor Caracalla freed them from captivity after the poet composed inspired verses about the beauty of the sea and fishing in his two didactic epics Kuvnyetika and Alieutika. Opian and his father refused to return to Rome, justifying that they would never trade their small empire for a large one, and in doing so sent the emperor a branch of an Aleppo pine with a bird's nest in which was a shell. Even today it is not known exactly when the palace was built, but there is no doubt that the first estate was built by Augustus, after he captured Mljet. Over time, a palace was built in which the Roman governor for the area of Mljet sat. The palace was built to protect its strategic interests: the bay was safe from the wind, the source of drinking water was not even fifty meters from the sea. The palace is one of the most significant monuments of the Roman period, and is one of the most monumental monuments on our Adriatic coast.
The age of the palace
There are differences among scholars and historians as to the age of the Roman palace.
F. Bulić believes that it dates from the 2nd century, based on two fragments found in the palace.
Š. Karaman, comparing Mljet with the Diocletian's Palace, classifies the former in the Late Roman phase and the latter in the Middle Roman Empire, judging by the massive and unbroken upper part of the Mljet Palace and the openings for doors and windows, which were drilled on the ground floor. He also supports his claim with his view of the mosaics in Susa in Africa from the 2nd century, where matches can be seen in the facade of the palace and the two octagonal towers.
K. A friend believes that the palace in Polače was built under the influence of the somewhat older Diocletian's Palace. The main argument is considered to be the coincidence of the two palaces in the main lines, so it is believed that the palace was built in the late third or early 4th century.
E. Dyggve believes that the palace was built in the 5th century, and he concludes this by the type of construction and by the technique used to build the palace. Likewise, Dyggve compares the palace at Polače with the palaces at Ravenna and at Piazza Armerino, which were built in the 4th and 6th centuries, respectively.
C. Fisković believes that the palace should be viewed from a wider spectrum. Cvito Fisković believes that the palace was built during the invasion of the Avars and Slavs in the area of Ragusa, when the inhabitants of Ragusa and Narona fled to Mljet. Also, Fisković believes that the palace was never fully built.
Early Christian basilicas
The remains of two sacral buildings have been preserved next to the palace, of which the largest and best preserved is the early Christian basilica, which is located southwest of the palace at a distance of about 70 meters. The basilica was upgraded and expanded three times in separate time periods. The first layer belongs to the oldest type of early Christian building in our coastal area, and dates back to the 5th century. The second layer was built between the 6th and 9th centuries, while the third layer already belongs to the period of folk Romanesque from the 12th century. During the excavations, archeologically valuable material was found in the basilica: a seat for a priest with a chair for a bishop and a baptistery. A tomb, completely vaulted inside and a human skeleton, at least 1,500 years old, was also discovered. Along with the skeleton, many ritual vessels, an altar marble canteen and the remains of various ceramics were also found. Also, a stone slab with the following was found.
|PRO SALUTE P. C
LIBERO [ANIMO] [E]T
|FOR SALVATION (FOR HEALTH) P.C.
BALBINIANA TO YOUR TEMPLE
IT IS EXTENDED BY THE PORCH
SUPREME MANAGER OF THE PROPERTY
FREE [WILL] I
The remains of the baths were discovered in 1980 and are located about 20 meters from the main wall of the palace. This, an authentic Roman bath, is located 0.5 meters underground, and in its immediate vicinity are the remains of a storage room for galleys. Among the found remains of the bathing place, the most significant object is the rounded mosaic of the crane bird and it is a symbol of the Eastern Goths. These baths were luxuriously equipped, and were located by the sea and the ravine, which, during the rain, flows abundant water. The wall of these baths is 1.5 meters high and 4 meters long. The swimming pool has not been fully explored because the mosaic is destroyed very quickly when in contact with air.
