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The Brijuni Islands

The Brijuni Islands

A jewel of Istria with a rich history
The Brijuni Islands, an archipelago off the west coast of Istria, are a true treasure of the Adriatic. Known for their breathtaking beauty, extraordinary nature and fascinating history, they attract thousands of visitors every year. This archipelago consists of 14 islands, the largest of which, Veli Brijun, plays a special role in the history and culture of Istria.

A view of the Brijuni Islands

Nature and landscape

The Brijuni Islands are known for their lush vegetation, crystal clear waters and abundant wildlife. The Brijuni National Park offers a diverse flora and fauna, including Mediterranean forests, exotic plants and a variety of animals, from deer to exotic birds. Particularly impressive is the safari park on Veli Brijun, which is home to giraffes, zebras and other animals that are rather uncommon in this region.

Archaeological treasures

The islands are not only a paradise for nature lovers, but also a mecca for history buffs. The Brijuni Islands are home to numerous archaeological sites that bear witness to the region’s long and varied history. These include the remains of Roman villas, early Christian basilicas and Venetian fortresses.

The history of the Brijuni Islands

Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The history of the Brijuni Islands dates back to ancient times. Archaeological finds prove that the islands were already inhabited in prehistoric times. During Roman times, the Brijuni were a favourite retreat for the Roman elite. Roman villas and thermal baths discovered on the islands bear witness to the splendour and luxury of the time.

In the Middle Ages, the islands changed hands several times. They were under the control of various rulers, including the Byzantines and the Venetians, who left their mark in the form of fortifications and other buildings.

The era of the Habsburgs

In the 19th century, the Brijuni Islands came under the rule of the Habsburg monarchy. At that time, the Austrian industrialist Paul Kupelwieser began developing the islands into an exclusive holiday resort. He invested heavily in the infrastructure and created a paradise that became famous for its luxurious hotels and first-class medical facilities.

Kupelwieser also had the islands cleared of malaria by the famous bacteriologist Robert Koch, which further increased the islands’ appeal as a holiday destination. This era of prosperity lasted until the beginning of the First World War.

Tito and the Brijuni

After the Second World War, the Brijuni Islands became a special retreat for Yugoslavian head of state Josip Broz Tito. Tito used the islands as a summer residence and received numerous prominent guests from all over the world, including politicians, artists and actors. The islands became a symbol of diplomacy and luxury during the Cold War.

Tito’s residence on the Brijuni, now a museum, still bears witness to this glamorous time. Visitors can gain an insight into Tito’s life and the many important meetings and negotiations that took place on the islands.

The Brijuni today

Today, the Brijuni Islands are a national park and a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the natural beauty of the islands, visit the archaeological sites and experience history up close. There are guided tours that offer interesting insights into the flora, fauna and history of the islands.

The islands are also an ideal place for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and diving. The calm waters around the islands are perfect for snorkelling and offer an insight into the underwater world of the Adriatic.

Our summary

The Brijuni Islands are a fascinating destination that combines nature and history in a unique way. From the magnificent Roman ruins to the elegant Habsburg era and Tito’s glittering receptions, the islands offer a rich treasure trove of experiences and stories. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff or simply a traveller looking to experience the beauty of the Adriatic, the Brijuni Islands are a must on your list.