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The view of Pag from Velebit

The Roads Through Velebit

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It was mid October when we got an invitation to do a quick tour of Velebit and check some opportunities for bringing travelers. Velebit has been a “mystery” for many years as we never had a proper guide to do quality program for us in proper English language. But, things are changing slowly and we will have some wonderful programs soon.

The view of Pag Island
The view of Pag Island

Halan Pass and Cubus

We started from Gospić heading to lovely Baške Oštarije and stunning panorama points of Pag Island on the main road to Karlobag. The road is called Terezijana after Maria Theresa, mother of Emperor Jospeh II who ordered the construction of the road. Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (German: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) The Terezijana road was built in 1786. A monument called cubus was erected 1846. when the road from Gospić to Karlobag was finished.

Cubus monument on the old road to Karlobag
Cubus monument on the old road to Karlobag

The monument is, by some, a symbol of masons but it is a lovely panorama point. There are 33 steps leading to the Cube. On one side of the cube there is the inscription Ferdinand I, Austrian Emperor MDCCCXLVI.

The views of Pag Island are stunning but this place can be VERY windy and the snow at this place can get serious.

Old hiking sign to Karlobag
Old hiking sign to Karlobag
The view of Pag Island
The view of Pag Island

Dabar

We continued forward. A dirt road leads deep into the mountain but traces of life are everywhere. One of the prime examples is the old school in one of the valleys – Ravni Dabar. The school is now abandoned but less than 50 years ago, it as still full of students. Baške Oštarije used to be a major center on the roads from the sea into the continent but now only 30 people live there year round. According to census of 2001…

Geology park Velebit
Ravni Dabar

This old school is now alpine shelter making it a great base for hikes and climbs to the nearby Dabarski kukovi.

Geology park Velebit
Map of Dabarski kukovi

We continue following the dirt road that is now only used by the forest cutting companies. The road is dramatic with lots of unique features.

On the dirt roads of Velebit
On the dirt roads of Velebit

Karts structures of Velebit
Karts structures of Velebit
Geology park Velebit
Geology park Velebit

We made a beer stop. With most appropriate beer there is (and arguably best in Croatia).

Velebitsko beer
Velebitsko beer
Geology park Velebit

Velebit is full of pits and we stopped briefly by the one that is quite deep but also hides everlasting ice at the bottom. That used to be a major source of revenue for many locals in the past.

Pit with eternal ice on Velebit
Pit with eternal ice on Velebit

Skorupovac

Our ultimate goal was abandoned village of Skorupovac. This is just one of dozens of small villages scattered all over the mountain. Now abandoned, just like nearly all of them, it gets occasional inhabitants only in the summer or when hikers spend overnight at the shelter.

Signs for hikers to villages on Velebit
Signs for hikers to villages on Velebit
Shelter at Skorupovac
Shelter at Skorupovac

This ghost village is stunning. Slowly becoming part of the forest, it is an impressive monument to hardships of the local folk.

Ruins at Skorupovac, Velebit now taken by woods
Ruins at Skorupovac now taken by woods
Skorupovac village Velebit
Skorupovac village Velebit
Old stuff all over the abandoned village of Sorupovac
Old stuff all over the abandoned village of Sorupovac
Ruins at Skorupovac, Velebit now taken by woods
Ruins at Skorupovac, Velebit now taken by woods

Velebit is full of abandoned villages offering a great overview of classic rural architecture of the region. The calm and peaceful atmosphere of these villages is almost unreal. Broken only by occasional chatter of hikers ready to move to another location.

Dog and hikers on Velebit
Dog and hikers on Velebit

Velebit is pure magic. In all seasons.

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