Life in the palace
The palace in Polače was of imposing size and was inhabited by the stewards of this imperial estate, together with their courtiers and numerous servants, the lower and higher clergy and the people who lived in the near and far vicinity of the palace, in small and inconspicuous houses. trace. The ruling class belonged to the Roman-Romanesque population, and the Romanized Illyrians served as the main physical force for the extraction and transfer of stone for the construction of palaces and basilicas. The culmination of the prosperity of the island of Mljet in the 5th and 6th centuries is proved by the grant of Odoacer from March 18, 489, by which he donates his coming domesticorum Pierius to the estates near Syracuse and on Mljet, with the estate on Mljet estimated at 200 solidi per year. at the time it was big money. Such large incomes were brought by agriculture, developed agriculture, exploitation of forests, firewood and construction, and trade that went through the port of Polače, where ships came from all over the Empire and went to all major ports of the Empire.
Roman palace in modern history
With the immigration of the first inhabitants from Babino Polje to Polače, members of the Nodilo and Dabelić families came across well-preserved parts of the palace along which they began to build their houses, abundantly using the proper stones of nearby early Christian basilicas. stop only when the church is built in the settlement) and the main wall of the palace. In certain parts of the palace they build magazines for storing fishing tools and nets, while in other parts they build stables for domestic animals. Today it is a very interesting architectural complex. Unfortunately, two culturicides were made to the palaces in the second half of the 20th century. The first is related to the breakthrough of the island road and the construction of the port in Polače, when a good part of the excavations of the palace were simply covered with asphalt, and the second culturicide occurred when, due to truck drivers' recklessness, a crane hit the tower arch and knocked down part of the wall. Soon after, that damage was repaired. A good part of the palace is still unexplored today, mainly because the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia does not allow any work on the palace, so the Mljet National Park Administration is practically handcuffed. It is interesting that during the SFRY there was an idea to move the population of the old part of Polac to a newer part and to demolish the houses in order to completely reconstruct the palace in which the museum of the island of Mljet would be located. A large amount of money was raised for the project, but the idea was abandoned in 1979, when all the money for the reconstruction of the palace was diverted to rebuild Dubrovnik and Kotor, which were badly damaged in the earthquake. Recently, there has been a tendency for the larger basilica to be completely reconstructed in order to build a new church on the foundations of the old one.
The large lake on the island of Mljet (actually, the bay that is
connected to the open sea near Solin) was created by immersing a
karst field. The Great Lake has an area of 1.45 km², its largest
length is 2.5 km and width is 1 km. The greatest depth of the Great
Lake is 46 meters. The Great Lake connects with the open sea by a
long and wide channel, at a place called the Great Bridge, and from
that place it expands into the Solin Channel and then connects with
the open sea. The Great Bridge before 1960 was shallower and
narrower than it is today, resulting in the creation of a strong sea
current, which changed every six hours. During high tide or low
tide, currents either entered or exited the lake. At this place the
Benedictines built a mill, which was powered by electricity, and was
used for the production of salt (the place of Soline, in the
immediate vicinity, after which it was named). The big bridge was
demolished in 1958 so that the president of the SFRY, Josip Broz
Tito, could enter the lake with his yacht.
On the south side of the lake is the islet of St. Mary. Its size is 120 m x 200 m. Remains of a Roman building have been found on it, but it is by far best known for a Benedictine monastery built when the Benedictines came to the island in the 12th century. Veliko and Malo jezero are a natural phenomenon of the Mljet National Park and also the most visited place on Mljet.
The small lake is located on the island of Mljet, northwest of the Great Lake and is connected to it by a canal 30 meters long and up to 0.5 meters deep, through which also, depending on the tides, a strong sea current flows. The canal is located in a place called the Little Bridge. The surface of the lake is 0.25 km2, and its greatest depth is 29 meters. The sea in Little Lake alternates little, so it has the property of a lagoon. Veliko and Malo jezero are a natural phenomenon of the Mljet National Park and also the most visited place on Mljet.
Sandy beaches and wild pine forests in the area of Saplunara
Remains of the Church of St. Paul from early Christian days.
