We know that Mljet was inhabited about 4000 years ago. The first inhabitants of Mljet were the Illyrians as well as most of the Adriatic islands at that time. They came to Mljet from the mainland via the Peljesac peninsula. They inhabited the outskirts of the island at first. Life on the island was then simple in terms of economy and construction. The population mostly lived from agriculture and fisheries and lived in stone dwellings made of stone walls and roofs made of various trees and plants. With the later arrival of the Greeks, who were passing here on their way to other colonies such as Vis, Korcula and Hvar, Mljet became an important place of supply and shelter from the great waves and wind.
Mostly in places like Sobra, Pomena, and Polace. The fact that the island was rich in water sources was of great use to seaman at the time. Since the Greeks only used the island but did not inhabit it, the Romans were the next rulers after Illyrians. Although this Roman authority was not very solid, as the Illyrians continued to pirate this maritime belt. During the 3rd century, the Romans in the Bay of Polace began to build an imposing palace in which the Roman ruler of this estate stood. The palace also had a defensive function, as evidenced by two strong towers at its ends.
The Neretlians came to Mljet across Peljesac, just like the Illyrians, and built their settlement (the first Slavic settlement on Mljet) above the present settlement Maranovići and called it Vrhmljeće. In the 12th century, the Benedictines based in the monastery on Otočić sv. The Marys became masters of all of Mljet and in a very short time established their feudal rule throughout the island. The Benedictines produced all the food themselves through their work, and showed the local population how to grow a particular crop, which greatly improved agriculture on the island. By a special document, the “Statute of Mljet”, issued in Dubrovnik on September 24, 1345, the monastery frees all islanders from all contributions and services to the abbey.
After the adoption of the Statute of Mljet in 1345 and the liberation of the islanders from peasant subjugation, the people of Dubrovnik slowly began to prepare to establish their rule in Mljet as soon as possible. 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. After that, Mljet will come under Austrian rule, and then under the rule of Yugoslavia, of which Croatia was part. So today, Mljet is one of the free Croatian islands in the southern Adriatic.
National Park Mljet, our first marine protected area, was founded on November 11, 1960. Mljet National Park covers almost 5300 ha, including the sea belt 500 m from the coast, islets and rocks, thus occupying about one third of the island. The submerged bays, the Small and the Great Lakes, are the most prominent locations of this area and an important geomorphological and oceanographic phenomenon. The entire surface of the Park is extremely rich in life, and the importance of its protection is evidenced by numerous endemic and endangered species.
The Mljet NP will not disappoint cultural lovers either, thanks to its numerous archeological sites and the ancestral heritage of ancient island settlements. Benedictine monastery located in one of the most beautiful locations in this area, the islet of Sv. Mary in Great Lake is the most visited National Park landmark.
A visit to the Mljet National Park is possible by boat from Dubrovnik and Peljesac, as well as numerous excursion boats from Korcula, Hvar and Split, which mostly dock at the ports of Polace and Pomena. The settlements of Polace and Pomena connect hiking trails with lakes. A pleasant stay is suitable for swimming, sunbathing and walking along the trails around the lake and up to the peaks of Montokuc and Veliki Sladin Gradac, which offers beautiful views of the entire National Park, Peljesac and the open sea all the way to Korcula.
Also today, Mljet is one of the most important destinations in the form of nautical tourism. First of all, thanks to the bays of Pomena and Polace, which are the best places for anchoring boats, but also the locals have prepared berths on the shore for mooring yachts. This is mostly done by mooring the shore and having dinner at one of the many taverns right by the sea, and you get a yacht mooring for free. The island is very green and beautiful and known for its crystal clear sea which makes it a very popular vacation spot.
Because a large part of the island is under protection, there are never too many people on the island, so peace and a sense of union with nature constantly prevail. The untouched nature and abundance of wildlife, especially in the form of fish, also attracts many underwater fishing enthusiasts or just fresh fish lovers on a plate. A family vacation here is wonderful because the island is cross-linked with roads and cycle paths that allow you to visit the island on foot or by bike in peace and unity with nature, as it should be.
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