||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Central Croatia. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2012.|
|Geographic region of Croatiaa|
|• Total||7,778 km2 (3,003 sq mi)|
|• Density||12/km2 (30/sq mi)|
a Mountainous Croatia is not designated as an official region, it is a geographic region only.
b The figure is an approximation based on the territorial span and population of the municipalities traditionally regarded as a part of Gorski Kotar, Lika and Ogulin-Plaški Valley.
Mountainous Croatia (Croatian: Gorska Hrvatska) is a geographical region of Croatia that comprises Gorski Kotar, Lika and Ogulin-Plaški Valley and encompasses parts of Lika-Senj, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Zadar and Karlovac counties. It covers 7,667 square kilometres (2,960 square miles), and has a population of 89,325. The largest towns in the region are Ogulin, Gospić and Delnice.
The mountainous terrain of the region is a part of the Dinaric Alps, and contains five out of eight mountains in Croatia higher than 1,500 metres (4,900 feet). Karst topography predominates in the region, resulting in specific landforms and hydrology because of the interaction of the karst and the region's watercourses—this is exemplified by the Plitvice Lakes. Most of the region has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate, although there is considerable seasonal snow at greater elevations.
The region represents a natural barrier between the Adriatic Sea and the Pannonian Basin, and this, along with Ottoman conquest and resulting military frontier status, has contributed to the relatively poor development of the economy and infrastructure of the area. Forestry, farming and animal husbandry were the principal economic activities of the region until the 20th century, when limited industrialisation began. However, the economy suffered in the 1990s, with a decrease in population in the area.
Mountainous Croatia is a geographical region of Croatia comprising Gorski Kotar, Lika and Ogulin-Plaški Valley, located between Central Croatia to the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, Dalmatia to the south, Croatian Littoral to the west and Slovenia to the north. The region encompasses most of Lika-Senj County, excluding the coastal territory around Senj and on Pag Island, as well as parts of Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Zadar and Karlovac counties. Mountainous Croatia covers 7,778 square kilometres (3,003 square miles), and has population of 90,643—making the region the most sparsely populated region of Croatia at 11.6538/km2 (30.1831/sq mi). The population decreased significantly during World War II and the Croatian War of Independence, and the 2001 census indicated a large proportion of relatively old people. In 2001, 31.5% of population of Lika was over 60 years of age.
It is traditionally held that the areas north of Josipdol belong to Gorski Kotar and those south of the settlement are in Lika, while the Ogulin-Plaški Valley is separated from the two by Mala Kapela and Velika Kapela mountain ranges. The valley contains the largest settlement of Mountainous Croatia—Ogulin, with a population of 8,216. The second-largest settlement in Mountainous Croatia, and the largest in Lika, is Gospić, with a population of 6,561, followed by Delnice, the largest settlement in Gorski Kotar, whose population stands at 4,351.
|Cities and municipalities of the Mountainous Croatia|
|County||City or municipality||Area (km²)||Population|
|Primorje-Gorski Kotar||Brod Moravice||63||865|
|Sources: Croatian Bureau of Statistics, United Nations Development Programme,
Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Municipality of Bosiljevo, Municipality of Josipdol,
City of Ogulin, Roman Catholic Diocese of Gospić-Senj,
Municipality of Saborsko, Municipality of Tounj, Municipality of Gračac.
Mountainous terrain of the region is a part of the Dinaric Alps, linked to a Late Jurassic to recent times fold and thrust belt, itself part of the Alpine orogeny, extending southeast from the southern Alps. The Dinaric Alps in Croatia encompass the entire Gorski Kotar and Lika regions, as well as considerable parts of Dalmatia, with their northeastern edge running from 1,181-metre (3,875 ft) Žumberak to the Banovina region, along the Sava River, and their westernmost landforms being 1,272-metre (4,173 ft) Ćićarija and 1,396-metre (4,580 ft) Učka mountains in Istria. The Mountainous Croatia contains five out of eight mountains in Croatia higher than 1,500 metres (4,900 feet): Velebit, Plješivica, Velika Kapela, Risnjak and Snježnik. Karst topography makes up about half of Croatia and is especially prominent in the Dinaric Alps and in turn, the Mountainous Croatia. There are numerous caves in the Mountainous Croatia. The longest cave in Croatia and in the entire Dinaric Alps, 20,656-metre (67,769 ft) Kita Gaćešina, is located in southern Velebit area of the Mountainous Croatia.