The cliff of St. Paul
Tower for the supervision of navigation through the Mljet Channel in Korita and in Prožura
Rector's Palace in Babino Polje
Church of St. Blaise in Babino Polje
Monument to fallen fighters from the National Liberation War in Babino Polje
Blatine, small lakes with brackish water in Prožura, Sobra, Blato and Kozarica
Early Christian basilicas and the remains of a spa with a mosaic of cranes in the settlement of Polače
The remains of an Illyrian fort on a hill above the Great Lake
A monument to the first landing on the southern Adriatic in World War II, on the Great Lakes
Geomorphological site Zakamenica
Mljet is located within an isobath of 100 meters, which shows that it was once an integral part of the neighboring mainland, as well as all Croatian islands. The relief of the island has a fragmented and very dynamic appearance. The highest peak of the island is Veliki grad (514 m), while at the same time many peaks exceed 300 meters. Along the island there are many karst valleys (fields) and about a hundred smaller valleys. There are several islets and reefs around Mljet.
The lithological composition of Mljet is quite simple. The island hull is built of limestone and dolomite of Mesozoic age. Some experts claim that there are areas with volcanic rocks on Mljet. The geologically oldest parts of the island, the Upper Jurassic deposits, are located in a relatively narrow zone in the central part of the southern coast. Slopes with a slope greater than 55 degrees, steep, located on the southwest coast of the island. They are almost vertical and exposed to the open sea and large waves that shape them with abrasive action. Steep slopes are most often indicators of the deep sea right next to the shore, so some steep slopes end only at a depth of 80 m. At the bottom of the Little Lake there are two deep pits that extend to a depth of 38 and 50 m. As a typical karst island, Mljet is rich in caves and pits, of which the 77 m deep pit on Brekalci stands out. In the Jarač pit on the pontoon of Graz near Polač, there are rare travertine stalactites, characterized by the fact that they grow by calcifying the plants that live on them. These stalactites were first recorded in Croatia in 2007 in the Galičnjak cave in the southeastern part of the island. In addition to land, there are numerous sea caves and pits.
The coast of Mljet is very indented, while the northwestern shores (Veliko and Malo jezero, the bays of Lastovska and Pomena and the bay of Polače) and the southeastern coast (Saplunara) stand out.
Mljet belongs to the Mediterranean climate area, so the summers are dry and long, while the winters are rainy and mild. The spring-summer period is most often marked by dry, warm, sunny and clear weather, while rain falls only in case of storms or strong south wind. In the summer months, the most common wind is the mistral. Autumn-winter weather is quite fresh because a strong bora can blow. Rains are frequent due to exposure to southerly winds. Temperatures rarely drop below zero, and snow typically falls once a decade.
The islands of the Adriatic Sea, due to their natural position,
have always gravitated to the Mediterranean, but also to the
immediate Dinaric hinterland, where the first inhabitants of Mljet
Illyrian population on Mljet
The first inhabitants of Mljet were the Illyrians from the Ardije tribe, who came to Mljet 4000 years ago via the port of Prapratno on the Pelješac peninsula. They had their first contact with Mljet in the ports of Sobra and Okuklje, because they were closest to Pelješac, but they also came into contact with the ports of Polače and Kozarica. Arriving on a completely forested island, they slowly settled along the sources of drinking water and along the edges of the island valleys. They lived in small dwellings built of dry stone walls, while they were covered with branches of macchia and pine. They were engaged in animal husbandry, mainly goat and sheep breeding, hunting and fishing. They gradually cleared the forests, which was primarily the job of the male population, while the female population planted grain in the cleared areas. They lived in smaller and larger tribes, who did not communicate with each other because they were overly hostile. Proof of this are the numerous remains of the so-called forts, which served to defend against an enemy tribe or to defend against a common non-German enemy. The forts have never been found near the sea, but are all, without exception, on medium-high and easily defensible hills. The method of construction and selection of sites is almost identical for all found forts. On the one hand, there is an impassable natural barrier, and on the other hand, they built walls of several layers of stone, so that during the conflict, more than 100 people could take refuge in the forts. At the site of the hillfort there was always a good view of the surroundings, most often of the surrounding hills, fields and the sea. Many forts were facing the Mljet Channel. The Illyrian population was more densely populated in the middle of the island and in the western part (in this area most remains of forts and graves were found, while in the eastern part there are much fewer.
