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Elaphiti Islands

Airport and transport – ferry from Dubrovnik to bigger islands (from 1-30 km); airport Dubrovnik (around 21-50 km).

History – inhabited in prehistory; afterwards by Illyrians; the islands were first mentioned as Elaphiti by Roman author Gaius Plinius Secundus Maior’s in his work Naturalis Historia from the 1st century AD; name comes from the Ancient Greek word for deer (elaphos=deer); once had been a part of a Greek colony and later were included in the Roman province of Dalmatia, since then they were officially called “Elaphiti Islands”; in 932 the king of Slavonia and Dalmatia offered Elaphiti islands as a present to the Republic of Dubrovnik, and they remained under its rule until its downfall in 1808.

Interesting to see: summer manors (of nobility from Dubrovnik Republic) on Koločep, Lopud and Šipan; remnants of Illyrian hill-fort (Šipan).

Info – archipelago (that forms a line parallel with the coast) includes large number of reefs and rocks, and thirteen islands (8) and islets (5), namely: Daksa (in front of Dubrovnik harbor Gruž, has 13th century Franciscan monastery of Saint Sabina, abandoned in 19th century), Koločep (Kalamota), St. Andrew (rocky island with the status of a bird reserve and a lighthouse from 1873), Lopud, Ruda, Šipan, Mišnjak, Jakljan (with children resort and recreational center), Kosmeč, Goleč, Crkvine, Tajan and Olipa (with a lighthouse); only 3 are inhabited (Koločep, Lopud and Šipan; and chosen by the many aristocratic families of the Dubrovnik Republic for their summer manors); total land area of Elaphiti Islands is around 30 km2 and with population of 850 inhabitants; islands are covered with Mediterranean evergreen vegetation; some even consider island Lokrum as a part of Elaphiti.

Inevitable to taste: dishes made from dried fish or seafood.

Good to know:

Island Koločep: very indented coastline; dwellers used to be the best-known coral divers in the Mediterranean (today they seldom dive and only for pleasure); island is a car-free zone.

Island Lopud: a car-free zone; abounds with sandy beaches especially in the Bay of Šunj; there is a unique light installation at the art pavilion “Your Black Horizon”; the island also abounds with forts, little churches, summer residences and monasteries that housing valuable works of art.

Island Šipan: the largest and most inhabited; in this small area there are more than thirty churches, several monasteries and about forty summer residences (all built in the period from 7th-16th century); also large number of vineyards and olive groves.

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