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.
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.
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.
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…
This old school is now alpine shelter making it a great base for hikes and climbs to the nearby 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.
We made a beer stop. With most appropriate beer there is (and arguably best in Croatia).
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.
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.
This ghost village is stunning. Slowly becoming part of the forest, it is an impressive monument to hardships of the local folk.
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.
Velebit is pure magic. In all seasons.