The arrival of the Greeks and Romans on Mljet
The first historical records about the island of Mljet are
related to Greek sailors, who, sailing towards their colonies on
Korčula, Vis and Hvar, safely passed through the Mljet channel and
took refuge in the Mljet bays during strong southern winds. Except
during inclement weather, the Greeks took refuge in the bays of
Sobra and Polača due to sources of drinking water, which were near
the sea coast. There is no material evidence of the Greeks living on
Mljet, so it can be concluded that the Greeks did not even inhabit
Mljet, but used it for rest and as a shelter from bad weather. Proof
of this are the underwater sites of Greek amphorae in today's ports
of Okuklje, Sobra and Polača, which were created in the middle of
shipwrecks in bad weather or during pirate attacks by the local
population. Mljet came under Roman rule in 167 BC. when the Ardian
ruler of Gentia went to war against Rome and was defeated in that
war. At that time, the Romans conquered the area up to present-day
Albania. Roman rule on Mljet was nominal because the Illyrians
continued to pirate through the Mljet Channel. The first concrete
information about Mljet can be found in the Roman writer Appian, who
described the wars of Emperor Augustus with the local population on
Mljet. Appian in his work De rebus Illyricis states that Augustus
destroyed the Illyrian city of Melitus in 35 BC. due to frequent
pirate attacks on Roman ships. By subjugating the local population,
the Romans in the Gulf of Polača, during the 3rd century, began to
build an imposing palace in which the Roman governor of this estate
sat. The palace also had a defensive function, as evidenced by two
strong towers at its ends. Along with the palace, over time, two
early Christian basilicas and baths were built, which indicates that
in the palace, in addition to the governor, lived the clergy and,
which indicates that Polače at that time lived and functioned as a
late antique or early medieval city. By creating ties, primarily
trade, with the Illyrians, the Romans gradually completely Romanized
the local population, who did manual labor for the needs of the
Roman population. The remains of the piers in the seabed of Polače
indicate that Polače was already a trading port from which the ships
exported wood for construction and firewood, and imported everything
that was needed on Mljet at that time.
Mljet under the rule of Neretva Pagania
After the division of
the Roman Empire into East and West, Mljet belonged to the
Western Roman Empire and remained part of it until its final
fall, after which, in 493, it fell under the rule of the Eastern
Goths. After Justinian's campaign in 535 against the Eastern
Goths, Mljet, together with the whole of Dalmatia, belonged to
the Eastern Roman Empire. Throughout all this time, Mljet
remained inhabited, especially its western part, primarily
thanks to the Roman palace in Polače, which still provided the
possibility of good living and safe shelter. With the
immigration of Slavs to Dalmatia, the Romanesque Christian
population found themselves on Mljet, as evidenced by the
basilicas in the immediate vicinity of the palace in Polače. The
arrival of Slavs and Avars in these areas brings a historical
turning point mainly because they destroyed all Roman city
strongholds and thus officially ends the Roman rule, which
lasted more than 800 years in this area. At that time, the
entire Roman population fled from the mainland to the islands,
so Mljet received emigrants from Narona, Ragusium and smaller
Roman towns from Pelješac and Korčula. According to Constantine
Porphyrogenitus, at that time the Sclavinia were formed, which
were called: Duklja, Travunija, Paganija (the area from the
Cetina to the Neretva), Croatia and Serbia. Mljet fell under the
rule of Neretva Pagania during the 7th and 8th centuries. With
the coming to power of Michael II. Stuttering, the power in
Byzantium begins to weaken, which the Neretvans use to settle
Mljet. Emperor K. Porphyrogenitus, in his work De administrando
imperio, wrote that Mljet, Korčula, Hvar and Brač are under the
rule of the Neretvans, who live there, keep cattle and live from
it. The Neretvans come to Mljet via Pelješac, just like the
Illyrians, and build their settlement (the first Slavic
settlement on Mljet) above the present-day settlement of
Maranovići and call it Vrhmljeće (later it will descend to
Okuklje, which until then served as a fishing port, which will
result in the complete extinction of the old queen in Vrhmljeć).
