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PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK   (map)

Two-hundred square kilometers of Eden - that is Plitvice National Park. Its 16 cerulean blue lakes are chain linked together by smooth, white cascading waterfalls, the longest reaching a height of 25 m. Its lakeshores are surrounded by trees of beech, spruce and pine set upon a limestone-karst landscape. Its 11 different forest communities provide homes for abundant wildlife including bears, otters, wolves and 70 species of nesting birds (though a total of 126 species has been recorded). And its elevation ranges from 400 m to 1280 m, the latter height being landmarked in the peaks in the western mountain range of Mala Kapala. To the east is the lower mountain range, home of the dominant peak of Medvedjak at 889 m. Plitvice also hosts a large system caves, including 165 m long Zolubnjaca, with a 46 m high entrance and 230 step path which wanders through the cave.

Can there be any question then, that Plitvice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Standards of beauty must have been different back in the 17th century, when vague descriptions of this area referred to it as the Devil's Garden….