|Highest mountain peaks of Mountainous Croatia|
|Velebit||Vaganski Peak||1,757 m (5,764 ft)|
|Plješivica||Ozeblin||1,657 m (5,436 ft)|
|Velika Kapela||Bjelolasica-Kula||1,533 m (5,030 ft)|
|Risnjak||Risnjak||1,528 m (5,013 ft)|
|Snježnik||Snježnik||1,506 m (4,941 ft)|
Hydrology and climate
Mountainous Croatia contains several significant rivers draining north towards the Central Croatia. Those are Kupa, tracing the northern boundary of the region, Dobra (Kupa), Mrežnica and Korana—forming travertine barriers and waterfalls before discharging into Kupa in area of Karlovac, as well as Una, in the eastern part of the region, at the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore there are losing streams such as Gacka, Krbava and Lika rivers, reflecting a high degree of karstification of the terrain in the region, resulting in increased permeability of soil and rocks. Ingress of water underground resulted in formation of subterranean watercourses and lakes. Probably the finest example of interaction of karst terrain and watercourses in the area are Plitvice Lakes—16 interlinked lakes between Mala Kapela and Plješevica, through which Korana River flows. The area is abundant in travertine barriers, waterfalls and caves of biological origin—created through deposition of calcium carbonate through agency of moss, algae and aquatic bacteria. The Plitvice Lakes are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they are a part of one of three Croatia's national parks located in the Mountainous Croatia, along with Risnjak and Sjeverni Velebit.
Most of Mountainous Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification, just like most of Croatia. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) (in January) and 18 °C (64 °F) (in July). The coldest parts of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar where snowy forested climate is found at elevations above 1,200 metres (3,900 feet), and where mean temperature in the coldest month of the year drops below −3 °C (27 °F). Gorski Kotar and Lika, encompassing bulk of the Mountainous Croatia, represent the coldest parts of Croatia as mean annual temperature there ranges between 8 and 10 °C (46 and 50 °F) at lower elevations and 2 and 4 °C (36 and 39 °F) at greater elevations. Gorski Kotar mountain peaks of Risnjak and Snježnik receive the greatest precipitation in Croatia—3,500 millimetres (140 inches) per year. Overall, the region has no arid periods of the year. Gorski Kotar also receives the least sunlight—1,700 hours per year on average.
Economy and infrastructure
Historically, main source of income in the area was forestry, farming and animal husbandry. Forests represent a development potential of the area as 45% of Lika and as much as 83% of Gorski Kotar is forested. Industrialisation of the region started after the World War II, with a particular emphasis on development of wood processing industry in Gorski Kotar and other industries elsewhere in the region, but it did not create sufficient jobs to prevent economic migrations. Furthermore the economic structure of the area sustained great downturn in the 1990s during the Croatian War of Independence. Since 2000s, an increasing prominence is given to tourism sector, especially rural tourism.
The Mountainous Croatia region represents a natural barrier between the Adriatic Sea to its west and the Pannonian Basin and Central Croatia to its east, traversed by few high-performance transport routes until recently. The region was first spanned by a trading route between Senj and Pannonia in classical antiquity and later in Middle Ages, but the first modern road in the area was the Caroline road, completed in 1732 connecting Rijeka and Karlovac via Fužine, Mrkopalj, Ravna Gora and Vrbovsko, and named after Charles VI who ordered its construction. The same emperor commissioned construction of a narrow road between Karlobag and Gospić—the first to span Velebit. Those first roads were replaced by the more modern Josephina connecting Karlovac to Senj, largely tracing the Roman trading route across the Vratnik pass, and the Theresiana following a different route between Karlobag and Gospić, completed in 1779 and 1784 respectively. In 1789, a road to Dalmatia, branching from the Josephine road at Žuta Lokva towards Gračac via Gospić. Louisiana road was completed in 1809, also running between Rijeka and Karlovac, although via Delnice. The first railway built in the region was the Zagreb – Rijeka railway, completed in 1875. Since 2000s, the region is spanned by modern motorways.
The region was first inhabited by Illyrian tribe of Iapodes, in turn conquered by the Roman Empire, Ostrogoths, Avars and Croats. Modern history recorded the first Ottoman raids in the area in the late 15th century after fall of the Medieval Kingdom of Bosnia—culminating in the Battle of Krbava Field in 1493. By 1528, nearly all of Lika was under Ottoman control. In response, Croatian Military Frontier was established under direct Habsburg imperial rule. As the Ottoman control of the area waned, the Military Frontier expanded to include the entire Lika. In 1881, the region was incorporated into the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, together with Gorski Kotar, which remained a part of the Kingdom of Croatia throughout the Croatian–Ottoman Wars.
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