They are engaged in farming and animal husbandry, and in slow
migrations they inhabit a large fertile field in the middle of
the island. Babino Polje, the second Slavic town on the island,
would later emerge from this settlement, while Blato, also
inhabited due to its extremely fertile soil, would become the
third. The fourth place will be Žare, in the far east of the
island, from which the population will later move to the
settlement of Korita, completely invisible from the sea and
therefore very safe for life. The Slavs inhabited the eastern
part of the island, where the influence of the Roman population
from Polač weakened, which held the area up to Crna Klada (the
area of today's Mljet National Park) and which held power in
the western part of the island until the 11th century, slowing
down Slavic settlement. The Roman population clashed with the
Neretvans at the end of the 10th century. The Neretvans won the
battle, which resulted in the complete emigration of the
non-Slavic population. Polače, as a continuously inhabited area
since the 1st century, is slowly dying out and a new settlement
will not spring up in that area for a full seven centuries.
The rule of Zahumlje, Duklja and Raška
Shortly after the victory in the fight against the Roman population and the expulsion of the same from the island, the Neretva region fell apart. Part of its territory belonged to the medieval state of Croatia, while the islands of Korčula and Mljet belonged to Zahumlje, which was ruled by Prince Ljutovit and will remain in his possession until the middle of the 12th century. During his reign, Ljutovit donated to the Benedictine abbot Peter the church of St. Pankracija in Babino Polje and threatened all the inhabitants of the island and its surroundings that they must not in any way disturb or interfere with the Benedictines in their possession of the church and the land. At that time, Ljutovit enjoyed the support of the Byzantine government, but when the Serbian prince Vojislav defeated the Byzantine army, he automatically defeated Ljutovit as well. Zahumlje lost the independence it had during the Byzantine period and, together with Mljet, fell under Duklja. Mljet remained under Duklja during the time of Vojislav's successor Mihajlo (1050 - 1082), as evidenced by the votive church of St. Mihajlo in today's Sutmiholjska bay, where a pre-Romanesque plait was found. Travunija and Raška then came under the rule of Duklja, and with the coming to power of the Raska prince Desa, Mljet came under the rule of Raška. During this period, significant events took place on Mljet that will significantly affect its further cultural and economic history.
Benedictine rule on Mljet
The Benedictine monastery on Lokrum, in the middle of the 11th
century, took under its rule the Benedictine estate which Prince
Ljutovit gave to Abbot Peter in permanent ownership. The Lokrum
Benedictines owned this estate for 200 years and it was considered
to be the most valuable estate on the island because of the very
fertile and arable land it owned. Due to the contributions that the
Lokrum Benedictines received from Mljet, they did not want to give
up that property, which caused problems when three Benedictines of
the Pulse order from Apulia came to the island. The Benedictines
Marin, Šimun and Vilim came to the island from Monte Gargano in
Italy and had their first contact with Mljet in the bay of
Sutmiholjska where the Benedictines had their property. Since no
remains of any priestly court were ever found, it is assumed that
immediately upon arrival they began to look for a place to live and
found it on a small island in a lake in the western part of the
island. This part of the island was ideal for the Benedictines
because the area was almost uninhabited, and sources of drinking
water and fertile fields were at their fingertips. In the conflict
over the property in Babino Polje, they emerged victorious because
they got the property. The church was built in a very short time
because Pope Innocent III. in his bull of 1198 he also mentions the
monastery of St. Mary as his possession. In a very short time, they
built a monastery next to the church, and with the document of the
Serbian king Stefan the First-Crowned, the estates in Babino Polje
became the property of the monastery of St. Marija, and at the same
time the monastery became the vassal lord of the whole of Mljet, and
in a very short time they established their feudal rule on the whole
island. The Benedictines produced all the food themselves with their
own work, and they showed the local population how to grow a
particular crop, which greatly improved agriculture on the island.
