Cultural and Historical Heritage
Archaeological research suggests that prehistoric settlements existed in the Park area, while ruins of a fortress of the Illyrian tribe Japodi have been found at the site known as “Gradina”. Here the Romans built watchtowers on the foundations of which a fortified monastery was later built. Its founders were most probably the Templars or the Paulines. Croats permanently settle here in the 7th Century. Turkish invaders are present in this area from 1528 to the beginning of the 18th century, when Austria established the Military Frontier, thus stopping the penetration of Turks into Europe.
On the lakefronts, herders begin to settle erecting wooden huts in the forests and clearing the land to build settlements. From these shepherds huts developed the Lika log cabin with stone cellar, and steep roof covered with shingles or rye straw.
On the large meadow of “Velika Poljana”, the Military Border Forest Administration, established in 1861, built the “Traveler’s Lodge”, dubbed by the people as the “Imperial Lodge” because it provided accommodation for imperial officers. In Labudovac, a trader from Senj called Devčić, built the first inn and sawmill, which was destroyed soon by fire. Zagreb resident, Janaček, renewed the inn and named it “Janaček’s Home in Labudovac”.
In 1896, the first hotel for 200 guests was built on “Velika Poljana”. This was a single-story building made of stone and wood in the style of the Military Border watchtowers. In 1920, the hotel was extended and modernized, but in 1939 was destroyed in a fire.
Up to the 1960s, very popular residential, hotel and hospitality facilities had been built, which were designed by Croatian architects, such as Ostrogović, Haberle, Strižić, Horvat, Marohnić and I. Böhm, some of which were demolished, unfortunately, in the 1980’s as directed by the former administration.
During the Homeland War, this whole area was occupied, the Croatian residents were banished and their houses destroyed and burnt down. Other buildings were damaged.
Residential buildings in the settlements have been restored in the spirit of the architectural tradition and under terms of conservationists, while the public buildings are still under restoration.
The especially valuable and most attractive buildings in the Park area are the traditionally crafted mills and sawmills driven by the power of water, which are gradually being restored and presented to visitors. In 2002, the mill in Korana village was restored, while the restoration of the “Špoljarić” sawmill is underway.
According to international recommendations on the protection of cultural and natural heritage, which is based on the fact that natural and cultural heritage form a harmonious unity, it is necessary to protect the cultural heritage systematically in line with international conventions, and the high protection level of the Plitvice Lakes National Park commits us to do so.