Žut island

One of the legends of the Kornati is that they emerged by chance when God created the world.  He accidentally dropped 140 pebbles from his pocket and when he went to pick them up he liked what he saw and said, “Let them stay, nothing needs repair here”. The island of Žut is the one part of that God’s wonders.

A great 20 mile sail from the Zadar to the Island of Žut. We pass between Pašman and Ugljan, and after 3 hours of sailing we ended up on Žut Island in the anchorage Hiljača. We hooked up to mooring buoy.

The island is famous for the beauty of its many bays including Luka, Hiljaca, Saruscica, Zut and Bizikovica, all characterized by a solitary atmosphere and the possibility of offering refuge to small sailing boats.

The islands seem very barren, reminding me of what the moonscape looks like. While fishing had its rise and fall, agronomy was limited to small areas of fertile land. A real Žut field is primarily planted with vines and various fruit trees, and later with olives. Today the fields are mostly olive orchards and the first olive orchards were planted at the edges of fields when they were enlarged by clearing. The peak of clearing and agrarian activities was at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, after the Murterini, the inhabitants of the island of Murter, started buying land on the Kornati.

The dry-stone walls are certainly the most impressive and attractive man-made feature of the Žut island. The kilometres long walls that cut over the Žut island are definitely one of the biggest tourist attractions. As soon as you see them, they raise questions. Who built them? Why? How much time and effort it took to build them?  Who built them? The peasants from the island of Murter, the first Kurnatars. Why? There are several reasons.

The primary reason was to create boundaries between estates and separate pastures. The largest Kornati walls are really boundaries between estates but the oldest real walls were erected to precisely mark off pastures. Because of frequent absences, a good wall was the guarantee of good neighbour relations – after you return from your domicile, you could be certain you would find your flock on your pasture. Another reason was that rocks were cleared from the land when the people were trying to wrest each foot from karst and scrub in order to plant vines and olives. Those rocks were immediately used to build the walls that protected the crops from the grazing animals as well as from the wind and the salt blown from the sea. How much time and effort it took to build them? Two men (who know how to do it) can build a wall 2 kilometres long (2 metres high and 50-80cm thick) in 150-200 days. It’s backbreaking work. They used to work during the day in winter and in summer, to escape the heat, they worked during the night and slept through the day. All the walls were built from sea to sea, that is, from one side of the island to the other. A wall is just tall enough that a sheep cannot jump over it and cross to somebody else’s pasture. It is thick enough that the wind cannot knock it down. The stones are not bound with mortar and the structural integrity results from the skill in the interlocking of the stones which support each other.

In order to have an easier access to his property on the Kornati, far from his domicile, the owner had to build a house in the closest suitable cove, where he could safely tie his boat. The people who live here are all very friends and hospitable.

The island has no permanent settlements, but it is temporary home to fishermen, shepherds and farmers from the island of Murter.

A large number of the summer residents consists of the restaurant owners and their families and national park staff, and nowadays, more and more tourists start to discover this houses for perfect summer vacations.

This is the perfect location for a sailing holiday, because the sea surrounding the island is the best place of the archipelago for water sports…

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