16 March 2020

Interesting Croatian island

Many of Croatia’ coastline is characterized by karst topography—in other word, it’s rocky. To cultivate this rocky terrain, farmers painstakingly picked rocks out of the soil and then used the same to construct walls around geometric plots, creating, in some cases, a grid that stretched for kilometers. In Baljenac, an island just half a kilometer long, the walls stretch for 23 kilometers. Recently, the Croatian government has been pushing the UNESCO to include the island and its dry stone walls in their World Heritage Sites list.

Aside from defining agricultural boundaries, the walls also keep out strong winds known as “bura”, that makes cultivation possible in exposed locations along the coastline.
More info and other photos at Amusing Planet.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in the east of Ireland and and never realized how fertile it was there; if you plant a seed then stand back quickly. The first time I went to the west, I was gobsmacked by these tiny parcels of land divided by these dry walls. It was only after I lived there for a while that I understood that the walls were not there to define a boundary, but just to make an arable piece of land between them and sometimes making a paddock for sheep or other domestic animals to keep them away from the crops. Digging up and removing rocks from the soil and bringing them any distance by hand is really hard backbreaking work.
    I worked with about 25 other volunteers to clear a patch of land for a football field (Gaelic football, not soccer). It took almost 2 years. In the end we had a field that a player could fall on without cracking his skull. The rocks we removed were stacked on a wall about one meter high and only about 2 meters away from the sidelines. None of us wanted to move the rocks any further.
    I can understand the Croatian farmer who built those walls with only his family and maybe a few friends. If some outsider came and said "Look why don't you carry these rocks down to the shore and throw them in in the sea. You will be rid of the rocks and your island will be probably a little bit bigger. Am I right or am I right?", then his remains are probably buried on one of the parcels on this island.


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