Except for the economy, the Benedictines played a major role in the
development of literacy. It is believed that the library of the
monastery on Mljet belonged to the ten largest Benedictine abbeys in
all of Dalmatia. Over time, the Benedictines became both
ecclesiastical and civil authority on the island. By a special
document issued in Dubrovnik on September 24, 1345, the monastery
freed all the islanders from all contributions and services to the
abbey, but with an annual income of 300 perpers and one hen per
family. The strength and importance of the Mljet monastery is also
shown by the fact that all Benedictine monasteries in Dalmatia,
except the one on Lokrum, were subject to the monastery on Mljet.
Dubrovnik government on Mljet
After the adoption of the Mljet Statute in 1345 and after the liberation of the islanders from serfdom, the people of Dubrovnik slowly began to prepare to establish their rule on Mljet as soon as possible. Diplomatically, using numerous tricks, they managed to rebel the local population against the abbey and help them get rid of its feudal lordship. During that struggle, the Venetians received rich help from Dubrovnik, but when they realized that they were gaining only apparent freedom and that their power was being tightened more and more, it was too late for any resistance. The revolt raised by the people of Mljet was quickly quelled, and then Dubrovnik extended its power to Mljet. On September 9, 1410, the Grand Council passed a conclusion on the subordination of the island of Mljet to the prince of Šipan and Otok, and on November 15, 1410, the Grand Council passed regulations on Mljet, making Mljet definitely part of the Dubrovnik Republic. Mljet will remain under Dubrovnik until the abolition of the Republic in 1808.
Mljet in the 20th century
With the abolition of the Republic of Dubrovnik, Mljet became part of the Illyrian provinces, and later Mljet was ruled by Austria. After the First World War, Mljet was part of the State of SHS, the Kingdom of SHS and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Banovina of Croatia). During the Second World War, Mljet was occupied by Germans and Italians. The population gladly accepts the newly established Independent State of Croatia, but is immediately disappointed because Mljet, on May 14, 1941, was handed over to fascist Italy together with a large part of Dalmatia. Thus, for the first time in history, it was physically separated from its natural environment (hinterland), because Dubrovnik and Pelješac remained part of the NDH. The gradual Italianization of the population begins. Italian teachers are brought to the island, and the children learn Italian instead of Croatian. The first partisan detachments began to be formed, and on April 21, 1944, the first naval landing on Mljet was carried out. The war on the island ended with the withdrawal of German forces on 10/11. August 1944.. Mljet is again part of Croatia, initially as the Federal State of Croatia (within the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia), later the People's Republic of Croatia (FPRY) and the Socialist Republic of Croatia (SFRY). Since October 8, 1991, based on the expressed desire of the Croatian people in the referendum on the independence of Croatia, Mljet has been part of the democratic, independent and sovereign state of Croatia.
Flora and fauna
Mljet is rich in vegetation, and over 70% of the island's surface is covered with forest, which is divided into two large groups: the Aleppo pine forest and the evergreen deciduous oak forest. In addition to these two types of forest, there are also maquis, garig and rocky. Aleppo pine forests, especially rich in the area of NP Mljet, form the best-preserved and most beautiful type of forest of its kind in the Mediterranean, as well as holm oak forests. The only larger indigenous holm oak forest in the Adriatic is located on the island of Rab (Dundo forest). In the area of Saplunara, in the east of the island, there is a wild forest of tame pine, pine. This part of the island is protected as a reserve of natural rarities. Today, the known flora of lichens on the island consists of a total of 161 species, and the most suitable habitats are old olive groves and unburned holm oak forests. There are significant finds from the genus Usnea, especially Usnea rubicunda, for which the island of Mljet is currently the only site in Croatia. Lobarion pulmonariae lichens have also been reported, which are very sensitive to microclimate change and pollution and can serve as an excellent indicator of air quality. Of the 133 species of fungi recorded in the park, ten species are on the Croatian Red List of Endangered Fungi. Entoloma reinwaldii, Clitocybe collina, Dermoloma cuneifolium and Dermoloma josserandii stand out.
