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CROATIA: GUIDE TO SUNNY ADRIATIC ISLANDS

Seven hundred people live in the village of Seltsa on the island of Brac, and, as they say, half of them move to the mainland during the cold season – who to work, who to study, and who wants to save on heating the house.

Seven hundred villagers have, do not be surprised, thirteen fundamental monuments. In addition to Croatian celebrities, spiritual authorities honored to be immortalized in stone – Jesus Christ and Pope John Paul II, as well as the extinct stars of European diplomacy – German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and his Austrian counterpart Alois Mok. Two steps from the local temple of the King of Heaven, in a shady park next to the Flower Garden pizzeria, is a belt monument to Leo Tolstoy. Local historians claim that the first in the world. The initiative in 1911 was shown by Croatian philological students who had absorbed the ideas of Slavic reciprocity at university studies in Prague. The sculpture, frankly, not perfect, although you can still recognize the powerful bearded old man Lev Nikolaevich. Anyway, it is pleasant: you come to distant lands, but here, it turns out, it blows its own spirit.

The monument to Tolstoy in Selce is one of the rare symbols of the Russian historical presence on the Croatian Adriatic. Although both the empire of the Romanovs and the Soviet Union stretched here and there, they did not reach out. In the summer of 1806, the squadron of Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin, at the behest of the emperor, conducted the so-called Second Adriatic Expedition in these parts. The admiral fought mainly against Bonaparte, concluded an allied agreement with the Raguz Republic (Dubrovnik), which lived out its last years, but the Napoleonic division was quick – the frightened city-state submitted to the French almost without a fight.

The Russian squadron occupied several towns in the Bay of Kotor, then, skillfully maneuvering, knocked out enemy garrisons from the islands of Korcula, Vis and Brac, which then bore the Italian names of Kurzola, Lissa and Brazza. At the same time, the campaign in the Adriatic was essentially over: the next Russian-Turkish war broke out, and Senyavin’s ships set off to sink the Gentiles into the Aegean Sea.

The Soviet Union, of course, would not have refused to use island harbors for combat bases, but the fundamental quarrel of Joseph Stalin and Josip Broz Tito on the problems of peace and socialism in 1948 deprived the Adriatic of the chance to be called Russian. The guerrilla marshal, by the way, knew a lot about island life. In 1944, on the same far from the coast, Visa, the only piece of Yugoslav territory that was not under Nazi occupation, Tito, who had just happily escaped from the next enemy trap, placed the headquarters of the insurgent movement. For a couple of months he led the anti-fascist resistance by telephone from the memorial cave now on Mount Hum.

On the other two islands, Goli Otok and Sveti Grgur, the marshal after victory organized a small Yugoslav gulag and rot in the labor camps of thousands of political opponents. Goli Otok,
By the way, he was already adapted to perform similar tasks: during the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian command contained Russian prisoners of war there (although then the conditions were quite tolerable).

And on the northern Adriatic island Veli Brien for Josip Broz Tito staged a luxurious summer residence. Here, for nearly thirty years, he took on important foreign guests, treating their whiskeys of rare varieties and convincing them of the advantages of a worker self-government.

Some high-ranking visitors brought the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement of exotic animals, a safari park was established on the island. The main pet of this zoo, the elephant Sonya, who survived Yugoslav communism for a long time and its creator, was once presented to Marshal Indira Gandhi.

The Soviet party leaders also visited Veli-Brien, now reformatted into a reserve,. But the Siberian bear as a gift was not brought.

The fact that the frigates, destroyers and submarines could not be done turned out to be quite capable of peaceful vacationers with their labor rubles. In the successful season about two hundred thousand Russians come to Croatia, and many of them follow to the Adriatic islands. Of course, there are few Russians in the huge tourist flow to Croatia (almost 17 million people in 2016), but the flocks of compatriots are noticeable on Krk, on Hvar, and on Brac.

All these travelers are always ready for adventure and vivid impressions. They are right: here is where to swim, what to see and something to eat drunk.

After all, the Croatian archipelago is 1145 or 1246 (depending on how you count) islands with a total area of ​​more than three thousand square kilometers. Only fifty of them are inhabited, about 650 are still uninhabited, about four hundred exact science considers rocks, the rest are given a modest status of reefs.

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