Of the animal species on Mljet, the most common are the marten, mouse, down, hedgehog, frog, common chanterelle, small grasshoppers, numerous birds (blackbird, wild pigeon, common sparrow, great bustard, seagull, falcon and others) and white-tailed deer and blind. Until the First World War, there were also venomous snakes on Mljet, but in 1910 the Austrian forestry brought several pairs of Indian small mongooses to Mljet, and venomous snakes were completely exterminated from the island. In addition to mongooses, deer, mouflon, wild boar, rabbits, partridges and pheasants were also brought to Mljet. Only deer and wild boar managed to breed in large enough numbers.
The underground fauna is extremely rich, with about fifty species of invertebrates, of which about twenty are endemic. Among the recorded are insects beetles, snails, spiders, lizards, jumpers, isopods and corncrakes. Several species are novelties for Mljet, Croatia and even science. The island endemic insect beetles Gobanc's underground (Speonesiotes gobanzi) and Krile's crumb (Bryaxis krilei), the first representative of this genus on Mljet; snail Mljet cave dog (Meledella werneri); crabs Mljet thistle (Cyphodilidium absoloni) and Gamulin's cave oarsman (Speleohvarella gamulini).
Along the coast there are rich hunting grounds for blue and white fish, and the seabed is rich in lobsters, crabs and vapors. Various corals live at greater depths, the most famous of which are red and stone coral. Along the outer, southern shores of Mljet, it used to be a habitat for the Mediterranean seal. The park is home to about thirty pairs of sea crows that feed exclusively on fish, diving to a depth of 60 m. At a level below 30 m depth, the sea temperature averages less than 11 degrees Celsius throughout the year, which is not conditioned by the surrounding sea because there is only a slight vertical mixing of the layers. Constantly elevated values of nutrient salts, chlorophyll, phytoplankton and zooplankton species were found in the layer. A similar phenomenon is recorded only in the deep furrows of the Mediterranean Sea. This is an area of strong sea currents and the occurrence of rising cold sea layers rich in nutrients from the depths to the surface. This benefits coralligenous communities, so there is the esteemed red coral (Corallium rubrum) as well as about sixty other species of coral. As they are sensitive to temperature changes that occur more frequently, last longer and affect deeper layers of the sea, tissue death and coral death occur.
There are three large springs of brackish water (blatina) near Blato, Sobra and Prožura, which serve to irrigate the fields and as a source of drinking water in the summer months because Mljet is not yet connected to the state water supply. Large eel hatcheries are formed in the mud in winter. Apart from mud, there are smaller sources of drinking water, the largest of which are in Polače, in Oman near Sobra and in Vodice near Polače and near Babino Polje.
Due to the relatively small number of inhabitants, but also due to its elongated and narrow appearance, Mljet does not have an extensive network of roads. There are no daily bus lines, except for one return line to Dubrovnik and one return school line. In the summer months, bus lines are not intensified, but are reimbursed by private taxi services.
Mljet, on the other hand, is very well connected to the mainland. There are daily lines from Sobra to Dubrovnik and to Prapratno on Peljesac. In the summer months, Mljet is connected by ferry and high-speed ferry to Pelješac, Dubrovnik, Šipan, Korčula, Split and Bari in Italy via the port of Sobra, while it is connected to Dubrovnik, Korčula and Lastovo via the port of Polače.
A heliport is under construction, just as there are some indications that an airport for smaller aircraft could also be built.